THE Inter Hunt Chase, organised by the Northern Ireland Master of Hounds Association and kindly sponsored by Wilson’s Auctions, filled its usual Friday evening slot at Balmoral Show.
Two courses of obstacles were set up in the main arena for teams to battle against each other in this relay competition.
This year, nine hunts from all over Ireland had made their way to Balmoral Park to be in with a chance of winning the prestigious event. Led by the East Antrim Hounds, they all paraded around the main arena, to the delight of the crowds of spectators.
In the first round, the Donegal Harriers took on the East Down Foxhounds; the Ward Union were up against the Leitrim Harriers; the Newry Harriers faced the East Antrim Harriers; and the Tynan and Armagh Foxhounds competed against the Longford Harriers. As there were an odd number of teams, the Edenderry Harriers, all the way from Co. Offaly, were given a bye through to the next round.
The Donegal Harriers triumphed against the East Downs; the Ward Unions overcame the Leitrim Harriers; the Newry Harriers were victorious over the East Antrim Harriers; while the Longford Harriers defeated the Tynan and Armagh Foxhounds.
The second round saw the Donegal Harriers up against the Ward Unions; the Newry Harriers took on the Longford Harriers; and the Edenderry Harriers faced the fastest losers from the first round, the Leitrim Harriers.
The Donegal Harriers were on form and got through to the semi-final, as did the Longford Harriers and the Edenderry Harriers. The first semi-final saw the Donegal Harriers take on the Longford Harriers and, after an exciting battle, the Donegals secured their place in the final.
In the other semi-final, the Edenderry Harriers faced the fastest losers from the second round, the Newry Harriers. Both teams gave it their all and, after some thrilling action, the Edenderry Harriers proceeded to the final.
Both the Donegal Harriers and the Edenderry Harriers had fought hard for their place in the final and neither team were going to give up easily! After some breakneck rounds of jumping, with speed turns to take the light from your eyes and change overs to rival the very best, the Edenderry Harriers prevailed to win the Wilsons Auctions Inter Hunt Chase for 2019, making their journey from Offaly worthwhile!
The Leitrim Harriers received the prize for Best Turned Out.
The Northern Ireland Master of Hounds Association will present a donation to the Mitre Trust following this competition.