“Dorsets still going strong at Ballymena 50 years later”
The Northern Ireland Dorset Horn and Poll Breeders 50th annual Premier Show and Sale sponsored by Norbrook Laboratories took place on Monday 25th July 2022 in Ballymena Livestock Market. Attracting 173 sheep, the sale provided a
tremendous platform for exhibitors to display the quality sheep on offer whilst potential purchasers could avail of the expansive selection of sheep on offer.
The pre-sale show attracted a terrific turnout to mark the 50th year of sale with each class well supported giving onlookers a spectacle to enjoy. Judge for the day was Mr Richard Rossiter who runs the renowned 520 ewe Huish Flock in
Devon. His champion on the day was found in lot 34 from Thomas Wright, Ballytaggart for his September born ram lamb “Ballytaggart Evolution”. Sired by Downkillybegs Daredevil, this ram lamb stood strong in line-up of over thirty
others with excellent style, confirmation, and breed character. He later went on to fetch the top price of the day, selling for 3600gns to a trio of breeders, John Duggan (Bellewstown), John Wilson (Tardree) and Kevin O’Connell (Coomkeen).
Reserve champion of the day was winner of the ewe lamb class from Ellen McClure, Mountdale for her September born ewe lamb “Mountdale E322” who stood top in a strong class of 27 ewe lambs. Sired by Ballytaggart Charlie from a
homebred ewe, this lamb showed power, presence, and breed character. She later went on to sell for a joint top price in the female section of 1050gns, finding her new home with fellow breeders Samuel and Elaine Caldwell, Ballymaconnelly Flock.
Thomas Wright with the Champion, and highest price, Ballytaggart Evolution, and Judge, Richard Rossiter (left)
Ellen McClure with the Reserve Champion, and joint top price in the female section, Mountdale E322, and Judge, Richard Rossiter, left
Karen Carson with the 2nd highest price of the day, Downkillybegs Einstein
Following the champion, the next top price of the day went to William and Karen Carson for their ram lamb lot 38, “Downkillybegs Einstein” who stood second in the ram lamb class. Sired by Downkillybegs Clinker, out of a homebred ewe, this lamb showed excellent breed type and quality throughout, selling for 2400gns to David and Sarah Stevenson, Greenhill flock.
Next up with joint top price in the female section was Laura Weir with her shearling ewe, lot 71 “Lisnafillan D1631”. Scanned in lamb with twins to Lisnafillan Zion this eye-catching ewe sold for 1050gns to Allister Morton, Stobilee Flock, Scotland. Hot on her heels was lot 65 from the McKeown family who received 1000gns for their shearling ewe. Sired by Downkillybegs Cactus Jack, this powerful ewe was snapped up by Elaine Gilmour, Portaferry. The
McKeown family continued their success with lot 118, this time with a smart ewe lamb sired by Ballyhamage Del Pierro which sold for 950gns to L Greer, Hillsborough.
Quality was present abundance across all classes of sheep, reflected by the high clearance rate and demand which saw buyers from both here, and the mainland taking advantage of the superior sheep on offer. Other leading prices of the sale are as follows: G Cubitt 820gns to P & S Knowles, Cullybackey, E & H Kennedy 800gns to J Johnston, Aghalee, C McKeown 750gns to A Morton, Lanark, J&C Robson 750gns to A Noble, Antrim, C McKeown 750gns to K O’Connell, J & C Robson, 700gns to R Clarke, T Wright 700gns to R Clarke.
Ram lamb: 768.08
Ewe lamb: 417.07
Shearling ewe: 488.25
Shearling ram: 426.30
The club wishes to thank Noel Gill, Norbrook Laboratories for their continued sponsorship of the event which is greatly appreciated. Thanks, must also be extended to judge for the day, Mr Richard Rossiter for making the trip across the
water as well as staff at Ballymena Livestock Market for their outstanding service over the past 50 years.
The next event in the club calendar is the 6th Omagh Show and Sale which will be held on Friday 12th August 2022 in Beatties Pedigree Centre, Omagh. This will be followed in close succession by a new sale held in Swatragh Livestock Market on Friday 26th August 2022. Both sales have more than one hundred sheep on offer, providing a tremendous opportunity to invest in the Dorset Breed which has well and truly proven its ability to stand the test of time, remaining
unrivalled in today’s sheep industry.