‘Shear’ delight: National Sheep Breeders Championships launched

The 2018 National Sheep Breeders Championships – in association with the RDS – was recently launched by Anna May McHugh, president of the National Ploughing Championships, in Kilkenny.

The launch at Red Mills – the retail store of its main sponsor – was held just a stone’s throw from nearby Kilkenny Mart, where the sheep breeders contest will be hosted this summer on Saturday, June 9.

The event – which organisers say is pipped to be one of the leading sheep competitions of the year – is also set to become an annual event on the farming calendar.

A spokesperson for the National Sheep Breeders Association (NSBA) said: “We were delighted to have a large attendance on the night from some of the top people within the sheep industry, which also included representatives from all of our main sponsors.”

The special guest speaker on the night was the ‘Queen of the Ploughing’, Anna May McHugh, from Ballylinan, Co. Laois, who reminisced that National Ploughing Championships had started out in a similar grassroots vein as the new sheep breeders championships many moons ago.

She commended the committee for giving more than 20 breeds a market place to show their stock.

Speaking at the home of the ‘Kilkenny Cats’, she also noted her fond memories of the RDS Spring Show – commenting that she is “thrilled” that the RDS is supporting the winning cups and medals for the event.

McHugh further highlighted the importance of farmers getting to share views, opinions and knowledge at the championships.

The event will host some of the biggest sheep shows of the year – including the first National Sheep Breeds Crossbred Sheep Championships.

“We’re also privileged to host the All-Ireland championships of the following breeds: Belcare; Charollais; Suffolk; Texel; and Zwartbles Eire Co-op Society.

“The event will also host large national classes from the following breeds: Beltex; Jacobs; Galways; Vendeen; Wicklow Cheviots. There will also be a number of breeds who will have displays stands on the day,” the spokesperson said.

On the day, there will also be a large number of stands from industry and market-leading companies with representatives who will be accessible for all attendees. Sheep-related seminars will also be open to the public.

“We aim for this event to be informative for all sheep farmers, no matter your experience – whether it’s one year or 50 years,” the spokesperson said.