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Roundstone Supreme Champion of Champions Show is an exceptional and unique event which has ended the Connemara Showing Season with colour and flair for the past nine years.
It started when Paddy Yank McDonagh, a native of Roundstone but domiciled in Florida for most of each year, had the idea of inviting the top Connemara pony prizewinners from each Show throughout the country to compete in a final showdown of the “best versus the rest of the best” at Roundstone, which had been the venue for the first ever Connemara Pony Show in 1924. By 2006 Paddy and friends had a first class Ring, cut out from the lower slopes of Errisbeg mountain, to house his planned Show. He has stayed as Vice-Chairman with young Brian Mullen as Chairman for the past couple of years and together they have kept this Show on the road, using the grounds to run a July Connemara Pony, Sheep and Dog Show as well as a premier Dog Show each year.
The lively Yearling Colts were the first to come before Judges Bill Bourns and sprightly octogenarian Hugh Leonard, who has judged here before in ’09.
In fact this 81 year old judge has had – without doubt- more Show- ring experience than any other person in Ireland, having stewarded at Dublin RDS for the past 60 years!.
The day was dry with some sunshine, a great boon for all after last year’s wind and rain. James Rabbette from Mayo collected the first Champions Sash of the day with his quality Yearling Colt Kingstown Archies Boy (Monaghanstown Fionn X Kingstown Silver Treasure) a recent purchase from breeder Malachy Gorham.
Bartley Conroy’s Champ of Emlaghmore (Contepomi Cashel X Penney) was in reserve place. The Yearling Filly Award in a larger Class than the Colts went to Damian Gill’s Cloontuskert Stud in Co. Roscommon with the nice bay Cornfield Cruise (Moyvoon Star, X Cushlough Caoimhe). The second Yearling filly in line, owned and bred by Roscommon based M&M Connemaras, was Rathkeery Western Lady (Western Boy X Ballinasloe Arielli).
In the ribbons again in the 2Yr. Filly Class was Jack Rabbette with his father Michael’s homebred light dun Castleside Paris (Castleside Carrrig x Castleside Shell). Robbie Fallon’s Cashelbay Kate (Cashelbay Prince X Frederiksminde Mathilda, stood Reserve.
The 3 Yr, Old filly class saw an increase in numbers with 8 beautifully presented manicured ponies parading around in the sunshine. Patrick Curran’s prolific winner Wyncroft Dawn, was called in first with his strong filly by Laerkens Cascade Dawn X Ballina brough Beauty, only to move down to 2nd place when
Patrick Mc Grath’s Smokey Queen (Lucky Rebel X Hazelrock Cloud) supplanted her in the final reckoning.It is without doubt a difficult call for the Judges to make when faced with a line-up of top winning ponies and to have to choose between so many ‘best ponies’ again and again in a day’s judging.
There were eight 2 and 3yr old Colts in the Ring for the last of the Junior Classes and all looked uniformly stunning in shades of black, dun and a variety of greys. County Offaly won out this time with Hazelrock Cruise (Lucky Rebel X Smokey Jimmy), bred by the East Galway McGraths, but owned – and winning prizes for the past three years – by Claire Lacey and Danny Flynn who happily took who the class Champion’s Sash, Trophy and Rosette back to Geashill. Marty Keaney with his home-bred 2yr old colt Murvey Rocco (Glencarrig Knight X Murvey Rita) was awarded the Reserve.
Junior championship time arrived and the judges choice was the Yearling colt winner James Rabbette’s Kingstown Archies Boy.
The Junior Champion Prizes and the Murty McGrath Cup were awarded by Kieran McGrath, Murty’s son. Kieran’s brother Patrick with Smokey Queen was in Reserve.
The Colt Foal and Filly Foal classes each had 8 worthy contenders.
The Champion foal came from the Fillies class with Val Noone handling the foal and Nicola Donoghue leading the dam Crusheen Gypsy, taking the All Ireland Foal Award. This was with his home-bred Crusheen Silver Pearl (Silver Shadow X Crusheen Gipsy). The Reserve Foal was the winning Colt Foal, Gerry King’s Ballafadda Star by Lightning Star and out of Cashelbay Heather.
Sweet Hannah with Owner/Handler Jack Keaney was the winning combination in the all-Ireland Open Youth Group. This 5 yr. old Mare is by Coolislaun Cushlaun and out of Sweet Ferdia and this pair are frequent winners of this young handlers Class and took the same award at Roundstone last year.
There were 7 top class mature Stallions on display, all on best behaviour as befitted the occasion. Called in to top spot in the initial line-up was Joe Burke’s 6yr old Banks Timber (Telgstrup Duke X Banks Square Do Do) He is a Danish born pony and has proved prominent Show-ring winner for the Castlegar Burkes. However this time he was not to keep his top placing as he was relegated to Reserve slot by the Judges with Brocklodge Buster (Ashfield Festy X Ballycallen Beauty) called in first in the final line-up. The 12 yr old Champion is bred and owned by Pat Kearns from County Laois for whom he has been a consistent show-ring winner for some years.
The next two mare classes had extremely fine quality mares in good quantity with 17 or 18 mares in both Classes 12 and 13.
In the 4-6 year old Mares Ciaran McGrath had his Hazelrock Colleen in fine condition to win this Class. The 5 year old is by Currachmore Cashel and out of Smokey Star. Bernard Keaney’s Murvey Rianna (Currachmore Cashel X Murvey Cara) took the bridesmaid spot.
Grace Murphy’s two mares took both the championship spot and 3rd place in the class for Mare 7-12 Years.
Thiergartenhofs Larissa, an 8 yr old German- bred mare by Skousbou Morning Rock out of Lily was shown by William McMahon to take the Winners Sash and other Awards back to East Galway. Jack Rabbette with his 12 year old Dangan Memory (Castlestrange fionn X Dangan Molly) was in Reserve position, thus separating the two stablemates T. Larissa and Lakeside Misty who was in 3rd
The final 3 Classes unfortunately had minimal entries this year. In the 13-19 year old Mares, Tomas Grimes with Lackragh Beauty (Carra Cashel X Carnawre Dolly was tops.
In the Mare 2o years and over class it was the very well- preserved 25 yr old Belcara Mist by Catamaran X Mountain Heather who showed her fine step with Dara Heanue.
A prominent Bay Mare winner again this year was alone in her class. Johnny Conneely’s D’arcy Eileen’s Pet (Janus X Eileen’s Pet) was not at all disconcerted to be solo in the Ring and displayed her movement and gleaming coat to great effect for Maeve Conneely. Supreme of the Show was the Junior Champion, Jack Rabbette’s Kingstown Archies Boy and Ciaran McGrath’s Hazelrock Colleen in Reserve
Not to be forgotton is the friendly Show Commentator Ado and wife Gertrude Kenny who have made the annual pilgrimage to work for the Roundstone Shows for the past 9 years.
Noel and Kate Noonan remain as Supreme Championship Sponsors, donating 2,500 Euro. The post- Show trot up the hilly Roundstone street is a traditional grand finale.