Roundstone Championship Show took place on Sunday 13 September this year, the closing event of the Irish summer pony shows for Connemaras. Here the winners and champions of the recent showing season are invited to come together to compete against each other.
This Show has mainly been an In-Hand event since its inauguration 10 years ago when Paddy McDonagh and his team decided it was to be a breed-show above all, celebrating the breeding stock of the Connemara pony world. So you will see only the very best at Roundstone and the day will generally end with the chosen All Ireland Champion of all Champions for 2015 being paraded up through the village street amid cheering spectators, followed by the other Champions of the day bedecked with sashes and ribbons. The Show’s setting is spectacular: picture a man-made arena halfway up rugged Errisbeg mountain, overlooked by the blue-grey Twelve Pins mountains away across beautiful Roundstone Bay.
In the Yearling Colt Class Copperbeech Paddy by Menlough Owen X Dalos Pride was chosen, as the first Champion of the day for his owner, Athlone man Lorcan Glynn. This young colt was bred in Mayo by Thomas and Fiona Grimes.
The Yearling Filly Champion bred and owned by Mayo’s Tom Bourke was Abbeyside Waves by AC Samson AF Engvang (who, in spite of his non- Mayo sounding name, resides at the Bourkes Abbeyside Stud in Claremorris). The filly’s dam is Moyross.
In the Class for 2 Yr old Fillies, only 2 of the 8 catalogued fillies entered the Ring. Amy Curran of Moycullen got the nod of ponyJudges, Joanne Harpur and Michael Western for her home-bred filly, Glencarrig Duchess by Glencarrig Knight X Glencarrig Princess, a total family affair, especially as her father Gearóid is the breeder.
There was a better showing in class 4 for 3 year old Fillies, with 7 qualified lovelies to chose from. Michael Conroy of Cashel, Co Galway, was the lucky owner here when his Addrigoole Sirona by Currachmore Cashel X Bluebell, secured the Champions sash. The breeder was James Leonard of Corrandulla, Co Galway.
Two new counties, Leitrim and Sligo, were brought into the reckoning in the Class for 2 and 3 yr old Colts, with six young stallions coming before the judges, and Ballinamore’s Colm Costello was awarded the Championship for his 3yr old Kilaneen Boy by Western Boy X Truelight Trixie. The strong dun stallion was bred by Stephen O’Beirne in Co. Sligo.
The Murty McGrath Junior Champion’s Cup was presented by Murty’s son Kieran to Addrigoole Sirona’s owner Michael Conroy, while Glencarrig Duchess was nominated Reserve Junior Champion.
Seven filly foals and their dams and handlers filled the ring for the Filly Foal Class. Gaoth Mhara Réaltín by Mountain Cascade X Hannahs Day stood top of the line with her dam. Owner/ Breeder Marita Cunniffe of Barna must have been happy to see the Winner’s sash on her well grown grey filly foal. Followed shortly afterwards by the Reserve All Ireland Foal sash.
Val Noone was chuffed when his bay Colt foal, Crusheen Silver Mick by Silver Shadow X Crusheen Scarlett, won his Colt Foal Class and also was chosen to be All Ireland Champion Foal. In 2014 Val’s Filly foal had also been Roundstone Foal Champion and both foals were by the top performance stallion, Silver Shadow.
By now the rain had become come well-and-truly incessant and the poor kids in the Open Youth Class got drenched. Seven of them, all well turned out, showed their ponies with style and show-ring confidence and were judged by Moycullen’s young Patrick Curran, himself already a past-master in the Connemara pony ring. He chose Róisín Gannon of Inverin, in south Connemara, as his first prize winner with her own pony Glencovitt April by Canal Fred X Gortroe Lass. The breeder was Donegal’s John Crawford.
Seven Stallions over 4 years were next in the Ring, and ringside judges got a good luck at all of them and some named their 3 favourites, correctly as it happened, while they were walked around in the rain, waiting for the actual Judges to return from their lunch break. First up in Championship spot was the 10 year old Cornarone Hazy Lad by Fredericksminde Hazy Match X Atlantic Colette, shown by his owner Padraig Gannon from Inverin, a prolific prize-winning strong- boned handsome stallion who was bred by Inverin’s Gerry Griffin. And just as the ringside judges behind me had predicted, Cashel’s Noel Nee and his father Mairtin Nee’s home-bred six yr. old, Doonreaghan Marty, was called in to 2nd place and 3rd was Caherlistrane Fred, aged 6 and bred and owned by John Joe O’Neill from east Co. Galway..Niamh’s Weblog had to ‘up-sticks’ at this stage due to the rain. but managed to snap the winning Stallion with a rather wet camera.! The Stallion Champion, Cornarone Hazy Lad was later in the day awarded the All-Ireland Supreme Champions prize of €1,000 and the prized McDonagh Cup. The Reserve Supreme Champion Kilmeen Jane, is a 19 year old mare by Cloonisle Cashel X Rhylin Saoirse, a multi prize winning mare now owned by Joe Burke, Castlegar, Galway and bred by Tom Broderick, also of Castlegar. No mares were photographed by this Blog at Roundstone ’15 and sadly the weather also forced a Parade cancellation this year.
But on an optimistic note, Sunday September 11th 2016, is the planned date for next year’s All Ireland Champion of Champions show. Note the date and plan to be there. See www.roundstoneevents.com for Show results. If there are errors in text please let me know. Photos © Niamh’s Weblog