The Lleyn sheep looks set to extend its growing popularity with a foothold in Eire, after the 400gns top price for ewes from the flock of Northern Ireland breeders Fiona and Roly Cunningham of Woodlawn, Killyleagh.

Scrapie status restrictions have hampered the movement of Lleyn sheep over the border, but the Cunninghams’ flock – most of which were genotype 1 and scrapie monitored – got the green light to be exported.

The Cunninghams’ flock, the oldest in Northern Ireland, offered 77 head at its sale at Dungannon Farmers’ Mart and it was Co Louth breeder Mr Shields who gave the day’s top price of 400gns for two ewes as part of a new flock foundation.

The two-year-old ewes were scanned in-lamb to a ram that took the championship at the Castlewellan Show.

They were originally bought as gimmers from leading Scottish flock owner Derek Steen, who sold them at the breed society’s sale at Carlisle.

Three home-bred two-year-old ewes sold to H Murray, Newtownards, Co Down, at 360gns apiece while C Ruttle, Crohne, Co Tipperary, took two pens of two-year-olds at 340gns and 360gns to start a new flock.

The three highest-priced three-year-old ewes were taken at 265gns by B Lattimer, Omagh, with a best for four-year-olds of 210gns sold to Frank Mulgrew, Tubbercurrie, Co Sligo.

Texel breeder M Reid, Ballygowley, Co Tyrone, gave 270gns each for five gimmers scanned with twins.

Ewe lambs reached 160gns for two claimed by Mr Mulgrew for his new flock.

Averages: Ewes 236gns, gimmers 270gns and ewe lambs 135gns.