30-04-2009 01:11 AM | News

Ireland-Sheep shearing contest.





IRELAND-SHEARING COMPETITION.

THE first sheep shearer from the northern hemisphere to set an individual world record, Ivan Scott, of Letterkenny, will be one of the star attractions at this year’s Clik Pour-on All-Ireland and International championships.


Organised by the Burt GAA Club in Co Donegal, these will be held in the Grianan Estate on Saturday and Sunday, May 30 and 31, when more than 1,500 sheep will be shorn by 200 shearers in various competitions.

Mr Scott set the new single stand world record when he sheared 736 Romney strongwool lambs in eight hours last December in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand.

Each lamb took an average of 32 seconds to shear and yielded an average of 1kg of wool.

In beating the previous record of 731, he also became the first overseas shearer to set an individual world record in New Zealand.

Mr Scott is the Irish open champion and he will be defending that title again this year. He will also be attempting to win the International Open championship in which he was runner-up last year to Hamish Mitchell of Scotland who will be in Donegal to defend his title.

One of the highlights of the weekend will be the Five Nations International Championship when top shearers from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will compete against each other.

A key feature of this competition is that each team member has to shear seven sheep from three different breeds — Blackface, Cheviot and Cheviot-Suffolk X.

Because of the characteristic differences in their wool, shearing each breed requires different skills and equipment.

The championships will also attract top shearers from Australia and New Zealand, as well as Ireland, Britain and Europe, and in addition to the shearing there will also be wool handling competitions.

Eugene Smyth, regional sales manager, Novartis Animal Health Ireland, the main sponsors, said with its long tradition of sheep breeding, Donegal is the ideal location for these championships.

A huge voluntary effort is required to organise the event and the local support has been tremendous, he said.

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