Antrim Show: Edwin Poots leads tributes to stalwart and ‘gentleman’ Fred Duncan

Thousands of visitors descended on Shane’s Castle Estate for a celebration of country life at the 114th Randox Antrim Show.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 24th July 2022, 3:31 pm

Organised by Antrim Agricultural Society, the event attracted a bumper entry in all sections, showcasing the very best of Northern Ireland’s livestock, local produce and rural crafts.

The packed schedule featured show jumping, sheep shearing, live music, horticulture, pet show, jiving competition, treasure hunt, YFC County Games and the final of the Build It competition.

Society chairman George Robson was delighted to see the show returning after a two-year hiatus.

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Dexter exhibitor Caroline McConnell from Antrim at the Randox Antrim Show. Picture: Julie Hazelton

The event was tinged with sadness at the passing of Antrim Show’s stalwart and president Fred Duncan.

Among those expressing their sympathy was Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots, who said: “It’s a sad day for Antrim Show, and I’d like to extend my condolences to the show and the Duncan family. I met Fred many years ago, he was a gentleman and will be a huge loss to the farming community.”

Mr Poots praised the huge number of entries and the impressive line-up of horses and farm animals at the show. “Northern Ireland should be proud of its agricultural industry, and I am pleased to support the local shows which are great shop window for our rural economy.”

Visitors to the show included Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council Alderman Stephen Ross and PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne.

Swaledale sheep judge Clive Owen, star of Channel’s 5 popular series ‘Our Yorkshire Farm’, attracted a lot of attention with many fans, young and old, lining up for autographs and selfies. Clive was impressed with the Swaledale entry at Antrim Show, awarding the breed championship to a ram owned by Fred and June Loughridge from Ballymoney.

The Ayrshire, Dexter and Irish Moiled cattle classes attracted record entries; while the highlight of the day for dairy enthusiasts was the climax of the Thompsons and NISA Dairy Cow Championship. The winner selected by Harrison and Hetherington auctioneer Glyn Lucas, was the much-admired Jersey cow Potterswalls Joel Glamour bred by the Fleming Family from Seaforde. Earlier in the day this four-year-old cow was crowned champion of champions in the dairy section.

Runner-up was the Holstein cow Sterndale Fitz Lambda Airy exhibited by George and Jason Booth, Stewartstown. They also took the second reserve award with the home-bred Beechview Doorman Bridget.

The show played host to the final of the NISA and Bank of Ireland junior bull championship. The competition attracted qualifiers from across the country and was judged by Sam Coleman from Glarryford. The overall winner was the Limousin bull Knockcroghery Scatdaddy owned by James Alexander, Randalstown. Taking the reserve prize was the Charolais bull Brigadoon Sovereign bred by Albert and David Connolly, Ballynahinch.

More than 20 breeds of sheep competed for a share of the prize money at Antrim, with the interbreed honours going to the Mule champion, a ewe lamb exhibited by Michelle Wright and Seamus O’Kane from Carnlough.

“It’s been a great show,” said judge Alastair Gault from Newtownabbey. “The supreme champion is a tremendous sheep, very feminine, full of style and ring presence.”

Securing the reserve championship was a Texel ewe lamb brought out by Martin McConville from Rathfriland.

Toast of the interbreed beef classes was the Limousin heifer Deerpark Saffron bred by brothers Connor and Ryan Mulholland.