Junior champion, pedigree champion and supreme overall champion at the NI Young Limousin Breeders’ Club Rising Stars Calf Show, was Johnstown Toffee exhibited by Niall Forsythe, Banbridge.
Picture: Kathryn Shaw, Agri-Images

A tremendous show with some exceptionally good cattle was how Scottish judge Stephen Illingworth described the Rising Stars 2023 Calf Show, hosted by the NI Limousin Club and the NI Young Limousin Breeders’ Club

“I’d like to thank the Northern Ireland club for inviting me to judge, and congratulate the exhibitors on a fantastic display of top-quality pedigree and commercial cattle,” said Mr Illingworth, owner of the noted 30-cow Glenrock Herd.

“There were some outstanding animals in every class, but I thought the pedigree females were especially good. In my opinion there were four or five really super heifers that could compete anywhere, and are a credit to their owners.”

Emma Campbell, NI Young Limousin Breeders’ Club, and judge Stephen Illingworth, Lockerbie, congratulate Niall and Keith Forsythe, Banbridge, on winning the supreme overall championship with Johnston Toffee. Picture: Kathryn Shaw, Agri-Images

It was a day to remember for first-time exhibitor Niall Forsythe, and his father Keith, from the Ballybrick Herd, Banbridge, who had a clean sweep in the junior, pedigree and supreme overall championship hurdles.

Their 2023 Rising Stars supreme champion was Johnstown Toffee, an eight-month-old heifer bought privately in December from Chris Johnston, Fivemiletown. She is by the Swarland Eddie son, Jalex Itsallgood – reserve junior interbreed champion at Balmoral Show in May 2014. Her dam is the Emerson daughter, Mountscott Kristina.

The much-admired champion caught the judge’s eye the moment she walked into the showring. “This heifer is really eye-catching, and I just couldn’t take my eyes off her. She is sweet and stylish, and has all the hallmarks of a real cow maker. In my opinion she has the right amount of muscle, not too extreme,” commented Stephen Illingworth.

Claragh Tyson bred by John and Paul Rainey, Kilrea, was the senior champion, reserve pedigree champion and reserve supreme champion at the NI Young Limousin Breeders’ Club’s Rising Stars Calf Show, held at Dunganon. Picture: Kathryn Shaw, Agri-Images

Claiming the day’s reserve overall title was the senior champion and reserve pedigree champion Claragh Tyson, an eleven-month-old bull bred by the father and son team of John and Paul Rainey, Kilrea.

He was sired by the 32,000gns Ampertaine Elgin, and is out of the home-bred Wilodge Vantastic daughter, Claragh Lily – one of four cows in the herd, she was champion at the calf show, and Balmoral Show junior interbreed champion in 2016.

Stephen Illingworth commented: “This is a tremendous young bull. He is really smart, thick, and very correct.”

The May 2022 born Claragh Tigerlily, a full sister to the reserve overall champion, stood first in her class at the Dungannon event.

Stephen Crawford, Maguiresbridge, exhibited the reserve senior champion Rathkeeland Tenndresse. Picture: Kathryn Shaw, Agri-Images

The reserve senior champion was the fourteen-month-old heifer Rathkeeland Tenndresse exhibited by Herbie and Stephen Crawford, Maguiresbridge. She was described by the judge as very showy and feminine; and was reserve overall champion at last year’s National Show in Antrim. Sired by Westpit Omaha, this heifer was bred from the Ampertaine Elgin daughter, Larkhill India – purchased privately from NI Limousin Club chairman Brian McAuley, and son Cahir, Antrim.

The McCartan family from Crossgar, Mark, Mairead, Cait and Sean, were delighted to win the reserve junior championship with their heifer Cranmoney Tess. Picture: Kathryn Shaw, Agri-Images

Mark and Mairead McCartan from Crossgar scooped the reserve junior championship with the eight-month-old Cranmoney Tess. Sired by Claddagh McCabe, her dam is the Foxhill Farm Lordofthering daughter, Cranmoney Redlady – the result of an embryo from Larkhill Grace which was gifted as a wedding present.

This was Mark McCartan’s first time competing in the pedigree Limousin showring. He runs a herd of 15 suckler cows, and is well-known for producing prize winning commercial show calves.

The judge added: “The reserve junior champion is a smart young heifer, and one to watch in the future.”

The Commercial Champion at the NI Young Limousin Breeders’ Club’s Rising Stars Calf Show, held at Dungannon, was Esme, owned by Keith and Stephen Williamson, Benburb. Picture: Kathryn Shaw, Agri-Images

The commercial classes were judged by Ivan Lynn from the Hillside suckler herd in Armoy. He awarded the commercial championship ribbons to a yearling heifer named Esme, exhibited by Keith and Stephen Williamson from Benburb. This home-bred heifer was sired by Elite Forever Brill, and is out of a cross-bred Blue cow.

Ivan Lynn from Armoy judged the commercial classes at the NI Young Limousin Breeders’ Club’s Rising Stars Calf Show, Dungannon. Picture: Kathryn Shaw, Agri-Images

Ivan Lynn said: “The champion is an exceptional heifer with serious width, and good legs. She is really eye catching with the black hair and white flash on her head, and has great locomotion.”

The reserve commercial champion at the NI Young Limousin Breeders’ Club Calf Show, was Boss Man owned by James Alexander, Randalstown. Picture: Kathryn Shaw, Agri-Images

The runner-up was Boss Man, a yearling bullock from James Alexander’s Jalex Herd at Randalstown. A Ballinloan Jaegerbomb son, his dam is a cross-bred Blue cow.

“This is another quality beef animal. He is wide and well-fleshed, and should weigh well,” concluded the judge.

Limousin Rising Stars Calf Show judge Stephen Illingworth from Lockerbie. Picture: Kathryn Shaw, Agri-Images

The young handler classes were judged by Stephen Illingworth. He awarded the championship to the senior class winner, Fergal Gormley from Claudy. Taking the reserve award was the under eighteen competitor Maisie Lee from Moneymore.

Trevor Shields, Kilkeel, and Sam Coleman, Glarryford, were among the spectators at the NI Young Limousin Breeders’ Club’s Rising Stars Calf Show. Picture: Kathryn Shaw, Agri-Images

The Northern Ireland Young Limousin Breeders’ Club is indebted to everyone who contributed to the success of the event. NIYLB chairman Darryl Geary said: “It has been a fantastic day, and I’d like to thank the exhibitors, spectators and members of the parent club for their support. We’ve had a great turnout of youngstock, and it has been a very enjoyable day. Congratulations to the prize winners!

“Special thanks to our judges, and our generous sponsors, without whom this event would not have been possible. Thanks also to the Wylie family for the use of the facilities at Dungannon Farmers’ Mart.”

Results from the showring…


Supreme Overall Champion, sponsored by Whinfellpark Limousins: Keith and Niall Forsythe, Johnstown Toffee. Reserve: John and Paul Rainey, Claragh Tyson.

Senior Champion: John and Paul Rainey, Claragh Tyson. Reserve: Crawford Bros, Rathkeeland Tenndresse.

Junior Champion, sponsored by Harrison and Hetherington: Keith and Niall Forsythe, Johnstown Toffee. Reserve: Mark McCartan, Cranmoney Tess

Pedigree Champion, sponsored by Whinfellpark Limousin: Keith and Niall Forsythe, Johnstown Toffee. Reserve: John and Paul Rainey, Claragh Tyson.

Commercial Champion, sponsored by Fane Valley Stores: Keith and Stephen Williamson, Esme. Reserve: James Alexander, Bossman.

Young handlers

Champion handler: Fergal Gormley. Reserve: Maisie Lee.

Junior handler, between 12 and 18-years-old, sponsored by Firmount Veterinary Clinic – 1, Maisie Lee, Moneymore; 2, Caitlin Kernan, Armagh; 3, Paul Loughran, Cookstown; 4, Conor McDonald, Armagh.

Senior handler, between 18 and 28-years-old, sponsored by NI Young Limousin Breeders’ Club – 1, Fergal Gormley, Claudy; 2, Adam McGookin, Larne; 3, Thomas McAreavey, Ballinderry; 4, Shea Helferty, Emyvale.


Class 1, Senior male, sponsored by British Limousin Cattle Society – 1, Kieran McCrory, Bernish Titanic by Foxhillfarm Ourbest; 2, C and F McAuley, Carmorn Tamnaharry by Bernish Memphis; 3, Paul O’Hare, Valleyfarm Tiktok by Telfers Munster; 4, Crawford Bros, Rathkeeland Tommy by Westpit Omaha.

Class 2, Senior male, sponsored by Walter Watson – 1, John and Paul Rainey, Claragh Tyson by Ampertaine Elgin; 2, Patton Limousins, Carrickananny Timmy by Loyal; 3, Stephen McGookin, Ballycairn Toby by Millburn Limomaclimo; 4, DA Geary and Sons, Montagnevue Tonka by Brooklands Marco.

Class 3, Senior female, sponsored by Jalex Livestock – Crawford Bros, Rathkeeland Tenndresse by Westpit Omaha; 2, C and F McAuley, Carmorn Tigerlily by Bernish Memphis; 3, Caitlin Kernan, Rathkeeland Trudy by Ironstone Gandi; 4, J McKee, Cargaclougher Talent by Westpit Nando.

Class 4, Senior female, sponsored by NI Limousin Cattle Club – 1, Crawford Bros, Rathkeeland Twlight by Plumtree Fantastic; 2, Stephen McGookin, Ballycairn Tara by Millburn Limomaclimo; 3, Ian Robb, Ampertaine Tea by Ampertaine Metric; 4, Stephen McGookin, Ballycairn Tanya by Millburn Limomaclimo.

Class 5, Junior male, sponsored by Elite Pedigre Genetics – 1, James Alexander, Jalex Transform by Huntershall Nutcracker; 2, H and D McFarland, Rahoney Thomas by Ampertaine Majestic; 3, Raymond Savage, Aghadolgan Tomriddle by Lowerffydd Empire; 4, Michael Loughran, Millgate Turbo by Millgate Paul.

Class 6, Junior male, sponsored by A Hyde Stonebridge Feeds – 1, Crawford Bros, Rathkeeland Thelionking by Sauvignon; 2, Niall Quinn, Gallcross Theo by Plumtree Fantastic; 3, Keith and Stephen Williamson, Blackwater Tommy by Trueman Idol; 4, McGurk Bros, Birchwood Turbo by Ampertaine Progressive.

Class 7, Junior female, sponsored by Ulster Farmers’ Union – 1, John and Paul Rainey, Claragh Tigerlily by Ampertaine Eglin; 2, John and Shane McGeehan, Slieve Tasha by Loosebeare Fantastic; 3, Michael Loughran, Millgate Treasure by Carrowreagh Navigator; 4, Oliver McDonald, Doogary Tigerlily by Ampertaine Majestic.

Class 8, Junior female, sponsored by Danske Bank – 1, Niall Forsythe, Johnstown Toffee by Jalex Itsallgood; 2, Mark McCartan, Cranmoney Tess by Claddagh McCabe; 3, Keith and Stephen Williamson, Blackwater Tinkerbell by Trueman Idol; 4, Raymond Savage, Aghadolgan Tills by Claddagh McCabe.

Class 9, Commercial male, sponsored by Mark McKinstry, Ballyaulkin Limousins – 1, James Alexander, Bossman by Ballinloan Jaegerbomb; 2, Robert Miller, Black Magic by Elite Icecream.

Class 10, Commercial female, sponsored by Dovea Genetics – 1, Keith and Stephen Williamson, Esme by Elite Forever Brill; 2, Blain O’Hare, Lolly by Elite Icecream; 3, Mark McKinstry, Razzle Dazzle; 4, Patrick McKee, Noname by Lodge Hamlet.

Class 11, Commercial female, sponsored by IJ Lynn and Sons – 1, JCB Commercials, Dark Diamond by Trueman Idol; 2, James Alexander, Bestie by Elite Icecream; 3, JCB Commercials, Starburst by Trueman Idol.

Class 12, Pair of pedigree Limousins, owned by exhibitor – 1, John and Paul Rainey, Claragh Tyson and Claragh Tigerlily; 2, Michael Loughran, Millgate Turbo and Millgate Treasure; 3, C and F McAuley, Carmorn Tamnaharry and Carmorn Tigerlily; 4, Crawford Bros, Rathkeeland Tenndresse and Rathkeeland Tommy.

Reported by Julie Hazelton