A day in the life of one of the families competing with cattle at an agricultural show: It starts at 5.30am
There was no happier family at this year’s Charleville Show than Richard Stanley and his family from Knockbrown, Bandon, Co Cork.
In the beef Young Stockpersons Class, 14-year-old Samantha Stanley and her 11-year-old brother Christopher took first place in their respective age categories.
Bandon Grammar School student Samantha has been showing beef stock four years,and her victory in the under-16 age category at Charleville on Saturday was far from her first taste of success.
Nevertheless, she was delighted with her win with Brownview Kendall, a 10-month-old Belgian Blue heifer. 11-year-old Christopher Stanley, who attends Bandon Bridge National School, was also thrilled with his win in the under-12 category. Christopher has also been showing cattle for a number of years.
His win in Charleville followed a second place at Cork Summer Show, with the same animal, Brownview King Kong. “I like having a connection with the cattle,” he explained to me, as he held his Belgian Blue with all the confidence of a fellow double his age, or even a fellow of my own age.
While Stephanie, Samantha and Christopher Stanley competed, behind the scenes, father and mother Richard and Fidelma ensured that all ran smoothly on the day.
They started at half five on Saturday morning on their farm in Bandon, and it’s a family affair all the way right up to the event, and late into Saturday evening.
“I used to show cattle myself years ago,” Richard explained. “I started in the mid-nineties, my uncles used to show Herefords, and that I suppose was where the interest came from.
“Then, when our three children became more interested in the cattle events, I just let them at it.”
Fidelma Stanley feels that shows like Charleville are really an opportunity for the family to spend time together.
From Clonakilty Show on June 11 right up to Tullamore Show, it’s a busy summer for the family.
But Charleville was something special. “To get a brother and sister both winning in handling classes on the same day is very unique for us,” a delighted Fidelma said.
I also spoke to beef judge, Martin O’Conner, who travelled from Roscommon to judge Charolais and Simmental cattle at the show.
Martin is a pedigree breeder of Charolais cattle for 40 years. “We had pedigree Shorthorn cattle for years, and then I went to Charolais.”
Back home on the farm in Roscommon, Martin buys in breeding heifers and sells them on later as springers at a special November sale in Elphin mart. But on Saturday it was all about judging for Martin O’Connor.
“I’ve judged cattle at a good few summer shows over the years, but this is my first trip to Charleville Show. I’m having a very enjoyable day, there’s a lot of fine stock here with beautiful weather, you couldn’t really ask for better.
“I’ve just walked through the cattle now, and was very impressed by the dairy and beef stock, even though I don’t like going through them before I judge. I prefer to see them in the ring. I like to see them at their best.
“The layout here for beef judging is excellent, the rings are very level so nobody can be at an advantage or disadvantage, as the case may be. Everything is 100%, which is a great credit to all.
“One thing I like to see when I come to a show is fine weather because, while sponsorship and all this are very important, people coming through the gates are vital to the success of any show.
“There is a huge voluntary effort which goes into the running of a show like this, and it’s great to see it supported so well,” Martin said.
And of course, the good weather and support of the public were well received by all running trade stands.
I called into a craft stand run by Phil and Terri Sheahan of Fethard, Co Tipperary.
Their Crafts Divine stand, which included an array of bangles, personalised handbags, and photo frames was most appealing to the younger girls in my company.
Also on display were eye-catching handcrafted woodcarving by their father John Sheahan, a retired construction worker, who at 94 is still
turning out spectacular pieces.
Once again, the weather came good for the running of Charleville Show, now in it’s 38th year.
It seems to me that those running the event must have great connections with the man up above, because it’s a show over which dark clouds seldom appear, always getting two days where sunshine, sun cream and smiles are in abundance.
Champion exhibitors included the
Young horse of the show:
1. Suzanne Kelly, Loughrea, Co Galway. 2. Regina Daly, Skibbereen, Co Cork.
PJ Lehane, Clonakilty Co Cork. Reserve: P & J O’ Mahony, Glounthaune, Co Cork.
Kieran O’ Gorman, Clonakilty, Co Cork. Reserve: PJ
Lehane, Clonakilty, Co Cork.
Reserve: Orna Casey.
Novice Intermediate Show Hunter Pony:
John Burchill, Skibbereen, Co Cork.
Best Connemara Foal:
Bryan Hayes, Kinsale.
Reserve: Tom Storan, Croom Co Limerick. Honourable Mention: Jim & Doirrean Mulhall, Kilkenny.
Sean Murphy. Reserve: Pat Smith, Doneraile.
All-Ireland Junior Pedigree Friesian:
1. Brian Hayes. 2. Jim & Doireann Mulhall. 3. Timmy & John Kirby.
Maverick Pedigree Friesian Senior Cow, in milk, having calved 4 times or more:
1. Bryan O’Connor, Kanturk. 2. Clody O’Connor. 3. Margaret Laffan, Kilfinny.
Best Exhibitor Bred Animal:
1. John Curtin, Athlacca, Co Limerick. 2. Bryan O’Connor. 3. Noel & Michelle Murphy. 4.Margaret Laffan.
Group of Three:
John Curtin, Liam O’Neill and Jack O’Neill, Athlacca, Co Limerick.
Pedigree Jersey Cow with 2 calves or more:
1. Richard Hancock. 2. JM & N Collins. 3. Patrick Ahern. 4. Patrick Ahern.
COMMERCIAL BEEF CATTLE
1. Shane Guiltinane, 2. William R Gubbins. 3. William R Gubbins.
Commercial male, born 2017: