White Carnation, a two-year-old Irish Draught mare, bred and exhibited by James Duffy, Kilmovee, Co Mayo, and shown by Adrian Hurst, Lisbellaw, Co Fermanagh, won the coveted Aughinish Limerick Lady championship, organised by the Show Society and the Hunter Improvement Society of Ireland (HISI).
Qualifiers for the Limerick decider were chosen at 30 shows held countrywide as part of a championship that was started 19 years ago.
The show was set up to further the pioneering work of the HISI to encourage farmers to keep the right type of half-bred two-year-old fillies on their farms and in the country as potential brood mares.
White Carnation, this year’s winner, is by Carrabawn View, out of Knockatober Lass, and qualified at the Westport Show.
The reserve champion, Yardfield Goldie, a qualifier from the Charleville Show, is by Big Sink Hope, out of Yardfield Rosie, and was bred and exhibited by Fred Bourke, Clonlara, Co Clare.
James Burke, Innishannon, Co Cork, who judged the final with Lady Anne Hemphill, said the winner was a very good and rare type of mare that was hard to get nowadays to breed potential eventers and showjumpers.
He said the overall standard was very good with a fine turn out of fillies. Mr Burke praised Aughinish Alumini for doing a tremendous job in supporting the championship.
He also said it was very easy to sell foals afterwards from the mares that qualify for the final.
Aughinish Alumina public affairs manager Pat Lynch said the sponsorship by the company of the championship over the past 19 years was around €250,000.
It currently represents an annual commitment in the region of €15,000.
“It is rather sad to say that such a programme is still needed to give incentive to owner-breeders. But on the other hand it is a consolation to look back on 19 years of great work for the industry, carried out by a dedicated and selfless group of volunteers, who are all unsung heroes,” he said.
The Aughinish Limerick Matron championship was won by Derry Rothwell, Tinahely, Co Wicklow, with a seven-year-old, which he bred himself.
Joe McCarthy, Emmett Square, Clonakilty, Co Cork, won the Irish Draught two-year-old Aughinish filly championship with an animal that qualified at Bandon Show and was bred by John Dillon, Rosscarbery. In the cattle classes, Sean, Eileen and John Curtin, Athlacca, Co Limerick, won the AIB Bank Holstein Friesian championship with a second calver. They also took the reserve rosette.