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URBA Show & Sale of Rams - Ballymena

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averages: Perth-type – 48 shearling rams at £956.38 (-£104.12 for three less); 83 ram lambs, £1436.86 (+£211.59 for 21 fewer). South-type – 234 shearling rams £1206.38 (-£46.92 for two less); 98 ram lambs at £2199.86 (-£314.38 for 16 fewer).

Strong demand for the top end of Blackface tups at the Ulster Ram Breeders’ Association show and sale at Ballymena on Monday 3rd October, saw no fewer than 11 five-figure prices complete with a 28,000gns top.

The sale, which comprises north or Perth-type rams, and south-type, also saw most of the section leaders sell across the Irish Sea to Scotland, to include the dearest.

This was a ram lamb from Oliver and Sean Brannigan’s Glenbeg flock from Dungannon, who enjoyed a cracking trade with others at 12,000gns and 4400gns.Oliver aBrannigan's 28,000gns sale lead

Their pen leader, an AI son of a £30,000 Loughash lamb sold at Lanark in 2018 to Northern Ireland breeders, is bred from a Dalwyne female by a £22,000 Dalchirla lamb. He goes out to work at Dalwyne, Barr, having been purchased by David Morrison.

Dalwyne ewes by a £22,000 Dalchirla was also the dams of the 12,000gns and 4400gns Glenbeg lambs. The former, purchased by Charlie Harkin, The Rock; Damien McSwiggan, Gortin; JJ McAlister, Glendun, Cushendall and Christie McHenry, Ballycastle, is a son of the £12,000 Rock tup sold at Lanark in 2020.

Eoin McKenna’s Tullykeeran shearling consignment from Maghera, had a long wait but was well rewarded with a 19,000gns top bid and another at 4400gns.

Star attraction here was a son of a £15,000 Elmscleugh tup that arrived in utero of an Auldhouseburn ewe by a £160,000 Elmscleugh, owned by young Cahir McGilligan. He sold the tup last year to Mr McKenna, who this year resold him for 19,000gns to Lanarkshire breeders, Alistair and David Mcarthur, Nunnerie, and the Wights at Midlock; with Ian Hunter, Dalchirla, Crieff, taking a third share.

Charlie Philips and his daughter, Christine, Finglen, Draperstown, also came up with the goods taking £15,000 for a son of the same £22,000 Dalchirla lamb bought at Dalmally in 2019. Bred from a ewe by a £400 Dalwyne, he was bought by M McDermott, Omagh, Co Tyrone.

Veronica and Patrick Fullerton, also from Draperstown, had a great day with shearlings to 11,000gns and ram lambs to 6000gns and 4000gns. Ewen Macmillan, Lurg, Fintry, bought the dearest which is a full embryo brother to the 26,000gns lamb sold last year to Allanfauld and Arnicle and the 11,000gns lamb to Loughash. A son of the £18,000 Allanfauld purchased in Dalmally in 2020, his dam is by the £30,000 Loughash.

Another four south-type lambs made 10,000gns or more, with James McCurdy’s Correen flock from Broughshane, selling two of those.

Dearest at 16,000gns when selling three ways to John Murray, Crossflatt, and Hugh and Alan Blackwood, Auldhouseburn, both Muirkirk, and Correen was a lamb by a home-bred son of Commanche – a Charlie Boy son bought privately from Auldhouseburn. The dam is by Crossflatt Moonraker, a son of Tornado.

Mr McCurdy’s 10,000gns lamb bought by Stewart McIlwaine again with a share retained, is by the £22,000 Crossflatt lamb bought last year at Dalmally.

Co Donegal breeder, Karl McElhinney, Glenmore Estate, was also rewarded from some huge investment in Blackface sheep in recent years, taking 10,000gns for a son of a £24,000 Dalchirla lamb bought last year at Dalmally. John Harkin, Loughash, was the final bidder.

Matching that sale was a lamb from Brian and Conor Devine, Stroanbrack, Donemana, purchased by Mickey and Kevin McAleer, Carrickmore. Their sale topper is by a £10,000 Elmscleugh bought as a lamb last year at Dalmally with The Rock, out of a £30,000 Loughash-sired dam.

This year’s event also saw a 14,000gns centre record for a north-type shearling, selling in a three-way split to Archie and Ben McKinnon of Cadogan Estates’ Auchnacloich, Amulree; Matthew Hamilton, Woolfords, West Calder and David Baillie, Calla, Carnwath.

The tup, from Sam Adams’ 700-ewe flock from Broughshane, was initially selected reserve shearling at the pre-sale show judged by Steven Smith, Scarhill. Reserve at Ballymena, he is by an 850gns Mark Smyth that goes back to a Tombreckachie tup, while the dam is by a 550gns Conway.

Mr Adams then bought the champion shearling at 5000gns from Mark and Russell Smyth, Macosquin, Coleraine. The breeding behind this transaction includes a £1500 Hillhead of Mornish bought at Stirling and a ewe by an Andy Hunter-bred tup lamb.

Ben McKinnon, shepherd at Auchnacloich, who judged the ram lambs, bought the lead priced entry in this section at 10,000gns. This was a lamb from 20-year-old Sean Og McCusker, Castlewellan, who sold a son of a 950gns Billy Grant-bred ram sold last year here out of a ewe by a 220gns McEvoy.

Second top priced north lamb at 9500gns was Michael Smyth’s No 2 from Limavady, purchased by Tom Adams, Rathkenny. Second prize lamb and fourth in the overall line-up, he is by a 900gns Conway bought at Plumbridge, and out of a ewe by an £1100 shearling ram bought from Alan Petrie.

Just behind, on 9000gns, Paul McEvoy, Cairnhill, sold his reserve champion lamb, by the £6000 Woolfords lamb bought last year at Stirling, to Sam Adams. The dam, a former show ewe by a 2000gns Cloughfin, has bred sons to 6500gns, 5000gns and 3800gns.

Auctioneers: Ballymena Livestock.


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