Retired international rugby player Mike Ross will return to his dairy farm roots to open the 35th National Dairy Show in Millstreet, Co Cork, on Saturday, October 21.
The 37-year-old’s illustrious career included 61 Ireland caps, and 151 Leinster appearances, as well as 90 appearances for the London-based Harlequins in the English Premiership, where he finished up as Premiership tight-head player of the year.
Mike toned his muscles piking bales on the Ross dairy farm at Convamore, Ballyhooly, Co Cork, where his father Frank says he was a very good stockman, before he became a rugby professional in 2006, having come onto the scene as a UCC player.
The 100-cow PRIM Holstein herd at Convamore (averaging about 8,000kg at 3.5% protein and 4% fat) is now managed by the partnership of Frank , his wife Patty, and their son Matthew. Frank is the representative in Ireland for Evolution, the co-op owned company which has an 80% share of the French bovine AI market.
Mike gained further experience at the cutting edge of Irish agri-business when he worked for the Enfer Group in Clonmel, the veterinary diagnostics and biotechnology company which was first worldwide to develop a rapid screening test for BSE.
Thanks to Mike, National Dairy Show visitors can win one of the new Irish jerseys which officially go on sale at the end of 2017, signed by the retired prop forward. Other admittance ticket draw prizes include a rugby ball signed by Mike, and a hamper.
The event is the largest and longest running indoor dairy show in Ireland.
More than 200 of the top Holstein and Jersey cattle will compete for the Irish Examiner Supreme Championship.
Cattle entries close on Monday, October 2.
The Show is organised by the Cork Holstein Friesian Club in conjunction with the Irish Holstein Friesian Association.