Fermanagh County Show: Something for everyone as season comes to an end

Fermanagh Show Queen Megan Morrow presents the Farmers' Challenge Cup for the interbreed dairy champion to Ellie McLean from Bushmills
Fermanagh Show Queen Megan Morrow presents the Farmers' Challenge Cup for the interbreed dairy champion to Ellie McLean from Bushmills

The country came to town for the 182nd Fermanagh County Show, held at the Ulster Farmers’ Mart site on the outskirts of Enniskillen.

The event marked the end of a busy summer show season which kicked off at Balmoral in May.

Charolais exhibitor Clarke Balfour from Bellanaleck. Picture: Julie Hazelton

Charolais exhibitor Clarke Balfour from Bellanaleck. Picture: Julie Hazelton

There was something for everyone as the packed schedule of events included a dog show, cookery demonstrations, Young Farmers’ Club games, a vintage vehicle cavalcade, a host of classes for farm livestock, and an array of classes in the home industries and school sections.

One of the highlights of the two-day event was the final of the Linden Foods and NISA pedigree beef heifer championship.

The competition attracted more than 15 qualifiers from various local shows. They were paraded before Irish judge Karol Connell, who after much deliberation, awarded the £300 cash prize to the Beef Shorthorn heifer Castlemount Matrix Zippy.

This 23-month-old heifer was bred by Duncan McDowell, who runs a 50-cow herd at Newtownards. She was native interbreed performance champion at Balmoral, interbreed champion at Ballymoney, and scooped Antrim Show’s interbreed heifer award for two years in succession.

The show’s hotly contested beef section was led by a nine-month-old Charolais heifer bred by Lisnaskea butcher and pedigree livestock producer Adrian Richardson. Hillview Farm Nani was sired by Goldies Icon, and is out of a home-bred Burradon Talisman daughter – one of just four cows in the herd. This much admired heifer will come under the hammer at the NI Charolais Club’s November sale in Dungannon.

Runner-up in the interbreed line-up, and winner of the reserve Linden Foods and NISA championship, was the Limousin heifer Deerpark Maisie bred by Conor and Ryan Mulholland from Aghalee. This heifer has won a string of rosettes this season.

The Farmers’ Challenge Cup, dating back to 1902, is one of the most coveted pieces of silverware at the Enniskillen show. It was won for the fifth year in succession by Bushmills dairy farmers Iain and Joyce McLean.

Interbreed dairy judge Paul Flanagan from Co Louth described Priestland 5446 Shot J Rose EX93 as an outstanding example of the Holstein breed. She has chalked up a number of breed and interbreed awards this season, and was recently crowned Thompsons and NISA Dairy Cow of the Year.

Standing in reserve position was Ernevale Minister Rosina EX94, the reserve Holstein champion from Seamus Gunn’s 40-cow herd at Derrylin. She produced her sixth calf in April and is currently yielding 55 litres of milk per day.

Castlederg herd owner Trevor Keatley won the babe of the year award with the eight-month-old red and white Holstein heifer Aghyaran Argo Andrea.

Competitors were out in force in the goat section, which this year included a new milking competition. Claiming the goat plaudits was the Toggenburg female Aughavey Annafried owned by Roy Colvin from Stewartstown.