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It was a happy return to Clonmel Ch Show yesterday, as it hailed the start of the week’s festivities of ‘The Circuit’, for decades the height of the Irish show season and so popular for folk from all over these islands to meet up and share the craic for a full week of shows, sightseeing and sharing news.

So, a good entry for Clonmel, held for the first time in three years, having missed in 2020 and 2021, due to Covid, and they also hit a heatwave such as has not been in Ireland for many, if any years we can remember, though I personally recall days in between shows spent swimming in the Atlantic waves off Banna Beach later in the week when we had all settled in at HQ, then in Tralee.

Margaret Conran O’Gorman, longtime secretary of Clonmel & District Canine Club, called in the ten Group winners to the spacious main ring for Best in Show judge, Madelene Rainey, herself fresh from hosting Coleraine Ch Show just the previous weekend, to crown the 2022 Clonmel Best in Show winner, launching the beginning of the Circuit proper for this year, with GAIN Pet Nutrition returning too as the generous show sponsors the stand manned as ever by Sean Martin, with the familiar faces of Adrian O’Keeffe and Jim Treacy on board too.
Photos: Caroline Reynolds
Report: Joyce Crawford-Manton
Irish Canine Press & RMD Images
Out of the quality line-up Madelene finally chose for her winner the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, Ch & GB Ch Soletrader Pat On The Back, taking his second BIS at successive shows entered, and piloted sympathetically by his co-owner, Cathy Collins-Neill, also thrilling owners Oliver and Erin, son and daughter of breeders Sara and Gavin Robertson.  Just two weeks ago he was Best in Show at Dun Laoghaire Ch Show, held in the lovely setting of Oldbridge House, under this writer, and I was really taken by his great ring presence, sound and stylish movement, lovely breed type and that mischevious twinkle in his eye !!  Pat has become quite a winner since his debut in Ireland at St Patrick’s Day, back in March, where he took BOB and Group 2nd, winning the Group the following day at IKC St Patrick’s International going on to win twelve Green Stars, eleven of those with BOB, eight Group 6 wins, the first of his three BISs was at Kilkenny,  two Reserve BISs at Mid West and CCC National, and a BIS third at Fermoy International. He had won the group at Portadown, but withdrew from the group in a very sporting gesture as the cross channel BIS judge was good friends with his breeders. Clonmel saw him winning both the breed and Group 6  under Lynda Cuthbert Matthews before taking the accolade under Madelene. These latest wins setting him up for not only top Group 6 on the GAIN/IRISH CANINE  PRESS Top Winner’s Leaderboard but takes him currently to Top All Breeds. Across the water, he now has 5 CCs and three group placings, so quite a CV for a little dog with a big personality and attitude, a total showdog and not yet three years old. He is also the very best friend of  certain young lady called Grace Collins who is in the photograph along with ‘Pat’, her Mum Cathy, judge Madelene Rainey and Sean Martin of sponsors, GAIN Pet Nutrition.
Reserve BIS under Madelene was another not unfamiliar with top honours, the precocious little Toy Poodle, Ch Grayco I Zadorable, owned in partnership wit breder Lesley Howard, Mary Coghlan, and Sally Burns who prepares and handled him.  ‘Iza’ was Group 9 winner at CCC International and took the Group and Reserve Best in Show at Fermoy Int., she has had group placings at five other shows to leave her with the points to stand 2nd in the GAIN/IRISH CANINE PRESS Top Winners G9 Leaderboard. Having won Best in Show the previous day at the All Ireland Toy Dog Goup 9 speciality under Aleksander Petrovic, sent in by breed judge Angel Sotoca Santos, from Madrid.  ‘Iza’ was to meet Aleksander Petrovic, Poodle and Shar Pei breed specialist from Belgrade, again next day at Clonmel as he was the breed judge that put her through to win the Group under Irene Grant. It was also good to see co-owner, Mary Coghlan there to share the celebrations.

For her third Best in Show rosette, Madelene chose the smart little Cairn Terrier, this a breed which seldom reaches the pinnacle of the group for some unaccountable reason. Owned and bred by Leanne Alexander, GB Ch Coharra Be More, another not yet three years old and having, like the winner and Reserve, spent his Junior and Intermediate classes languishing at home due to covid, proved to be the one to put the breed on the map with it’s highest result for quite some time, and he is now sixth on the G3 GAIN/IRISH CANINE PRESS Top Winner’s Leaderboard having also had a Group 3rd at Newtownards. Angel Sotoca Santos, Spanish terrier specialist, was the breed and group judge who sent him through to the main ring. It was Paula Hamilton who handled ‘Sid’ to his successes on the day for Leanne, so there were smiles all round for Sid’s successes at home to add to his four CCs, all with BOB under KC London rules. Sean Martin represents sponsors, Gain Pet Nutrition in the photo which also features BIS judge Madelene Rainey, Leanne and Paula.

Fourth BIS went to Grainne Keeling, wth her homebred Alaskan Malamute, Ch Kishdigra Smooth Operator, currently fourth on the well contested Gain/ICP Group 5 Leaderboard, with points gained from group placings at Celtic Winners, Mid West, South Tipp and Newtownards as well as a previous win and BIS fourth at Portadown. Clonmel saw him win BOB under Paul Scanlon who later gave him his group win and thus his ticket to the big ring.
Whether the Kerry Beagle originated, as legend would have it, from Noah’s Ark when it came to rest against Galteemore Mountain in the Golden Vale in Tipperary, when two black and tan hounds picked up the scent of a fox and leapt off the Ark in hot pursuit, never to be seen again, or did they swim ashore to the West coast of Ireland from the Spanish Armada in 1588 ? Or did they come from France with the Ryan family of Scarteen, who have hunted a pack of Kerry Beagles for over four hundred years, along with their cousin, Daniel O’Connell, ‘The Great Liberator’, one time parliamentarian, being an MP for Clare and Dublin in the early 1800’s, also Lord Mayor of  Dublin, and campaigner for emancipation and the Repeal of The Act of Union, who hunted on horseback with the Scarteen hunt in the Hills of Kerry around Kenmare, Killaney, Caherciveen and Waterville. The Ryans were responsible for the survival of the breed during the years of Great Famine between 1845-49 and the breed is still hunted with the family to this day. It was John Ryan of Scarteen, born in 1871, who scoured the countryside of Clare, Tipperary and Kerry for suitable bloodlines to keep the original black and tan hounds that he loved pure and without foxhound blood, and the results of this careful breeding were passed on to his son, Thady, and latterly to his son, Chris, who looks after the Scarteen pack to this day.  Which ever you would chose, facts are that the first written pedigrees of this most rare of Ireland’s nine native breeds, were in 1794, and most Kerry Beagles now can trace their lines back to the original Scarteen dogs. The Kerry Beagle went to America with Irish immigrants, and those early canine immigrants are believed to be one of the foundation breeds for the modern-day Coonhound.

More recently,the breed has attracted enthusiasts from the show fraternity with a determination to have the Kerry Beagle recognised as the ninth breed of Ireland, and with constant work and dedication from just a few, they finally achieved recognition by the Irish Kennel Club in 1991, which is now pushing to have them recognised Internationally by the F.C.I.

And, so it was that a new chapter in the history of the Kerry Beagle, Ireland’s most ancient breed, was written in St Brendan’s  College Sportsfield, overlooked by the stately spire of St Mary’s Cathedral in the centre of Killarney, when the first ever Kerry Beagle took Best in Show at Killarney All Breed Champonship show on Tuesday, 16th August 2022, some 400 years after the breed was first acknowledged in Ireland, and hunted the hills of Kerry, Clare and Limerick and it was Frank Byrne’s dog, ‘Paddy’, show name Champion Ravensring Diancecht, who took the accolade.

In Irish mythology, Diancecht was the great healer of the Tuatha Dé Danann, a magical race with supernatural powers. They represented ancient Ireland, for they were the people who lived in Pre-Christian Ireland for centuries. Diancecht had the ability to restore the dead to life so long as the person's head was intact. He could also replace lost limbs with ones made of silver. He was the progenitor of a clan of extremely powerful and highly skilled healers….

Frank and Paddy have attended as many shows as they possibly could, great ambassadors for the breed for the last four years or so, competing in the showring, sometimes alone, but determined to promote the breed to as many as possible, and they are now a popular duo on the show scene, Paddy taking high honours in groups over several years, and he has been Junior Champion, Annual Champion from 2018 taking his Celtic Winner and CJW titles in 2019.  He was bred by Mike O’Dwyer and Mike Irving, his dam being Errigal Princess who was CJW and CW in 2016, these two gentlemen who have put so much into the present day Kerry Beagle and getting it recognised, and this win today must give them the greatest satisfaction, seeing he breed come so far.  So far this year, ‘Paddy’ has taken Group third at Combined National, Portadown and Newtownards, won the Group and was BIS fourth at South Tipp, the first time a Kerry Beagle had taken the group, and now, with his BIS, he is second on the GAIN Pet Nutrition/ Irish Canine Press Top Group 6 Leaderboard. No mean feat and proof that hard work and dedication does pay off in the end…….
In second spot under Cathy Loughlin, well known for her Rohanmor Irish Setters, was Amanda Payne’s Boxer bitch, homebred Willow I’m a Celebrity, handled to her wins on the day by fellow Boxer enthusiast, Paul Keenan. Home bred ‘Holly’ is following in the footsteps of her Grandsire, Paul and Darren’s ‘Harry’ , aka Ch Walkend Boy at Bessbox, who was Best in Show at Killarney under John Bond back in 2012, so another bit of canine history. She has been swapping Green Stars with her younger kennelmate, Amanda’s Willow Sparks Will Fly, and today, following a change of judge, ‘Holly’ took both the breed and the Group under John Walsh (Sen) who stepped in to cover Serbian judge, D Babic, who was unable to judge.

Third in the BIS line-up was the Irish Setter, Lindsey Dewar’s GB Sh & SP Ch Gwendariff Willy Wont He, CW.22 and WW in ‘20. Bred and handled by breeder, Diane Stewart Ritchie, he started his’Irish’ career in fine style, taking BIS at the Irish Kennel Club’s Celtic Winners International back in March under Gundog specialist, Angela Hancock, following the next day with Reserve BIS, this time under All Breeds judge Cathy Delmar He returned some months, and eighteen shows later, to take his second BIS, this time at Newtownards under Group seven specialist, Ger Philpott, again handled by  Diane, and he was also Group winner at Coleraine, just two weeks ago. These wins give him the second spot in Group 7 on the GAIN Pet Nutrition/Irish Canine Press Leaderboard.

Cathy Loughlan gave the BIS 4 rosette to another top winner, the Maltese Ch & GB Ch Ray Wonder of Love, owned by Jason McMorrow and Fergal Martin, and handled to his multitude of successes here and across the water by Jason. ‘Ray’ is bred by Thorsten Sankowski, and has now, if my maths is correct, six CCs since March in GB, plus eight group wins leading to Best in Show at Munster Canine under Simon Rooney after the Group under Gail Patterson, and Coleraine under Stephen Minogue, with the group earlier under David Walsh. He was Reserve Best in Show at Clonmel, just two days previously with further BIS placings including BIS 4 at Mid West and Combined National. That, added to his other groups and group placings makes him Top of the Group 9 GAIN Pet Nutrition/Irish Canine Press Leaderboard and second overall all breeds !!
Killarney was sponsored by HAPPY DOG

Photos
: Caroline Reynolds & Alex Douglas
Report: Joyce Crawford-Manton
Irish Canine Press & RMD Images
Tralee & District Canine Club has long been the finale of the Munster Circuit, the week long feast of dogs and shows with a sprinkling of holidaying in between, and way back it coincided with the famous Rose of Tralee festival and I remember at the Army Barracks in Tralee, the Roses arriving at the show in all their finery, later making an appearance at the show when it moved to the School in the centre of town. I don’t recall them visiting more than once when the show moved out to Tralee Rugby Club, but I believe that the dates didn’t fall in with the show then.Memorable at the rugby club were the wonderful pastries and pies produed by the ladies who catered, apple and blackberry pie with lashings of cream being a popular Tralee breakfast, in our tent anyway !!!

It must be circa fifteen years now since Tralee finally made their home in Castleisland, at the The Riocht Athletic Grounds as I just came upon the report from 2010, and they were well established then; incidentally, they enjoyed an entry of 1,755 dogs that year, things have certainly changed over the years in the dog world!! This is an excellent venue a fair distance up from Tralee and a head start on the run to Limerick and homewards for most, or towards Thurles for the Gundog group shows the next day. This year the rain stayed away and the show finished in good time, always pleasing exhibitors who really do want to head home as house bookings end on the Saturday morning, and it is the end of a long week for them and their dogs. Maudie and Ned Burke have been working hard for well over thirty years to make the end of the circuit a pleasant experience for everyone and this year was no exception with a warm Kerry welcome and smiling goodbyes.
Best in Show this year was judged by Elizabeth Caminade-Lavault, from Zambia, and her choice fell to David and Morag Connolly’s beautifully presented Border Collie, Huntly Dark Oreo, a daughter of their top winning ‘Roo’, Ch & GB & Int Sh Ch Nahrof Blurred Lines at Huntly,  "Roo" is a spectacular bitch, imported from Australia, who waswinning the IKC Dog of the Year finals back in 2017 and taking the CC, BOB and Group at Crufts 2018, amongst her many wins. Her daughter, ‘Cookie’ was a ‘covid ‘ puppy, born in November 2019, so at two and a half she is following in her Dam’s pawprints, with her first Best in Show already under her belt. On the day she won her sixth Green Star and has already several group placings as she was Group 4th at  Munster International under Johan Andersson from Sweden, taking 3rd the next day at Munster National under Peter Berchtold.  She was also Group 2nd at Dun Laoghaire under Karen Gilliland.
Reserve BIS went to the Petite Basset Griffon Vendeen, Ch & GB Ch Soletrader Pat On The Back, Best in Show at Clonmel under Madelene Rainey at the start of the week  and also at Dun Laoghaire a couple of weeks ago under Joyce Crawford-Manton. Owned by Cathy Collins-Neill and Oliver and Erin Robertson with a silent partner in Grace Collins, ‘Pat’ has really established himself as one of the stars of the Irish Show scene this year and for more of his wins scroll down for our Clonmel report .

Josh Henderson handled his and Liv Timms’ French Bulldog, Olijah Cut To The Chase, to BIS 3, well named for a regular visitor from across the water who decided that he was going to show a clean pair of heels to his kennelmate, Olijah Total Knockout; Togo has made his presence felt on his visits, winning the Group and BIS 4 at the IKC International Celtic Winners in March, Group 4th at Mid West, Group 2nd at Combined International at Easter, Group 4th at Kilkenny and he was back for Munster Ag International where he was second in the Group. But Chase decided to go one better and, after a practise run at Sligo with a Group fourth, he went for the big time, winning Group 9 at Limerick under Michael Forte before clinching third BIS, an award well worth waiting for and a challenge now put up to Togo.

BIS 4 was Lindsey Dewar’s Irish Setter, GB Sh Ch & Sp Ch Gwendariff Willy Wont He, had enjoyed tremendous success since his first visit to Ireland this year in March, and today was no exception,when he followed up his Reserve BIS at Killarney (see details below) just two days ago, then piloted by breeder, Diane Stewart-Ritchie who is his usual handler, but today handled by Lindsey herself, as Diane was judging at Welsh Kennel Club.
The show was sponsored by HAPPY DOG

Photos
: Caroline Reynolds
Report: Joyce Crawford-Manton
Irish Canine Press & RMD Images
The popular Limerick Ch Show, held in the grounds of the Fitzgerald’s Woodlands Hotel since the committee sourced it as their new venue back in 1999, was as popular as ever this year, albeit with a slightly lower entry than three years ago, as is now becoming the norm following the disruption caused by Covid, and now the raising cost of fuel, and living. However, this well drilled, cohesive committee had the show set up in style as ever and with secretary, Laura Cox, in the office, Anthony Kelly in the fenced main ring, microphone in hand, running the stakes and groups, and their hard working committee around the venue, things went like a well tuned engine, such is the professional  routine of the committee, each member, blazer on, knowing exactly what his/her job was, and carrying it out. We believe that this was the last year that Limerick will hold their show at this venue, which they have made their own for so long. Instead they will, we believe, be returning to Limerick Racecourse where, many of those a while in dogs, will find a familiar hunting ground.
One man that will be particularly thrilled will be Bill Patterson, German Shepherd enthusiast for many decades, whose young male, Milo, took Best in Show under Johnny Muldoon, piloted by Seamus Brophy. Kelnik Emiliano, bred in England by Bill Owen and Brigid Fahy-Newlands, is by Chili Della Valcuvia ex  Ursula delle Faimme Nere, and born in November 2019, and was another up and comimg youngster who obviously missed out his apprenticeship in the ring due to covid.  However, he has been steadily collecting Green stars from shows such as IKC Celtic Winners International where he added Celtic Winner ‘22, to his name, also taking the Green Stars at Combined International and Combined National the following day with another GS & BOB at Kilkenny, all these won from Adult or Open class. Today he had earlier won the breed and Group under Colette Muldoon and I believe that Milo only needs two Green Stars now for his Irish crown.
Diane Stewart Ritchie made a quick turnaround from her judging trip to Welsh Kennel Club, to take back the reins of ‘Howie’, the Irish Setter; GB Sh Ch & Spanish Ch Gwendariff Willy Wont He, piloting him not only to clinch his Irish crown on the day under breed judge Eamon Murray, best known for his top winning Heathergrove Beagles, and group judge, Cybel Alford of the Cristate TT,s, but Reserve BIS under Johnny Muldoon. ‘Howie’ has had a great circuit, in the top four at three of the four shows with BIS third at Killarney,  BIS fourth at Limerick and now Reserve Best in Show today. A great record and a fairytale week for owner Lindsey Dewar, who has definitely had a rub of the ‘Luck of the Irish’ on her trips here so far in 2022 with two BISs, IKC CW Int & Newtownards and a RBIS at IKC St Patrick’s Int.

Philip Behan has been a Chow Chow aficionado for more years than I can remember and enjoyed great success over the years and his current show dog, Spanish import Ch Finn McCool De Los Perros De Bigo At Mingfield, bred by Nuria and Raquel Vigo Navajon, is no exception. Already a CC winner, Finn took BIS at the Chow Chow Club of Wales last year where he was BIS, and at home he tops the Group 5 GAIN/Irish Canine Press Top Winners’ Leaderboard courtesy of his Best in Show at Mid West, Reserve BIS at Newtownards, multiple groups and placing, including two group wins on the circuit. BIS three here under Johnny Muldoon, Finn finished his Circuit 2022 on a high note.

Johnny chose for is BIS fourth rosette ‘Pat’ the Petite Basset Griffon Vendeen. Ch & GB Ch Soletrader Pat On The Back, owned and handled by Cathy Collins-Neill in partnership with Oliver and Erin Robertson, another who tops his group and is currently top overall on theLeaderboard. Pat has had a packed year so far, with 3 Best in Shows at Kilkenny, Dun Laoghaire, and Clonmel, Reserve BIS at Mid West, Combined National and Limerick just two days ago. BIS 3 at Fermoy International with group wins at both IKC Celtic Winners and St Patrick’s International, and Portadown, all add up to give him the top score all breeds to date on GAIN Pet Nutrition/Irish Canine Press Top Winners’ Leaderboard. His best friend, Grace, just had to get in on the act and is pictured here with Pat and her Mum, Cathy, and of course, judge, Johnny Muldoon.
Photos: Caroline Reynolds
Report: Joyce Crawford-Manton
Irish Canine Press & RMD Images
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