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Wednesday, 01 January 2020

Ireland a Review of the Year!

Featured Written by Paul Scanlon

2019 was another exciting year for the Irish show scene and OUR DOGS IRELAND’s Paul Scanlon looks back at some of the highlights, the loses to the sport and the news stories of the year. 

The final show of 2018 took place in December with Dublin Dog Show Society where Michael Leonard chose Stewart and Heather Cummings and Kelly Lawless’ Pointer male, SH CH/GB SH CH/ INT SH CH Kanix Kroner at Sevenhills for his BIS winner.

The Winner of the Dublin Dog Show Society Champion of Champions event, held in Dublin with Judge Petru Muntean from Romania was Diane Stewart Ritchie’s homebred Irish Red Setter SH CH/GB SH CH Gwendariff Whippersnapper. 
Sarah Cushley took the Irish Junior Handler of the Year title during January under Kirsty Miller from the UK. 

As always the political year kicked off with the annual Irish Kennel Club elections and there were a number of changes to the two main committees serving. Sean Delmar was returned once again as President after an election while Evelyn Hurley was also returned as Vice President and Joan Walsh was back in office as Treasurer. 

In January, we sadly lost Maureen Blount of the Lindberg Lhasa Apsos, former IKC General Purposes committee member and dedicated worker for the IKC, Rodney McDowell, Portadown Canine Club President Nancy Hall and Chesapeake Bay Retriever exhibitor Sandra Galvin. 

There was delight among the Irish show scene when our own Ann Ingram topped the voting for All Breeds Judge of the Year at the Pawscars ceremony just before Crufts in March. A super win for Ann and a very popular winner on the night. OUR DOGS IRELAND’s Paul Scanlon was also a nominee on the night for Photographer of the Year.  

Roy and Lesley Blevins were crowned Breeder of the Year in the OUR DOGS IRELAND/ DR CLAUDERS Breeder of the Year competition with IKC President Sean Delmar presenting the winners prize. 

The first part of the Irish Kennel Club double header for St Patrick’s weekend in March took place at the National Show Centre where conditions were difficult for the organising team and indeed the exhibitors, after some really heavy rain and strong winds caused problems at the set up and then during the first day. The weekend was also a significant one for the Irish Kennel Club itself as it would be Secretary Marion Campbell’s final events in her position and presentations were made the following day in the main ring as the organisation and the exhibitors showed their appreciation to Marion for her dedicated service over the decades. It was great to see the team from the IKC offices joining Marion in the main ring and we wish Karen Murphy all the best too in her new position as she takes over from Marion. 

Colette Muldoon was centre ring for the Best in Show finales at the Celtic Winners show and taking Best in Show was the Group 9 winner, Raymond O’Neill’s Pekingese CH Trendylook Hedley Lamarr. 

Taking Best in Show on Day 2 under Paul Lawless was Lucinda Thompson’s Whippet male Barnesmore Cherokee Lad. The day was an incredible double success for the Barnesmore ladies as earlier Paul Lawless had selected their Whippet youngster Barnesmore Gold Digga, owned and handled by Felicity, to take the Best Puppy in Show award and go forward to the Combined Canine Club Pup of the Year Final at Easter 2020. A super day for the team and one they won’t forget for a long time.

It was a great year for Cathy Neill, Lizzie Greenslade and Sara, Gavin and Oliver Robertson as their top winning Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen CH Soletrader Buddy Holly eased to success as IKC Dog of the Year. 

Best in Show at Mid West Canine Club under judge Colm Beattie was the Havanese male US CH/MULTI CH Arbens Epic Swagg of Los Perritos who is co owned by Karen Loveless, Virginia Dowty and Julie Connolly and handled here by Julie. 

The Combined Canine Club Easter Classic spectacular kicked off on Easter Saturday at the National Show Centre in Dublin where a total of 1,423 dogs in breed class competition challenged for the spoils at the International event organised by the club’s hard working officers and committee. The Combined club is a historical club having been formed in 1936. Best in Show winner under France’s Sylvie Desserne was Stewart and Heather Cummings and Kelly Lawless’ Pointer male, the big winning SH CH/GB SH CH/ INT SH CH Kanix Kroner at Sevenhills who was handled by Stewart. The Easter Sunday National show saw Jensen returning to the Best in Show challenge after collecting his 90th Green Star win and his 26th Group 7 win and later taking his second BIS win of the weekend. An astonishing record for the team and Jensen, and certainly one to be proud of. Making the Best in Show decisions on day 2 at the National show was Hungary’s Dr Tamas Jakkel.

Without doubt the Combined Canine Club/ Royal Canin Pup of the Year is the event that every exhibitor wants to qualify for as it pits the most exciting young dogs and bitches of the previous 12 months against each other as they seek the golden crown of Pup of the Year. On the night it was a rip roaring finish as Sally Burns, Mary Coghlan and Lesley Howard’s Toy Poodle, Grace, Grayco Zhamazing ‘Ell took the title of Combined Canine Club /Royal Canin Pup of the Year 2018. She had qualified at Hibernian in May under Michael Clancy of the Milbethan Tibetan Spaniels and Japanese Shiba’s. Cathy Scotton from Australia was the judge. 

At Fermoy International in May it was a fantastic day for the Afghan Hound CH/GB CH/INT CH Daveshey To Tell The Truth owned by John Minchin, Lyn Appleby, Mary Mulvaney and Jayne Edwards as ‘Kayto’ took yet another Best in Show rosette to add to his many previous Best in Show successes. James Reynolds from Canada was the judge. 

The Hibernian All Breed Dog Club annual Championship show took place at the National Show Centre in Dublin in mid May and with the date comes a busy weekend of shows across Europe including the Birmingham National four day show in Stafford so the Hibernian team were pleased with their entry of 1,020 dogs in breed classes. The Best in Show decisions were made by Susan Kealy of the Kealdale Airedales and Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers and she had a strong line up to chose from with the top spot going to Sean Carroll and James Newman’s male Pomeranian CH/GB CH Toybox Devils Advocate. Eddie is bred by the Late Eve Smail. 

The annual double header of the Munster Canine Association and Cork and District Canine Club took place on the first weekend in June and it was a super weekend for Michael Crowley and his Standard Smooth Dachshund CH Nicholas of Donnamarc who took BIS at both events under judges Marie Butler and Fiona Clarke. 
Once again the Swords and District Canine Society team proved why so many exhibitors consider it as one of the best shows of the year with their exhibitor friendly approach which is appreciated by all on the show scene. The Swords team always bring an interesting panel of Irish, UK and overseas judges together for the annual June show. Taking Best in Show under Joyce O’Connor was David and Morag Connolly’s Australian bred Border Collie, CH/GB SH CH Narhof Blurred Lines at Huntly.

Dermot Alford of the Christate kennel had the pleasure of making his first Championship show Best in Show award at Kilkenny 2019 and he had a strong line up to chose from and coming in to take Dermot’s winner’s rosette was Gerry and Pauline Clarke’s Irish Wolfhound CH Inara of Shantamon.

There was a great return for the Portadown Canine Club Championship show as the club brought their annual event to a new June date and to the magnificent Lurgan Park in the town of Lurgan where the local Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council pulled out all the stops and supported the club superbly. This was the first time in many years for a dog show to be held in Lurgan Park. Christabel Alford of the Christate Tibetan Terriers was making her Best in Show debut at this level and her winner was was Paul, Jean and Kelly Lawless’ BSD Groenendael CH/GB CH /DUTCH CH Revloch Figo. 

It was another day to remember for Brendan Nolan and his Dreamjet Whippet team at the Irish Ladies Kennel Association all breed championship show in Dublin on the second weekend of July where the National Show Centre played host to the forward thinking association. It was great to see Stephanie Walsh of the Silveross American Cockers and Shih Tzu out and about to make the Best in Show decisions at the Irish Ladies. Taking the Best in Show win was the Group 10 winner, Brendan Nolan’s Whippet lady CH/INT CH Collooney Candy Floss. 

The weather gods were kind to Sligo and District Canine Club for their show in mid July and Cathrina Dunne awarded Sandra English and Tommy Lawlor’s Belgian imported Smooth St Bernard, CH Parsival Van’t Hof Ten Eynder the BIS rosette. 

The final weekend of July saw the latest chapter for the Munster Agricultural Society all breed championship show which has really set the standard for the big events in the rebel county of Cork. The 2019 championship show kept to the now regular high level expected from this team which is led by one of the world’s most popular and experienced judges/ exhibitors in Ann Ingram. Taking the Best in Show rosette under John R Walsh was the Group 9 winner who had been sent through by toy breed specialist Marco Marabotta, Sean Carroll and James Newman’s Papillon male, ROM CH Oh Lucifer De Cogaion who was handled by Sean while Best in Show 2 was taken by local exhibitors Colm and Rose Hastings and their homebred Old English Sheepdog girl, Raggletaggle Angel’s Share.

At Newtownards and District Canine Club Tony Rainey made the Best in Show decision for Eddie Patterson and the hard working team and topping the entry was the Douglas family’s Labrador Retriever SH CH Talard Cee Three Pee Ohh with BIS 2 going to the Kerry Blue Terrier GB CH Irisblu Aiveen for Newent. 

Munster Circuit 2019 proper kicked off at Clonmel on the Sunday where Mickey Parker judged the finale at the Clonmel and District Canine Club show and her winner was Aisling and Eimear Small’s Dalmatian CH Alioth Moonlight Surprise which proved a very popular win with the ringside audience. 

Tuesday of the Munster Circuit week had the exhibitors in beautiful Killarney at Killarney and District Canine Club’s championship show overlooked by the spectacular ST Mary’s Cathedral where Best in Show judge Sean Delmar awarded the top spot to Gerry and Pauline Clarke’s Irish Wolfhound CH Inara of Shantamon.

It was a great day for the Irish Breeds as there was a great initiative by the club which held a parade in to the venue to celebrate the official recognition by the government of the Irish breeds as part of the living cultural heritage of the country. A real good news story for the Irish show scene and breeders of our native breeds. (PHOTO 33) Irish government Culture Minister Josepha Madigan TD is pictured with IKC President Sean Delmar at the original press conference. 

The Irish Kennel Club ran their Double International shows at the National Show Centre in Dublin on the first weekend of October. These shows are FCI Affiliated shows with FCI judges from across Europe adjudicating over the two days along with a number of UK judges, awarding both Green Stars from the Irish Kennel Club and CACIB’s from the FCI. The second day also had the attraction of a Crufts 2020 Qualifier which was popular with the exhibitors. Former Irish Kennel Club Secretary, Marion Campbell of the Lisvarna Boxers and Boston Terriers had the honour of making the Best in Show decisions on Day 1.

Best in Show under Marion was Sean Carroll and James Newman’s Pomeranian CH Toybox Madam Shalay. Alan Daly and Ken Crockett’s Crufts Best of Breed winning Sealyham Terrier CH/GB CH Forlegd Xlrate Lightning McQueen at Thornberryhall. 

The October IKC International’s Day 2 saw Philomena Leonard make the main award and taking Best in Show was Roy and Lesley Blevins, Jo Bendle and Dione Fitzsimons Basset Hound CH Blevwils Ravishing Rita who was handled to this great success by Dione. 

Jennifer Kealy of the Kealdale Airedales and Irish Soft Coated Wheatens had the pleasure of making the Best in Show decisions at the Bull Breeds all breed championship show in October and it was another Best in Show win for John Minchin, Jayne Edwards, Lyn Appleby and Mary Mulvaney’s top winning Afghan Hound ‘Kayto’, CH / GB CH Davashey To Tell The Truth who was handled by Mary to take the win. This is the team’s third BIS win in 2019.

The year saw the sad passing of three of Ireland’s greatest and most loved show dogs with the departure of Nicky and Ann White’s ‘Homer’, the Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier, Jimmy and Anita Duggan’s ‘Flint’, the Siberian Husky and Monica, Billy and Mags Boardman’s Riley the Crufts group winning American Cocker. All made the headlines with their families during their show careers. 

During the year we also lost Corgi breeder Laura Campion and the inimitable Yorkshire Terrier and Toy specialist Tony Lyons.


With two shows left as I compile this review of the Irish show year, the IKC Dog of the Year title is still undecided so more on that next year. Thank you to the exhibitors and shows in Ireland who have supported OUR DOGS IRELAND during 2019. Onwards and upwards to 2020 where Brexit still lies in wait for us and the uncertainty of what it will mean for the Irish exhibitors and indeed the overseas exhibitors who visit us under IKC rules. Let’s hope that there isn’t too much change for the hobby. 

Thank you to the photographers who have covered the shows throughout 2019 for OUR DOGS IRELAND. 

Paul Scanlon

Read 2745 times Last modified on Friday, 24 January 2020
More in this category: « Combined Canine National 2019

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