Lurgan Show: ‘Complete package’ wins top prizes

Simmental young handler Jason Whitcroft made the trip to Lurgan Show from Armagh
Simmental young handler Jason Whitcroft made the trip to Lurgan Show from Armagh

A five-year-old Holstein cow bred by the father and son team of Philip and Simon Haffey, Portadown, was crowned supreme overall champion at Lurgan’s 103rd annual show on Saturday.

The third calver Glasson Shottle JG Gail VG89 is one of 160 cows in the family’s dairy herd, and is producing 48 litres of milk on a daily basis.

Andrea Nelson, Rosslea, with her supreme Simmental champion at Lurgan Show

Andrea Nelson, Rosslea, with her supreme Simmental champion at Lurgan Show

Earlier in the day she claimed the Holstein championship and the inter-breed dairy honours, impressing Coleraine judge Cyril Millar to claim the prestigious champion of champions award.

“This cow is the complete package,” said Mr Millar. “She has a great top line, good legs and feet, and a tremendous udder with super veination.”

Mr Millar awarded the reserve overall championship to the Limousin leader and inter-breed beef champion Lowbarn Fotty, a five-year-old cow from Robert and Stephen Clyde’s 50-cow herd based at Antrim. She was shown with her January born Sarkley Hotshot bull calf at foot.

Runner-up in the inter-breed dairy line-up was the reserve Holstein winner Inch Shottle Daphne 10th EX90 shown by Jim Morrison and James Cleland, Downpatrick. She produced her fourth calf three months ago and is yielding 44 litres per day.

Simmental young handler Jason Whitcroft, Armagh

Simmental young handler Jason Whitcroft, Armagh

Reserve in the inter-breed beef section was the British Blonde winner Budore Garnet exhibited by Paul McGarry, and son Eamon, from Dundrod. This four-year-old cow is one of 25 cows in the herd, and was shown alongside her four-month-old heifer calf.

Lurgan Show also played host to the NI Simmental Club’s junior heifer derby sponsored by Woodcraft Kitchens in Kilrea. Top prize went to Thelma Gorman, Armagh, for her 16-month-old Kilbride Farm Newry daughter Woodford Penny. Taking the reserve title was the 13-month-old entry Derrycallaghan Fancy Me, bred by Co Fermanagh’s Harold Stubbs, and grandson Alan Burleigh.

Taking time out to enjoy the show was Ulster and Ireland rugby star Rory Best. He picked up a number of rosettes in the Aberdeen Angus cattle classes with home-bred entries from his Loughans pedigree herd.

Toast of the inter-breed sheep section was a Charollais shearling ewe from Comber flock owner Diane Christie. Runner-up was the Suffolk champion from Norman Robinson, Downpatrick.

Fermanagh exhibitor Alan Burleigh collects his rosette from Simmental judge Billy Robson, Doagh

Fermanagh exhibitor Alan Burleigh collects his rosette from Simmental judge Billy Robson, Doagh

The success of the one-day show was praised by Lord Mayor Darryn Causby. “It’s a fantastic day out, and an important event for the borough. Lurgan Show is one of the flagship events in our annual calendar, and I would like to congratulate the organisers and volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes.”

Joining the Lord Mayor on a tour of the show grounds were DUP party colleagues Councillor Carla Lockhart, and Upper Bann MP David Simpson. Among the guests were Irish Shows Association president Jim Harrison; Northern Ireland Shows Association president Bill Leeman; and the Department of Agriculture’s head of policy Louise Ward Hunter. RUAS president Billy Robson was officiating as judge in the Simmental section.

Despite a few heavy showers the weather was mostly dry with sunny spells, and attracted exhibitors and visitors from throughout the Province.

Show society secretary Michele Doran was slightly disappointed that spectator numbers failed to meet the record heights of recent years.

Taking shelter from the rain at Lurgan's 103rd annual show

Taking shelter from the rain at Lurgan's 103rd annual show

“Lurgan Show is firmly fixed on the agricultural calendar as the first Saturday in June. The weather forecast may have contributed to the smaller than usual crowd, but it wasn’t ideal that we had to share our date with the NI Country Sports Fair taking place in the nearby village of Scarva.”

However, Mrs Doran reported that livestock entry numbers remained on a par with last year, and highlighted a substantial increase in the number of competitors taking part in the equine section. “The home industries section was strongly supported, with more than 5,000 entries catalogued.”