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Co Antrim family milk the applause as they celebrate a clean sweep at Ballymena show

By Richard Halleron

Published 01/06/2015

Cattle drive: Brothers Harry and Jack Orr with their black and whites at Ballymena Show
Cattle drive: Brothers Harry and Jack Orr with their black and whites at Ballymena Show
Lauren Henry with her dairy cattle
Emear McGovern Charolais and junior show champion

The McLean family from Bushmills in north Co Antrim created history at Ballymena Show in presenting all of the cows selected for event's Inter-Breed Dairy Championship class - two Holsteins; two Ayrshires and one shorthorn.

Earlier in the day all of these animals had caught the eye of the judges in their respective breed competitions.

"This is a tremendous honour," said Iain Mclean. "Before judging got under way, I was pretty confident that we would have a good day out, but the actual results that we did achieve exceeded all our expectations."

The inter-breed champion - Marleycote Sea Lily 14 - is owned in partnership by Iain and his friend Sidney Cromie. The Ayrshire cow won her production class at Ballymena and then went on to carry the field in the overall dairy championship. She was the Ayrshire champion at last December's Royal Ulster Winter Fair.

"Lily calved for the third time on November 16th last year and she is due to calve again on that exact same date in 2015," Iain confirmed.

"She is a tremendous example of the Ayrshire breed, combining excellent milk production capabilities with great dairy strength."

Other records were broken in the sheep rings, with more than 800 animals entered for various competition classes.

John Gilmour, from Ayrshire, had the honour of judging the Supreme Sheep Inter-Breed class.

He described his champion - an eye-catching Border Leicester shearling ewe from the Ballymena flock of Harold Dickey - as a "truly outstanding animal".

This was Mr Dickey's first inter-breed championship success at Ballymena.

"The gimmer is just over one year old," he said.

"She gave a good account of herself at this year's Balmoral Show, but has grown out a fair bit since then.

"Our plan is to put her to the ram in the autumn. Before that she will take her chance at most of the agricultural shows taking place over the coming weeks."

Ballymena Show Society chairman Robert Dick said that attendance figures for Saturday were well up on previous years.

"More people than ever regard a visit to their local agricultural show as an enjoyable and entertaining day out," he said.

"This reflects the growing awareness of just how important our farming and food industries are to the economy as whole.

"The good weather also played a part in making this year's show such a tremendous success."

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