Pictured at the opening ceremony of the World Sheepdog Trials are handlers representing Ireland, including members of the team who triumphed during the teams competition on Thursday at Gill Hall Estate, Dromore.

Mayo man on Ireland's World Sheepdog Trials winning team

MADE up of five individuals from across the country, Team Ireland clinched the top spot in the teams competition during the prestigious World Sheepdog Trials, taking place at Gill Hall Estate, Dromore, this week.

Team Ireland consisted of Martin O’Malley, from Keel, Achill, Eamonn Connell, from Mullingar, Allistar Lyttle, from Co. Donegal, Paddy Fanning, Glenealy, Co. Wicklow, and James McCloskey, from Carndonagh in Donegal.

Organised by the International Sheep Dog Society, Team Ireland scored impressively and managed to secure the top prize amid tough competition from over 20 other teams hailing from all corners of the globe, including the United States, Brazil, South Africa and Norway.

Branding their performance as ‘outstanding,’ John McCullough, chairman of the World Trial Committee, said: “The standards shown during the teams competition were extremely high, which means that clinching the title was certainly no mean feat. A huge ‘well done’ to the members of team Ireland on what is a truly momentous achievement.

“Competing on the world stage requires many years of training and it’s fantastic for us to be able to showcase these talented handlers and their highly trained dogs right here in Northern Ireland for the very first time. We have such a rich farming history in this country and for the World Sheepdog Trials to be a part of it, is very special to us as a committee.

“This event is truly the ‘Olympics’ of the sheep dog world and we hope that the thousands of spectators that are set to join us across the week will thoroughly enjoy being able to witness such a great partnership between handler and dog.”

With the conclusion of the teams competition, there’s more excitement to come as the individual competitions will culminate on Saturday (tomorrow) when a World Champion and Young Handler World Champion will be unveiled.