Bovine queens strut their stuff at Virginia Show
THE sun shone and the cows gleamed as the crowds gathered in the Co Cavan showgrounds near the shores of Lough Ramor.
Nearly 10,000 were present to see the ‘show queens’ in action as dairy farmers competed to prove their animals were the creme de la creme of the country’s herds for the Diageo Bailey’s Champion Cow.
There was a €10,000 prize fund for the competition which took place at the 76th annual Agricultural Show in Virginia Co Cavan which is home to Diageo’s cream supplier, Glanbia Ireland.
“It was not quite the record 15,000 crowd we had last year when we were celebrating the 75th year of the show but it was a very good crowd considering the weather than was being experienced in the surrounding counties on the border. That affected the usual level of interest we get from dairy farmers in these regions,” said Ned Duffy a veteran of the Virginia show.
The crowds swelled throughout the afternoon to watch the beautifully turned out animals parade around the ring and marvel at the grooming and pampering lavished on the 34 Bailey champion finalists.
Competition judge Paul Miller was effusive in his praise for all the cows before tapping forward this year’s champion — Hilltara Lanthority Echo 2 — a first time entrant for pedigree breeder Sam McCormick from Bangor in Co Antrim.
“She has everything a dairy farmer anywhere on these islands would ask for,” was Mr Miller’s verdict on the winner.
He was equally complimentary about the standards and renown of the Virginia show among the dairy breeding community both in Ireland and Britain.
It was all about exceptional quality as he picked Denis and Eleanor O’Neill’s GWY Embrace from Glaslough in Co Monaghan as reserve, while Kilwarren Fever B Shower, bred by the Cocomans in Co Kildare, came in for honourable mention.
A good time was had by all and an even better time by the bovine prima donnas who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying their big day out.
Emma Hynes shows her Limousin Heifer
(above) Aisling McLoughlin prepares her horse Ballrobe Prince for showing; (left) Thomas Erickson (6) was among the many breeders showing their sheep