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Animal magic as weather is kind to annual Armagh Show

Enjoying Armagh Show are Sam Berry (3) with this Holstein calf
Enjoying Armagh Show are Sam Berry (3) with this Holstein calf
Reserve champion dairy young handler Lily Haffey from Portadown
Sheep exhibitors Packie and Rhonda Donnelly from Ballymena
Arianna and Clara Bell

By Richard Halleron

Glorious sunshine greeted the thousands of visitors at this year's Armagh County Show.

Competition was intense in all of the livestock rings throughout the day.

Trevor Bell, from Comber, Co Down, won the sheep inter-breed championship with a very special Charollais ewe.

Judge Colin McClymond referred to her as an almost perfect example of the breed.

"She has tremendous poise and balance," he said.

"The ewe caught my eye the instant she walked into the ring."

Mr Bell confirmed that his champion lambed for the first time this year.

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"She gave birth to a single ram lamb. Our intention is to have her out at most of the shows taking place this summer," he explained.

Mr McClymond also commended the champion reserve, a Suffolk ewe lamb, bred and exhibited by Patrick Donnelly from Rathkenny in Co Antrim.

There was a tremendous entry of livestock across the board for this year's show, which continues to grow in popularity with visitors from across Northern Ireland and beyond.

The beef championship was won by J & A Wilson, from Newry in Co Down, with a majestic Charolais bull. It entered the show ring weighing an estimated 1,600 kilos.

Judge David Clarke described his champion as being almost "picture perfect".

Mr Clarke added: "He has matured into a truly splendid breeding animal. Young stock can show lots of promise, but the trick is getting these animals to mature into the type of breeding animal that will make a real difference on-farm.

"The quality of the stock qualifying for the beef inter-breed class at this year's show was excellent. But the Charolais bull stood out above the rest."

The dairy championship was won by the Fleming family, from Seaforde in Co Down, with their eye-catching fourth calver Quintrell Kyros Indigo.

The cow previously secured the reserve dairy inter-breed championship accolade at the Balmoral Show this year.

"I bought her in England last autumn," Ashley Fleming explained. "She stood out within a group of cattle that I was inspecting at the time.

"She will make an excellent addition to our Potterswalls herd. The cow is currently giving 38L of milk per day with excellent butterfat and protein."

Armagh Show is also noted for its quality pig classes. This year's champion is Samara Radcliffe from Corbet near Banbridge, who had a tremendous day with a selection of British Saddleback pigs.

Belfast Telegraph