26 September 1997

Irishmans rapid climb to top of trialling tree

THE International Sheep Dog Trials were held in Ireland this year for the first time in the 90 year history of the International Sheep Dog Society.

The course was laid out over the undulating expanse of Thurles Racecourse, Co Tipperary, and as befits the occasion, an Irishman took top honours.

Sheep and cattle farmer Frank Cashen from Screen, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, had only scraped into the Irish team by losing fewer points on the outrun, lift and fetch in the Irish national championships. But at the international he and his very slightly built bitch – five-year-old Jan – were the first to take the field in the qualifying trials and set a standard that no one equalled over the two days.

They were first out again in the final and achieved a score that was not beaten. Each of the judges placed them first.

Franks rise to the top has been speedy indeed. He claims never to have seen a Border Collie five years ago. He started trialling four years ago and is now holder of the 10 trophies, cheques and gifts that go with the supreme championship.

His bitch Jan was sired by Jim Lambs Roy; her dam was Toddy Lambs Kim and the owners received trophies accordingly.

Welsh team member Aled Owen was second and won the McDairmid trophy with Roy. This is awarded for the highest pointed dog bred and handled by the competitor. At the societys dinner the night before, the supreme championship Mr Owen had received the champion of champions award gained also with Roy in a competition staged at four royal shows during the course of the summer.

The sportsmanship award went to Bobby Dalziel and the award for the oldest competitor to Tim Longton.

Fifteen-year-old Martin Feeney of Grange, Co Sligo, received the award for youngest competitor. He is a former young handler competition entrant and was making his first appearance in the national team.

Ann Rogers

International Sheep Dog Trials supreme champion Frank Cashen (holding baby) with Jan, their numerous awards, his extended family and friends.

Above:ISDSsecretary Philip Hendry. Below: Chairman Norman Seamark makes an award to the trial patron, 90 year old Lionel Pennefather, whose efforts ensured Irish membership of the ISDS.