From Cork to Donegal, Texel breeders and enthusiasts alike lined the rings of Dundalk Show last Sunday. With wet weather doing its best to dampen spirits, the excitement which had built for the 2024 Growvite Texel All-Irelands rose above the poor weather conditions for what was one of the finest displays of Texels on display anywhere in the country.

Exhibitors travelled from all corners of the country for Sunday’s showcase in Dundalk for what was promised to be one of the best All-Irelands to date. Taking on the difficult task of judging was the highly acclaimed Mark Preistly from the Seaforde flock in Co Down, who is himself no stranger to the show ring.

Male Champion and Reserve Male Growvite Champions Brian Divilly and Neville Myles with Judge Mark Priestly at the 2024 Growvite Texel All-Irelands. \MacGregor Photography

The show kicked off to a flying start with an exceptional aged ram class. Coming out on top this time was Drumderg Fancy Pants, jointly owned by fellow north east region members Michael and Kenneth Bird, John Canty and Michael Donhoe.

It was then on to the aged ewe class which was won for the second year in a row by the same ewe from father and son duo Arthur and Patrick O’Keeffe with a Midlock Dapper ewe, who was in turn the mother of the first prized ewe lamb which she has done for two years in row also.

Shearing rams then came out in force with power to meet today’s commercial demand. The first prize this time came from Jimmy Garrivan with Cherryvale Gerrard a son of Cherryvale Frankel.

The highly contested shearling ewe class and the first and second placed later went on to be the female champion and reserve and ultimately the Supreme Champion and Reserve. First prize this time came all the way from Donegal with Aaron and Neville Myles with a Hexel Fan Club who is a grandson of the Lawn ewe sold in Blessington 2017 and out of a home bred daughter of the 2020 Premier Sale Champion Greenhill Dance Monkey. Second prize in this class also went to another father and son duo Pat and Barry Farrell with a Full Sister to the Premier Sale Champion last year. A daughter of Rheadr Entrepreneur and Proctors Chumba Wumba who also goes back to a renowned Chessy ewe.

It was then on to the novice ram lamb, this was claimed by new breeder Percy O’Callaghan from Waterford with a naturally born triplet, a Curly First Decent son and out of a homebred Forge Gig Gun ewe.

The open ram class was next with another highly contested class with the first place going to winner of 2023 Irish Senior Sire of the year Castlegar Edward. This lamb is a full brother to last year’s premier sale topper the 13k Annaghdown Goldfinger. He went on later in the day to become male champion.

Second in the class was another Fan Club son, from Aaron and Neville Myles. This was out of the ewes they purchased in Blessington last year from the Annakisha flock for €1,400. This lamb later went on to be reserve male champion.

The Junior Ram class was won by O’Keeffe’s with a son of Midlock Dapper who is also a full brother to the Male Champion in the National Championship’s last year, who sold for €3,000 in Blessington.

Next was open ewe lamb class, which saw history repeating itself with a full sister to last year’s first prize winner coming out tops with a Garngour Flyhalf and her mother placing first in the aged ewe class.

The Junior ewe class was another repeat of history with brothers James and Patrick Murphy coming out tops with a Midlock Dapper ewe lamb which also had done the same last year at the nationals.

Another strong class on the day was the novice ewe lamb class, taking the plaudits this time was Cyril Keane. This sire sired by the novice winner from Blessington last year Umricam Goldstar.

The Gemma Doyle Memorial cup for the Young Handler champion was reclaimed by previous winner John Keane of the Grouse flock from Co Limerick.