Day 1

Results during the day can also be accessed at


Reports from the field by Suzy Woolston.


8.30: It's a misty morning in Ireland, but the field is clear enough to start on time. An undulating stubble field provides the setting for this International. The field drops down to the right with more space available for the right hand outrun of approx 500 yards. The outrun to the left is bordered by a fence running up to the dry stone wall at the top of the field. The sheep are released onto the field through a gate in the top fence. The fetch line drops into a small dip before the gates. After the gates, the ground drops down again, out of sight to the spectator with the sheep disappearing until nearly at the post. A right hand drive sees the drive line drop down in the dip before rising back before the gates. The cross drive has a steady climb across the field. The shedding ring is partially out of sight of the spectator and its perimeter is marked by plastic bottles. The pen, set on the left, means the sheep have to be driven up from the ring to the pen.

9.00: There is already a grand number watching at this early point of the day and a queue for programmes from the ISDS tent. Barra O'Brien ran first, sending his dog left. They completed a fair run but missed the cross drive gates, going on the top side. Gwynfor Owen sent Roy to the right, allowing handlers to see an outrun to both sides early on. One sheep challenged during the shed and they had to re shed. The sheep tested at the pen, resulting in DQ. Stuart Davidson had a good run with Jack.

9.40: The sheep are a mixture of Suffolk cross and Texel cross ewes and yearling ewes. They are testing the dogs. The ground has proved to be deceptive despite good light on the field. Some gates have been missed by a narrow margin. Coming round the post the sheep have wanted to run back to the right (towards the exhaust pen) rather than onto the away drive. They are certainly proving tricky.

10.15: Mark Elliott and Tip have had a challenging packet and retired at the pen. Simon Mosse and Dark slipped two sheep just top side of the cross drive gates. One collared ewe tested time and again at the pen. Dark kept cool and they penned but time was lost and they timed up before the single. Emrys Lewis had a packet of two ewes and three shearlings; the ewes running ahead of the others. They dodged the fetch gates but settled on the cross drive, splitting again at the ring. They completed. Ed Foster was another to slip sheep top side of the cross drive gates and the sheep tested at the pen, splitting repeatedly but perseverance paid off. They finished their run. Tom Lawrenson had a tidy run but two collared ewes were difficult to split for the single and they timed up.

10.50: The sun is forecast to shine for the whole weekend. It is still quite hazy in the distance with a light breeze.Ideal conditions at the moment. John Brennan and Jess completed the course. Gwyn Jones (Penmachno) was only the second handler to send his dog left but time got the better of them in the shed. One wandering ewe caused problems attempting to leave the ring on numerous occasions. 

11.45: Neil Gillon and Sweep had an unsettled packet but made the best of them, timing up after completing the shed. Derek Scrimgeour and Mirk completed their run, catching all the gates but lost a chunk of points on the shed. John Brennan and Rose also completed the single after a swift pen. A light breeze has got up and the nations' flags are flying. The grandstands have now been erected after a delay caused by a bereavement. The sheep have been challenging at the top of the field too with the letters out and their dogs having to work hard. 

12.30: Alan Jones (Selatyn) timed up in the single. Fraser Shennan had a smooth run again from a left hand outrun with a good pen and completed the course. He was the last singles run this morning. The official trial opening takes place in the craft tent with the local mayor as the brace gets underway. 

2.00: A quick walk round at lunchtime reveals there are plenty of things to see and do at this event as well as the trial itself. A variety of food stalls offer a good selection of eating options. Aforestry company, local companies and a hotel all have stalls as well as the Garda who are in attendance. There is an opportunity to win a quad bike too. For the children there is face painting, pony rides and a funfair to name but a few things.

The four brace runs have taken place, using returned sheep from the morning's singles. All of the runners found the sheep penned more easily this time round. Kevin Evans with Greg and Kim had a very tidy turn round the post, by far the best of the day so far, holding the sheep to the driving line, whereas the others all wandered away to some extent. George Bonsall had trouble at the pen and had to reshed after they rejoined. They had a good and swift second pen. Julie Hill's Ban and Mac worked well together for a good run but the sheep took a wrong turn after the drive away gates, which was then corrected. The only gates missed were the cross drive gates by David Corrigan with Tan and Jim (the first brace to run) but they too finished with a good pen. 

2.50: Michael Longton and Todd were the first on after the doubles. Sent left, Todd overshot a little at the top which affected the lift and the start of the fetch. Time caught up with them in the ring before they singled. Andy Corrigan and Jim had an awkward ewe in the packet which hung back on the fetch. Trying to keep them together caused four sheep to miss the gates. The sheep tested the dog on the drive but a tidy turn at the end of the cross drive put them on a good line for the ring. They completed their run.

3.15: Dai Howells' Jaimie worked hard under hand, especially at the pen, where the sheep were challenging. They too completed. John Templeton's Ben seemed to have the sheep running sweetly on the drive, but a small error near the first gates cost a few points. A swift shed and the sheep were soon in the pen with ease. A quick single and another completion. Gordon Watt and Moss have been awarded a re-run after the sheep took off before Moss arrived and the let out dog interfered with the run. 

4.00: Con McGarry and Megan took the left hand outrun. One ewe was particularly testing, hanging back round the post and on the drive away. Megan worked diligently and, by the cross drive, had a united packet working well. The shed was achieved quickly and the same awkward ewe led the others into the pen. Asked to single again, this ewe caused further problems and they timed up. Gordon Watt and Moss took their re-run but were unable to make the most of it; missing some gates with what seemed a lighter packet than most, Moss working well off the sheep. While it was a cohesive packet, on the outfield work, they were difficult to shed and time won here. 

4.30: Nigel Watkins and Molly started a bit fast on the fetch and consequently had a wide turn round the post. Molly worked hard keeping the sheep on line on the drive away. The sheep were tricky at the pen as they have been for many but Nigel and Molly completed. Michael Shearer's run with Jim also started a bit fast and they slipped two sheep at the fetch gates, but then settled down. The driving was steady with fair lines, going just too high at the cross drive gates which they missed. A good line on the return drive to the ring, where, again, the sheep proved tricky. The shed was good when it came. The sheep were cheeky at the pen, splitting away on either the rope side or the dog's side. Teamwork paid off and they then made the single look easy. 

5.10: Michael Davidson completed a nice run, steadying the hurrying sheep before the fetch gates. The shed and pen went well but the single had to be done again, possibly because it was outside the ring. This was quickly achieved. Peter Morgan and Midge had a testing packet, but the young dog worked bravely, pushing the sheep round the post and holding them to the drive line. Tactical handling at the pen by Peter saw them through to the single where they timed up.

5.45: Aled Owen and Cap had good lines and completed their run with a swift single after an equally easy pen. John MacKillop and Joe completed their run after re-doing the single. A number of competitors have been asked by the judges to redo either the shed or the single. The sheep for Larry Cowper and Eric were not forward to the set out point. It was difficult to see if the dog came too tight to them or not. After missing the drive gates they finished their run well with fast ring and pen work. 

6.00: James McGee and Glencregg Silver had a fantastic run. Great fetch, steady and the best turn round the post of the day so far, putting the sheep perfectly on line for the gates. A slight delay in turning after catching the drive gates made for a wider turn and the same happened at the cross drive gates. Super work in the shed and single with man and dog working in harmony together at the pen will surely see them near, if not at, the top of the scoreboard.

Results so far on the Results page. Julie Hill is leading the Brace, James McGee is indeed the leader, with a number of runs on 330 or above and thus likely to go forward to Sunday's Supreme.

6.45: Jeff Evans and Spot completed, missing the cross drive gates. David Wallace and Jen came off at the pen. Last to run was Ben Smith with Ben. The sheep were testing round the post and again on the drive away. Ben was disqualified here. 


Day 1 Qualifiers round up

The first 32 runners have had a good day. The weather has been sunny and warm or cloudy and cooler, changing through the day. The sheep seem to have run better with the sun on their backs but they have been challenging all day with little respect for the dogs and despite some stronger behaviour which seems to have been allowed by the judges it has not always achieved the desired effect. A few dogs have been disqualified for a repeated lunge at a sheep, but none have acted out of desperation, with many a dog defending itself from a head butting ewe. At the end of the fetch, many of the packets have favoured a direct route to the exhaust pen by not turning all the way round the post resulting in some very wide turns as the sheep tried to run to the pen. On the drive away the sheep had a tendency to lean to the exhaust again but once the dog had the better of them worked well on the rest of the drive. In the ring they could be testing, resistant to being split. The judges were demanding a definite hold from the dog in the shed and single and several competitors were asked to redo one or the other. The pen saw quite a bit of head to head with sheep trying to stare down dogs but all competitors persevered. The sheep would also split around the pen, either under or over the rope, or to the dog's side. Many a handler kept the rope short for this reason and the best penning came from the dogs and handlers that worked well together.

Tomorrow sees the remaining 28 dogs across the four nations compete.