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Last year Niamh’s Weblog photographed Claddaghduff Mare Classes mainly for the blog report so on this occasion I decided to arrive early to see and snap plenty of young stock. However the mares are not to be completely ignored this year either and the stallions had to be seen.
It was a pleasure to be back in this lovely seaside venue again, evocative of the colour and the setting of a Jack B.Yeats painting. The ground was nice and dry this year– if a bit on the unlevel side – after our exotic warm, dry June weather. The Show is now in its 25th year and is one of the most efficiently run small Connemara shows around. Everything is organised to a T, from excellent Ring stewards who kept all 16 classes running smoothly and in perfect sequence; to the friendly and knowledgeable main Gate- keepers, and the very satisfactory public address DJ and his backup who gave immediate Ring results and plenty of relevant information on the Classes also. And the impressive bouncy castle obstacle course was a ‘free to children’ Show feature.!
The ponies were stunning as always and the Judge for the day was Patrick Traynor of Ballymena’s Moyan Stud who travelled the many miles from Co.Antrim to this far west corner of Connemara. And what was he looking for in Connemara ponies? “A quality head and neck well set on, and rideability. The pony must have the Connemara ‘stamp’ and conformation with performance potential was all-important. ‘Back at the knee’ seen in some young ponies was worrying”.
First in were 7 Yearling Colts, skittish and lively, many on their first public outing, competing for the Heffernan Memorial Cup. Martin Keaney’s Addrigoole Commando ( Fredericksminde Hazy Match X Addigroole Sparrow) a strong bay youngster took this trophy, beating Caroline Lydon’s dun colt Ugool Rocky (Caherlistrane Prince X Breaffy Cailin) to take the first Red Ribbon of the day.
The judge’s favourite for the Red Rosette among the 8 Yearling Fillies on display was the home-bred Bunowen Grey Lass by the Clifden winner Dunloughan Troy out of Errismore Beauty, another show-ring winner, and she is owned by Mickey Sweeney. Amy Curran’s Castle Countess (Glencarrig Prince X Glencarrig Princess), -also a daughter of champions – was runner-up.
The 2 year old Filly to top the winners line-up in this class of 5 is from Mayo. Addrigoole Serena is another of Kevin Nally’s Corrandulla – bred Addrigoole ponies and Serena is by (Castleside Carrig X Fernville April) and is owned by John Hynes from Claremorris.
Robbie Fallon’s Cashelbay Kate (Cashelbay Prince X Fredericksminde Mathilda) was awarded the 2nd place Blue Rosette.
Wyncroft Dawn was the Victor in the Class for 3Year old Mares, she is by Laerkens Cascade Dawn out of Ballenabrough Beauty, owned by Eleanor and Patrick Curran and shown to win by Patrick of Moycullen’s Glencarrig Ponies.
Joe McCann’s Cammelia Mist (Dunloughan Troy X Ballinabrough Beauty) was the 3 year old runner-up in this Mares Class.
Now it was time for the 2 and 3 Year old Colts and disappointingly only 2 of the 5 colts entered in the catalogue appeared in the ring. But even 2 young colts in a ring can provide enough of a ‘rí rá and ruaille buaille’ displaying themselves with plenty of pizzazz to impress the most passive of spectators. Of the 2 Colts in the ring the Judge picked his winner and also spotted him to be potential Junior Champion. The rich dark bay Illaunurra Bay is by Castleside JJ Junior and is out of Illaunurra Heather. He descends from the late Paddy and Christy King’s mare Village Mist which Pat O’Neill of Ballyconneelly purchased as his first Connemara pony 22 years ago. Illaunurra Bay is her great grand-son. Pat choose the prefix ‘Illaunurra’ after a small coastal Island near his home. The colt has won Clifden twice; winning first as a Yearling and then as a 2yr old. Now a strapping 3yr old stallion, he displays both presence and quality.
The 2yr old Bell Squire (Bay Shadow x Belle Supreme) is owned by his breeder Raymond Conneely of Errislannan was also expertly shown.
Junior Champion was Illaunurra Bay.
Reserve Junior Wyncroft Dawn
The Young Handlers– aged 10 to 17 years- get more polished and professional each year and this time it was the turn of Clifden’s Sadhbh O’Toole with Clochanard Dawn (Libero Justice X Hillside Heather) to pass the Judges’ test and stand top of the class. Incidentally she was the only one of 5 handlers in the Class to wear protective headgear. Páid Folan from Carraroe was 2nd with Dancing Maggie (Corcullen Silver Bell X Bláithín)
It must be mentioned that for the 3rd year running young Maria Gorham has won the Mare 20 Years and Over class, this year unopposed, with her now 24 year old Molly Malone (Loobeen Larry X Gortroomagh Molly).
The Sweeney Perpetual Cup was presentated to Joe Burke’s Drumbad Fletcher Moss, winner of yet another Stallion Class since Galway’s Eamon Burke bought the 10 year old by Fredericksminde Hazy Match X Robe Grey Abbey in January of this year. He had been lightly shown at his previous home in Northern Ireland and matured with his mares in the field.
He has emerged as the leading western prize-winning stallion of this season so far. ( See more of the Fletcher Moss story in the Ballinalee Show Report, May ’14.) John Varley’s Coolin America shown by Niamh Varley was placed 2nd in the class of 5 stallions. Being awarded The Supreme Champion of the Show award made it another red letter day for Joe Burke with Drumbad Fletcher Moss.
Reserve Supreme was Geoffrey Heanue of Renvyle with his Derrylough April (Castlestrange Fionn X Starlight Butterfly) , the mare which had been the winner of the 4 – 6 Year Old Mare Class.
The colt foal winner took the Foal Championship. This was Damian Gorham’s Doonhill Dancer by Currachmore Cashel out of April Dawn Lady
The Best Turned Out award was made to Fiona Grimes and her 12 to 19 year old Mare Class Winner Lackragh Beauty (Carra Cashel X Carnawre Dolly).
A special presentation was made to Bartley O’Máille of Carraroe who had missed not one single Show Day at Claddaghduff in 25 years. The photo shows: left to right, John Noel Mullen, Bartley O’Maille, Sec. and PRO Cathriona O’Toole, Chairperson Sinead Flaherty and Judge Patrick Traynor. Click Here for Gallery photos
All photos © Niamh’s Weblog For Book info. http://www.marne.ie