5th October 2020
Averages: South-type 190 shearling rams, £1090.62 (+£303.27 for 25 fewer sold); 63 ram lambs, £2343.67.(+£1094.53 for four more). North-type 33 shearling rams, £1076.73 (+£458.89 for five fewer); 88 ram lambs, £1226.00 (+£2.43 for 22 more).
Auctioneers JA McClelland and Sons
A new centre record of 30,000gns was achieved at the Ulster Ram Breeders' Association two-day sale of North and South-type Blackface rams at Ballymena, when a lamb from James McCurdy, Broughshane, sold to three Scottish flocks.
Surpassing the previous best of 25,000gns paid for a shearling ram from Brendan McAllister, was a south-type lamb from Mr McCurdy's 300 Blackie ewe flock which runs alongside 250 Wicklow Cheviot ewes.
Backed by Muirkirk genetics on both sides, the 30,000gns record breaker is by a home-bred son of Auldhouseburn Charlieboy, a tup bought privately, and bred from a gimmer by Moonraker a Crossflatt lamb by John Murray's Tornado a home-bred son of a £160,00 Dalchirla retained for breeding.
Buying back some of their own genetics, he sold to Hugh and Alan Blackwood, Auldhouseburn and John Murray, Crossflatt, with Archie and John MacGregor, Allanfauld, Kilsyth taking a third share.
A cracking trade for south-type lambs resulted in four lots selling at five-figure prices with a second top price of 18,000gns paid by David Morrison, Dalwyne, Barr, for the pen leader from Colm McAteer, a bricklayer to trade with just 150 ewes in his flock from Dromore, Co Down.
Well and truly surpassing his previous best of 2600gns in 2017, was a son of a £3100 Lurgan that was by a £15,000 Crossflatt which the dam was bred from a Crossflatt son of a £160,000 Dalchirla.
It was nevertheless Veronica and Patrick Fullerton's 80-ewe flock from Draperstown, that enjoyed the best of the day's trading with ram lambs to 12,000gns and 5000gns and shearling rams to 8000gns and 3800gns.
The 12,000gns lamb is by a £24,000 Elmscleugh lamb and bred from last year's Omagh Show champion, by a £5000 Loughash. He sold to the McEldowneys from Slaughtneil with the Fullertons retaining an equal share.
The couple's 5000gns lamb, purchased by Donal Breslin and Dessie Cunningham, is by a £24,000 Loughash and out of 8000gns Loughash ewe purchased at the in-lamb sale at Lanark.
Their lead shearling which was purchased by Frankie and Kevin McCulloch; Davie and Jock Jackson, Donald McVicar, Lephinchapel, Chris Toner and Peter Morgan also boasts Loughash genetics on both sides being bred from a 6000gns ewe bought from John Harkin at the female sale at Lanark, and sired by Martell, a full brother to the £45,000 Loughash.
Also hitting the magical five-figure price at 10,000gns was Karl OMullan's lead lamb from Glenbuck, a son of a £5000 High Staward, bred from a Dyke Starbuck ewe. He sold to Seamus Fegan, Castlewellan with Mr O Mullan retaining a half share.
Matching the 8000gns top bid amongst the south-type shearlings was the best from Damian McSwiggan, Gortin, purchased by E and P McCormick, The Grove, Cushendun, Co Antrim. He is by a 30,000 Loughash and out of ewe by Auldhousburn Joco.
Two shearlings came under the hammer for 5400gns with the first, by a £22,000 Dalchirla, from Oliver Brannigan, Glenbeg, selling to Michael Ketch, Southern Ireland.
John McCalmont, Deerpark Farms, also received the same money from Robert Davidson, Gleno, Larne.
North-type sheep sold on the second day, also met a buoyant trade with averages up on the year and a top price of 8500gns paid for Thomas Harkin's lead lamb, from Loughash, Donemana, where he runs 50 north-type ewes and a similar number of south-type females.
Mr Harkin, an animal nutritionist to trade, led the way with a son of last year's champion, a 3800gns Paul McEvoy, out of a ewe by an £800 Croughley. The buyer was David Baillie, Calla, Carnwath.
That same sire was behind a 6000gns lamb from Paul McEvoy, Kilcoo, purchased by Brian Curran, JG McDermott and Cloughfin. His dam is by a 1000gns Brian Curran.
Another from the same home made 5000gns selling to Tom and Joe Adams, Rathkenny. He is by Charlie Harkin's 4200gns lamb sold at Ballymena in 2019.
Second top price amongst the North sheep was 7500gns paid for a lamb from Sam Adams. He is by last year's champion lamb at the Stirling, a £2800 Eastmill bought in partnership with James Carson, while the dam is by an £1800 Chamberwells.
Brother Tom Adams and his son Joe, who run 200 ewes and a dairy herd, were also in the money with tup lamb sales at 5000gns and 4800gns for sons of last year's £10,000 Woolfords bought at Stirling. The dearest, bred from a ewe by a 2900gns Mark Smyth, sold to Mark Smyth, Cam, while the 4800gns, out of a ew by a 3800gns Alex Knox, was bought by Matthew Hamilton, Woolfords, South Cobbinshaw.
Superceding those two sales, Brian Wharry, Glenarm, sold a lamb at 5500gns to James Fegan.
Mark and Russell Smyth's Cam flock topped the north-type shearling rams at 5500gns and 5000gns with both being sons of the £7500 Auchnacloich tup bought at Stirling. The former, bred from a ewe by the home-bred Robin tup, which goes back to an £1800 Eastmill, sold to Gerard Breslin, Cronkeeran, Arora, Co Donegal.
The latter, bred from a 2800gns Tom Daly-sired ewe, was knocked down to AC Carmichael, Dungiven.
Matching that 5000gns bid was the best from brother William Smyth's flock from Limavady, purchased by Cathal Breslin, Congeran, Arora, Co Donegal. He is by a Carson-bred son of a Craigneich sire.