Birches herd scoops Aberdeen-Angus championship at Balmoral

Birches herd scoops Aberdeen-Angus championship at Balmoral


Berkshire based herd owner Rob Bishop judged the Aberdeen-Angus entry at this year’s 151st Royal Ulster Show, held at Balmoral Park.

“It’s a fantastic show and I am delighted to see good numbers of younger cattle coming forward which makes for healthy competition,” said Mr Bishop who runs the noted Warrenho Herd.

Claiming the plaudits in the all-black championship line-up was the winner of the junior award Birches Lady Julie U507, bred and exhibited by the Matchett Family – Nigel, Gail, Sarah and Sam from Portadown.

Born in January 2018 she emerged as leader of a nine-strong junior heifer class. This one was sired by stock bull Carrigroe Fred, and is out of the home-bred Birches Lady Julie P586 – one of 20 breeding females in the herd, and maternal sister to the prolific show winner Carrigroe D Lady Jane who is almost twelve-years-old and still competing in the showring.

Nigel bought the in-calf Carrigroe Lady Julie from Frank and John Appelbe as a Christmas present for Gail, and the resulting progeny was Birches Lady Julie P586 – dam of the Balmoral supreme champion.

Judge Rob Bishop said: “The overall champion caught my eye. She is long, clean and well-balanced. Very powerful for her age, but feminine with a good wide top and depth through her second thigh. I’ve no doubt today’s winner will mature into a good breeding female.”

Claiming the reserve supreme honours was Ashvale Victoria T204 who stood first in a strong class of six senior heifers. Bred by Richard and Fiona McKeown, Templepatrick, this April 2017 heifer is a daughter of Carrington Park Time On B7, and is bred from Old Glenort Victoria J573 – purchased at the Old Glenort reduction sale in Ballymena. The reserve champion is due in September to Rawburn Jumbo Eric.

“This is another powerful heifer, with a tremendous future ahead of her,” commented Rob Bishop.

The reserve junior championship went to the second placed Woodvale Edwina U274 from Alwyn and Carol Armour and sons, from Dromara. Sired by stock bull Oakmoor Mr Paul S311, she is bred from Duncanziemere Edwina R126 – one of 12 cows in the herd, she was purchased for 5,000gns at Carlisle in 2016 when Alwyn made her female champion.

Senior bull Drumhill Lord Harrow T346 secured the best of opposite sex award for Desmond Martin’s Lisola Herd at Saintfield. Bred by Jonathan and Lisa Doyle, Cookstown, this April 2017 bull was sired by Nightingale Proud Jake G405, and is out of Blelack Lady Heather J169. He was bought at Stirling in February 2019.

Runner-up for the best of opposite sex award was the yearling bull Ember Daniel U402 from Freddie Davidson’s herd at Banbridge. Sired by Cheeklaw Edgar R515, this January 2018 bull is a son of the home-bred Ember Delia M654.

Breed society chief Barrie Turner thanked the judge and congratulated the exhibitors on a successful show. “Balmoral is a fantastic showcase for the Aberdeen-Angus breed, and I’d like to thank the exhibitors for bringing such a wonderful spectacle to this year’s show.”

Results from the judging ring:


Aberdeen-Angus Perpetual Challenge Cup for the supreme champion: Matchett Family. Reserve: Richard and Fiona McKeown.

M&S Award for the junior champion: Matchett Family. Reserve: Alwyn and Carol Armour and Family.

WJ Carson Memorial Perpetual Challenge Cup for the exhibitor-bred champion: Matchett Family. Reserve: Richard and Fiona McKeown.

JD Templeton Memorial Perpetual Challenge Trophy for the best yearling bull: Freddie Davidson.

Drumlister Trophy for the best of opposite sex to the champion: Desmond Martin.

John Thompson and Sons Ltd Crystal Awards for the best pair of heifers: Brian Johnston and Hylda Mills. Reserve: Moses Irwin Jnr.


Cow, born on or before 31/12/15, in-calf or having produced a calf in the last twelve months – 1, Matchett Family, Carrigroe D Lady Jane by Loughlynn Ace.

Cow or heifer, in-milk or in-calf, born in 2016 – 1, Susan Smyth, Glen Cowie Jackie Erica F096 by Scotsmill Enigma L073; 2, Matchett Family, Birches Bell S161 by Carrigoe Fred; 3, John and Ann Henning, Drumcorn Ergessa S304 by TE Mania emperor E343.


First prize senior cow was the Matchett family’s eleven-year-old Carrigroe D Lady Jane.

Junior cow class winner was Glen Cowie Jackie Erica owned by Susan Smyth, Newtownstewart, and shown by Jack Smyth and Trevor Shortt.

Senior heifer Ashvale Victoria bred by Richard and Fiona McKeown, Templepatrick, was the reserve supreme champion at the 151st Balmoral Show.

The Matchett family’s Birches Lady Julie U507 was the junior champion and supreme overall champion at the 151st Balmoral Show.

Senior bull Drumhill Lord Harrow T346 owned by Desmond Martin, Saintfield, was the best of opposite sex to the champion at Balmoral Show.

Yearling bull champion was Ember Daniel U402 bred by Freddie Davidson, Banbridge.

The Armour Family, Dromara, won the reserve junior championship with Woodvale Edwina U274.

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