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Roundstone was picturesque as ever, especially when the sun occasionally broke through and the marvellous blue skies opened up above the showground on the hill above the village. The seventh All Ireland Supreme Champion of Champions Connemara Pony Show is a fitting end to the showing season when first class In-Hand prize-winners from every Connemara Pony Show in the country are invited to meet and compete to determine the Best of the Best who will, at the end of the day, take home the valued sashes and trophies.
The celebrity guest this year was that highly successful stallion – a former Roundstone Supreme who has received every top showing accolade in Ireland and this past season he went to France with Joe where he again swept the boards. Currachmore Cashel was paraded by Joe Burke whose father Eamon bred and owns the stallion. The voices of ten French breeders who came for Roundstone and the chat of Irish speakers brought an original touch as they blended in the Connemara wind.
The French-Irish mix extended to the Ring where Judges Louis Philibert of the Duff stud in France and Chloe Osbourne spent the busy day. Paddy Yank McDonagh has, up ‘til now, led the ranks of local people who make this Show an annual success but this year he has relinquished the Chair and passed the baton to a young Roundstone breeder, Brian Mullen who made sure to follow the master footsteps of his uncle Paddy, making for yet another excellent Show this year.
SHOW RESULTS Gallery will have pics of 2nds and others in classes. As usual I would like to c orrect any errors you may spot on this page, so please don’t be shy and do let me know.
The striking bay Yearling Colt Illaunurra Bay was bred and is owned by Pat O’Neill of Ballyconneely. He is by Castleside J.J. Junior X Illaunurra Heather and he won the first All- Ireland Sash of the day. He also won his Class at Clifden last month. Danny Flynn and Claire Lacey came from Laois to take the Reserve with Hazelrock Cruise (Lucky Rebel X Smokey Jimmy).
The All-Ireland Yearling Filly Doonhill Misty Dawn was one of the 12 progeny of Currachmore Cashel to qualify for this Show. She is a lovely quality filly out of owner Damian Gorham’s April Dawn Lady. Wyncroft Dawn (Laerkens Cascade X Bailenabrough Beauty) owned by Patrick Curran, was Reserve.
The Curran family were in the ribbons again when Patrick took the All-Ireland sash in the Two Year old Filly Class. This was no mean feat as the competition was a selection of 12 top prizwinners in this Class. This time he was leading his Sister Eleanor’s Glencarrig Scarlet bred by father Ciaran. This filly is by Glencarrig Prince out of Fairyhill Helen. In Reserve spot was Roger and Laura Brady’s homebred Vinura Tequilla (Kilmore Diamond X Vinura Lola)
The Three Year old Filly Classwas another feast for the eyes as nine 3yr olds graced the ring , prizewinners all, as in every Class at this unique Show. The Champion’s sash here went to Laura McWeeney’s prolific winner this year, Roo Bella (Coolin America X Burren Robe), bred by Karen Naughton in Gort, Co.Galway. Kieran McGrath’s home-bred Hazelrock Arís, another fine filly by Currachmore Cashel and out of Hazelrock Rua was judged Reserve.
After those three Filly classes it was time to admire the 6 Colts in the ring. The class was for 2-3 year old Colts. The All-Ireland Champion’s Sash went to Westmeath visitors Pat and Mary Rabbitt with their Monaghanstown Barney, a 3yr old of substance, by Linsfort Barney X Monaghanstown Queen. Reserve was Robbie Fallon’s impressive Cashelbay Roc ket, also 3 years, home-bred from Cashelbay Cruise and Castlebay Misty. The Junior All-Ireland champion came from this Colt class and Pat Rabbitt received the Murty McGrath Trophy from two generations of Murty’s family, Patrick McGrath and his son. Murty McGrath had founded a valuable line of connemara ponies from his foundation mare Smokie back the the 1950’s and both McGrath sons are strong supporters of Roundstone.
Eighteen ponies and eighteen handlers helped fill the Roundstone ring for the Filly Foal Class. Michael Rabbette of the Castleside Stud in Castlebar in Mayo is the owner/breeder of the Filly Foal Champion Castleside Sheryl (Castleside Carrig X Castleside Shell). Reserve Filly foal was Loughmore Misty (Coolillaun
Cushlawn X Bearna Rua Star) owner-bred by Sean Cooney of Tullamore in Co. Galway. The All-Ireland Champion Foal was selected from the Colt Foal class. This grey-dun handsome foal, Murvey Rocco (Glencarrig Knight X Murvey Rita) is owned by local breeder Martin Keaney, Murvey, Roundstone.
Next come the big boys, the STALLIONS 4 years and over, eight of them, all Champions in their own right.
The prolific winner in Dublin RDS and Clifden Shows to name but two, the great-looking Glencarrig Knight is just a 4 year old and he caught the Judges eyes to be presented with the All-Ireland Stallion Champion’s Sash. As Reserve they choose another 4 year old, Stephen Fahy’s Ben Ban Cracker Jack (True Commotion X Ben Baun Glen Sally), bred by Ann O’Brien Conroy.
From the Mares 4-6 years old, a field of 14 lovely Connemaras, the Judges decided on another Currachmore Cashel daughter, the 5 year old Fuinseog out of Feenish Lady, and presented owner Caroline Lydon from Carraroe with her All-Ireland sash. Galway’s Grace Murphy with her German import, Thiergartenhof Larissa (Lara for short) took Reserve. This 6 year old mare is by Skousboe Morning Rock X Lily, breeders are Paul and Anita Hufnegels. She has competed successfully under saddle also with her owner.
In Mares 7-12 years old the All-Ireland Sash was awarded to Fiona Grimes from Ballinrobe in Mayo with Lishín Star (Glencarrig Prince X Dunlewy Lisheen) Breeder is Joe Cunniffe, Barna. Sinéad Lusby McGrath’s Lucky Secret (Tulira Roebuck X Lucky Mavourneen) claimed Reserve.
The matriarchs were next on display, Mares 13 yrs. and over. Francis and Deirdre O’Reilly had made a long trip from Dundalk, Co. Louth (6 hours travel time with mare and foal) and it all seemed worthwhile when their 16 yr old Glenmore Kelly’s Owen (Abbeyleix Owen X Gentian Gold) had the All-Ireland Sash draped around her neck. This mare has won many sashes and awards but this one at Roundstone was probably the hardest earned, especially as the day had turned cold and blustery by the time they entered the Ring. Reserve in this Class was Tom Bourke’s seasoned campaigner the 16 year old Misty (Carraroe Handy X Bright Star): they hail from the Abbeyside Stud in Claremorris, co. Mayo.
The Bay Mare Class was in the sole ownership of Johnny Conneely’s (Errislannon) classy D’Arcy Eileen’s Janice a, 3yr.old by Janus out of Eileen’s Pet. The pair got well-deserved applause as the paraded the Ring in a solo act.
Supreme All-Ireland Champion was the Stallion Class winner, Glencarrig Knight. He is by Janus and is out of Glencarrig Breeze, and was bred by owner Ciarán Curran in Moycullen. His breeding is almost straight Blue line, right back to Carna Bobby on the top and bottom lines, through Scarteen Mistral, and Marble, Ashfield Bobby Sparrow, Tulira Mairtin and other well-respected forebears. The McDonagh Cup was presented by the Judges, and a handsome cheque for €2000 was handed over to this dedicated breeder.
Reserve All Ireland Champion was the 10 year old winner of the 7 – 12 class Thomas and Fiona Grimes’ Lishín Star, and this happy couple were €500 richer as they headed back to Mayo. These generous cheques are courtesy of main sponsor Noel Noonan of Manor Connemara Ponies in Clifden. Yet to come was the traditional trot up the hill in the village for all prizewinners, an event in itself.
for more pictures go to Roundstone ’12 gallery.
All photos © Niamh’s Weblog For Books go to www.marne.ie