Omagh Show: Harold proves king of the sheep breeders

Colleen and Corchennia Dorman with champion British Blue at Omagh Show
Colleen and Corchennia Dorman with champion British Blue at Omagh Show

Within 30 seconds of the judge calling the sheep inter-breed championship at Omagh Show on Saturday, the other 14 finalists were vying to shake the hand of Border Leicester breeder Harold Dickey.

Such is the esteem in which the Ballymena man is held by the sheep breeding fraternity here in Northern Ireland.

Mill Cottage Clydesdales in action at Omagh Show

Mill Cottage Clydesdales in action at Omagh Show

This was his second inter-breed title of the year with the same animal – a shearling ewe. He had previously carried the field at Ballymena Show back in May.

Inter-breed judge Brian Ross, from Lanark in Scotland, described his champion as combining “all the attributes” of the Border Leicester breed.

“She has lots of character and really stands out in the crowd: she was my obvious choice on the day,” he added.

Mr Dickey confirmed that the shearling in question is home bred.

“She was born last spring and gave a good account of herself at both Ballymena and Balmoral earlier this year,” he said.

“Our plan is to put her to the tip in the autumn. Before that she will take her chance at most of the agricultural shows taking place over the coming months.”

Meanwhile, in the cattle rings, Paul McGarry, from Crumlin in Co Antrim, was crowned champion of the show with his outstanding Blonde cow Budore Garnet. He had won the beef inter-breed title earlier in the day.

This is turning out to be another tremendous showing season for the McGarry family. Garnet has already notched up a number of breed and inter-breed titles this year, always with her equally eye-catching calf at foot. Back in 2013 the same animal enjoyed a tremendously successful show season as a heifer. And she is now repeating this success as a proven breeding animal.

The McLean family, from Bushmills in Co Antrim, won the dairy inter-breed championship at Omagh with their stylish Jersey cow, Bluegrass Bobs Jane Russell.

“She calved on January 5 and is currently giving 30 litres of milk per day,” Iain McLean explained.

“The cow won her class at the UK Dairy Expo event, held in Carlisle back in March. Our plan is to take her to the finals of the McLarnon’s Dairy Cow of the Year Championship at Antrim Show later this month.”

For good measure the McLean family also won the Holstein, Ayrshire and Jersey breed titles at Omagh.