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69th Irish Game Fair and Fine Food Festival at Shanes Castle Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th June 22.


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69th Irish Game Fair and Fine Food Festival at Shanes Castle Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th June 22.

After the long boring days of Covid out of the darkness a bright shinning light shoots over the County Antrim countryside. Yes the news had reached the country sports fraternity that the Irish Game Fair 2022 was back in town. The Irish Game Fair and Fine Food Festival is not only Ireland's premier Game Fair and Country Sports Event, but also one of Ireland's most exciting and action packed 2 days out for the whole family. 

Shanes Castle, Co Antrim was the magnificent venue for last week ends  activities.  This Castle is steeped in history, sitting on the north-east shores of Lough Neagh, and built in 1345 by a member of the O'Neill dynasty. It was here in the shadow of the historical Green Glens of Antrim, thousands of visitors from north and south of the border and further afield came to view the challenges for the sporting elite, and to partake in the many areas of Country sports.

The Game Fair provided a vast array of sporting interests, from Clay pigeon Shooting, Gun Dogs, Angling, Fishing,   Fine Foods of all categories, including delicious varieties of local produce, with  the main arena providing nonstop entertainment all day.   

 Despite the inclement weather it was time for some retail therapy. Although the weather was not kind to us, it did not damper the spirits of the Country Sports people as we strolled around at our leisure visiting the many stands, ice cream vans, and spoke to many friends along the way. 

 It was a whole new world to be able to stop and speak to old canine friends I had not seen since 2019 like Concepta O Goan, Helen Hunter and  Stevie Graham. All good friends and great Country Sports people.

As our legs got weary, and our money all spent, it was time to head back for the Master Mc Grath and Mick The Millar racing competition. For many doggie folk this is the yearly highlight of their canine world at Shanes Castle. 

Some excitement on the course when Michael Mc Graths dog Calypso pipped the post in the Master Mc Grath final and Adam O Riordans dog  Joey won the Mick the Millar.    

 After a great days excitement at the racing on Saturday, Sunday was a new day for Ferrets, Terrier Maze, Dog Show and 5 Nations. 

***Here are the Overall Showing Results. (Courtesy  of Kieran Young )***

All Ireland Champion Lurcher:

Johnny Hunter with Rex

All Ireland Champion Terrier:

Paul Mc Keown with Mick

ALL Ireland Champion Whippet :

Sean Burke with Jack

Overall Puppy Champion :

Suzanne Addis with Jax

IWTF All Ireland Terrier Champion

JP O Hagan with Ronnie

Terrier Maze Champion

 Jed Donagh with PIP

Ferret Champion

Lee Brooks with Bear and Rabbit

Overall Supreme and All Ireland Champion, Shanes Castle 2022 went to :

 Sean Burke with Jack

Reserve

Johnny Hunter with Rex. 

Five Nations Whippet Champion Shanes Castle 2022 went to:

Dermot Lawless with pip

 Reserve

Suzanne Addis with Willow

Five Nations Lurcher Champion Shanes Castle 2022 went to:

JP O Hagan with Tyson

Reserve

Maurice Mc Dowell with Bear

Five Nations Terrier Champion Shanes Castle 2022 went to:

Chloe Mc Keown with Mick

Reserve

Aimee Agnew with Toby

A Big congratulations to all above winners.

***Racing Results ( Courtesy of Biddy Mc Grath)***

Master Mc Grath

Michael Mc Grath with Calypso

Reserve

Jimmy Reilly with Jess

Mick The Millar 

Adam O Riordan with Joey

Reserve

Michael Mc Grath with Stella

Over  25s…Eddie Kane with Duke 

Under 25s…Conor Nolan with Jolie Under 24s…Shane Brett with Rose Under 23s Elite Lindsay Gardner Magill with Briar 

Under 23s… Non Elite Matthew Fennelly with Leela

Under 22s… Yapper Hayes with Jess Under 21s… Patsy McCoy with Dallas Bull Cross Heavy… Maurice Mc Dowell with Bear 

Bull Cross light…Jimmy Reilly with Lady 

Whippets…Sean Burke with Jack Tagged Greyhound… Joyce Scott with Gypsy 

Dogs that have never won a Race Maurice Mc Dowell with Storm 

Dogs that never won a race Under 23s Vanessa Lynn with Arthur 

All too soon the Game Fair came to a close on Sunday evening. Despite the terrible weather, the books have shown record crowds again this year on both days at Shanes Castle. This Game Fair was run with and under the guidance of people who are passionate about Country Sports.

And Finally, May I take this opportunity to thank the Judges on the day for a job well done. 

Lisa Dumigan/ Jim Dalton/Sean Kelly/John Ryan/Glen Doherty/Pauric Mc Kenna  

Niall O Cloghan with his Terrier Maze and Davy Downey with the Ferretts really brought excitement and laughter to the Game Fair, Stephen Mc Gonagle (Long Netter) with his brilliant arena demo and interviews, that is what we want right now. Brilliant guys and may it continue for many years to come.

The highlight of my weekend came on Sunday when Kieran Young announced that our good friend of many years Errol Gardiner had been selected for The Collette Gannon Memorial Cup for a lifetime in Country Sports and Country Sportsman of the year. Well done Errol and well deserved.

Many thanks to the Mc Grath Racing team for a great days racing at Shanes Castle on Saturday. Michael, Jack, Terry, Matthew, Paddy, and Anthony, you set the place a light with your professionalism at every stage in the racing.

What can I say about Kieran Young our show Director with his many years of experience in the Canine world. Everything went like clockwork Kieran as expected in the Lurcher, Terrier and Whippets rings. Kieran was assisted by his partner Ellie O Connor , Alex and Joanne Young, and their brilliant team of helpers in organising and running the Showing at Shanes Castle so effective and efficiently this year. A lot of hard work went in but it all paid off in the end, and was a credit to you and your team. 

Deidre Knipe Mc Coy, Billy Harpur, myself, and Jim Masson were there with our cameras and phones, recording every ones moment of glory.

And Finally, Finally, major investment over the last number of years by the Great Game Fairs of Ireland team has seen its Fair at Shanes Castle developed to a stage where it is unchallenged in the domination of its sector within the Irish Market place. The Game Fair at Shanes Castle has impeccable credentials, and annually attracts more than 25,000 people to the region, delivering a timely boost to tourism and an opportunity for town and country to come together to celebrate and enjoy the craic, along with some of our finest Country Sports and traditions.

 None of this would be possible without the man of the moment and his brilliant team of helpers. Albertj Tittering , it is you I am writing about again this year. You are definitely the” King of the Castle,” and you and your good wife Irene are in a league of your own. What can I say to describe two kind , thoughtful and generous people, that has given their life for the good of Country sports and all the good causes that goes with it. 

Our lifes have been enriched with the excellent work and enjoyment you give to many families across the country, through your Game Fair. Over the years you have brought a creative marketing flair, vast event organisation, a wealth of experience, and a lifetime's commitment to the promotion and enjoyment of all Countrysports. 

Albert and Irene you are a shining example in the Country Sports world, it is an honour to be your friend, and long may you continue in the Canine world and the world of Country Sports.

Thank you for a weekend full of joy and excitement, and above all a great window for Country Sports.

 

Margaret Mc Stay

Edited by appleblossom
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