THE Beef Shorthorn and Holstein cattle breeds, together with the Charollais sheep breed, all celebrated their own individual inter-breed championship wins at this year’s Balmoral Show.

In almost perfect show conditions for the main showing days, but with rain later, huge crowds descended on Balmoral Park, near Lisburn, for the four-day event which was hailed a success by the RUAS organisers, despite a couple of headline grabbing incidents.

Security staff and police at the show had to break up a couple of mass brawls that broke out in bar areas during the last two days. The RUAS said it was investigating and added: “It is sad that a few people resorted to this behaviour when 10s of thousands of people enjoyed a fun family day out.”

However, that did not deter much from a fantastic event which attracted a record attendance of more than 120,000 visitors throughout its four days.

RUAS chief executive, Alan Crowe, commented: “We are delighted with how our 2019 show went and are thrilled to announce a record high attendance. There were huge crowds each of the four days and the famous Balmoral buzz was certainly there.’’

A Charollais gimmer from the Newtownstewart flock of Graham Foster, won the overall sheep inter-breed at Balmoral Show, before being made the show’s champion of champions. She is by the 2200gns Robleston Superman – a ram which had been bought at Worcester – and out of a home-bred dam by a Tullyear sire.

This sheep, Springhill Tina Turner, proved she was ‘simply the best’ at Northern Ireland’s premier agricultural show taking the inter-breed title ahead of Mark Priestly’s Suffolk ram lamb from his Limestone flock. This was a son of Limestone Aston Martin out of a Gransha-bred ewe.

In third place in the final line-up was a Greyface ewe from the Hamill family, from Crumlin.

The dairy cattle section was missing the Dairy Shorthorn breed this year, but still managed around 85 entries in total from the remaining three other breeds.

And, although sheep numbers entered totalled over 900, there were around 150 Blackface sheep missing from the show due to a fall out between breeders and the event’s organisers.

As always, the livestock judging attracted many spectators more so on Friday when there the main finals were programmed.

A total of 12 beef breed champions were in the running to be picked as the overall inter-breed winner by judge, Danny Wyllie, originally from Ayrshire, but now living in Staffordshire.

There was an air of expectancy as Danny picked out his shortlist of five breeds before stepping forward to tap a classy Beef Shorthorn cow belonging to Duncan McDowell, from Newtownards, as his supreme champion.

His four-year-old cow, Ricketstown Lovely 191, was shown with its calf at foot, and really strolled around the ring like a true winner in the afternoon sunshine. She was by Nevada Nightime and out of Mogeely Liriope.

Judge Mr Wyllie said: “As soon as I first set eyes on that Beef Shorthorn cow I knew it was a true champion. She has fantastic presence, a super topline and really owned the ring.”

His choice of reserve inter-breed champion was a ‘perfect’ Limousin heifer owned by William Smith, from Oldcastle, in Co Meath. This yearling, Millbrook Nelenya, was sired by Wilodge Vantastic and out of Millbrook Enya.

“I choose the Limousin breed champion as my overall reserve champion as it is a real powerful female, but was just pipped by the Beef Shorthorn,” said Mr Wyllie. “It is the perfect heifer which I expect to show really well in the future as it matures.”

Third place in the beef inter-breed went to the Charolais champion, Elgin Nancy, a two-year-old heifer owned by Patrick Gallagher, from Maghera. “She’s another super heifer, but I would like to have seen her more in calf by this stage as she is another powerful beast,” said the judge. She was bought privately from the Milne family, from Kennieshillock, Lhanbryde, Elgin.

Over in the dairy rings, a Holstein cow from Hallow Holsteins, in Co Wexford, was crowned the overall dairy champion. It was a memorable day for Philip Jones, owner of the herd, as he also exhibited the reserve champion Holstein and honourable mention.

“Our Holstein champion and overall inter-breed champion, Hallow Atwood Twizzle 1181, calved her second calf in December and is giving 50 litres of milk per day,” he said. “She is home-bred and this is her first time at Balmoral Show.” The champion was sired by Attwood and out of dam Hallow Advent Twizzle.

The reserve champion Holstein, Hallow Atwood Grace, is also home-bred and is yielding 45 litres per day.

Reserve dairy inter-breed champion was the Jersey leader, Clandeboye Tequila Cookie, a five-year-old cow from Clandeboye Estate, near Bangor. Farm manager, Mark Logan, said: “We bred this one ourselves and she is projected to yield 7500kg and is in calf again. She was sired by Tower Vue Prime Tequila and out of Newmoor Sultan Cookie.”

Michael Hunter, from Crumlin, exhibited the champion Ayrshire at the show. His home-bred, seven-year-old cow, Ardmore Janet 110, was sired by De la Plaine Prime. The same home also produced the reserve champion, Ardmore Orphan 110, another home-bred seven-year-old, this time by Rosehill Blackthorn.

Mr Hunter said: “Ardmore Janet gave 9000kg last year and was also the Ayrshire champion at the 2018 Balmoral Show. She is in calf again and due in October. The reserve is giving 50 litres per day and is calved two months.”

In the Clydesdale ring, the main plaudits went the way of the Hanna family, from Ballymoney, who took the tri-colour with the five-year-old mare, Macfin Sweet Melody. A former winner at Balmoral and many other events in Ulster, she is by Glebeview Sir Charles and out of Kirkhouse Amazing Grace.

She was ahead of Pat O’Boyle’s Carrickmannon Kylie, a two-year-old filly from Ballymena. Kylie is by Carrickmannon Big Ben and out of Ballydown Flossy.

Top of the young Clydesdale handlers was Craig Hanna, who was placed ahead of Bonnie Taggart and Lucy Kirkpatrick, respectively.

Inter-breed champions:


Performance bulls – D Bothwell, Enniskillen, with Killadeas Orlando (Charolais); reserve – W and J Hazelton, Dungannon, with Ranfurly Jamieson (Simmental).

Performance heifers – Miss J Gilliland, Antrim, with Ballyrobin Opium (Limousin); reserve – W and P Campbell, Ballymena, with Spage Nora (Limousin).

Inter-breed native pair – C Clarke, Ballymoney, with Lancaster Liz 24 of Skaillhouse, and N and L Dowd, Roscommon, with Creaga Prada (Beef Shorthorns); reserve – M Richmond, Enniskillen, with Corraback Cherry 10, and James Graham, Portadown, with Richmount 1 Rockafella (Herefords).

Inter-breed continental team of five – J Alexander, Randalstown’s Trueman Natkingcole; C and R Mulholland, Craigavanon’s Deerpark Nearperfect and Deerpark Niceone; Blackwater Limousins, Benburb’s Homebyre Neema; and Strathearn Livestock, Kilkeel’s Strathearn Red Oopsadaisy.

Inter-breed native team of five – D McDowell’s Ricketstwon Lovely 191; Caramba Shorthorns, Kinvara’s Caramba Rothes Hottie and Caramba Hottie Koo; A Hammill, Antrim’s Bushpark Sparkler 3.


Pairs – J Aiken, Dromore and H Dickey, Ballymena (Border Leicester); reserve – S and W Tait, Omagh and RC and JC Watson, Ballymena (Suffolk).

Group of three – A Moore, Ballymena, G Hanna, Newtonards and S Caldwell, Ballymena (Dorset); reserve – T and S Knox, Ballymoney and two from S Allen and A Shortt, Strabane.

Long wool – D and N Hammill, Crumlin (Greyface); reserve – Joe Adams (Bluefaced Leicester).

Short wool – G Foster, Omagh (Charollais); reserve – M Priestley, Downpatrick (Suffolk).