Local breeders were among those feted at the seventh National Hall of Fame pedigree breeders awards, which took place in the Shamrock Country Lodge Hotel in Athlone on Sunday last.
The awards celebrated the contribution made by 19 winning breeders to the bovine, equine and ovine industries. The awards scheme is the brainchild of Michael Flanagan from Moydrum, Athlone, who is Chairman of the Awards. Special guest at last weekend’s event was Michelle Gildernew, the Minister for Agriculture in Northern Ireland.
John O’Hara from Elphin was named as the Irish Angus Hall of Fame Award Winner. The Kinard Irish Angus herd is currently celebrating 50 years of breeding cattle. Among the outstanding females bred by John was Kinard Maeve, who won many titles, including an interbreed championship at Strokestown in 1984. John O’Hara is a founding member of the Irish Angus Society and has served on the council for 40 years.
Noel Dowd from Creggs swapped milking cows for pedigree breeding 15 years ago and last weekend he was named as the Hall of Fame winner in the Shorthorn Section. His first shorthorn heifer, purchased at Nenagh Mart for 1,000 gns, was the founder of the Creaga pedigree shorthorn herd. The Creggs man bred the champion bull at the Beef Expo Ireland 2008, and the bull was later bought by Dovea AI. He also bred Creaga Dice, the champion bull at several agricultural shows last year, which was also purchased by Dovea AI station. He is also a dedicated member of the Irish Shorthorn Society.
The winner in the Simmental section was Pádraig Kennedy from Elphin and Ronnie McGuire from Strokestown. Ronnie and Pádraig have been breeding Simmentals since the 1970s. They won national awards at Virginia and Strokestown Shows with a Simmental cross heifer. Both men are founding members of Ballymote Simmental Cross Heifer Sale, which has been running for the past 14 years.
Another connection to the county was George F. Candler, a native of Tinnypark, Ballintubber, County Roscommon who now lives in Talbotsgate, Kilkenny. He won the Hall of Fame in the Limousin section. He is the Irish Limousin Society auctioneer at its nine official sales throughout the year. He started working for Kilkenny Livestock Mart in 1972 as a trainee auctioneer. The Candler family are well known in Roscommon farming circles, George’s sister Mary is the Secretary of Roscommon Ploughing Association and is also a former County Chairperson of Roscommon IFA.