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TWO hunts from Northern Ireland — the South Tyrone and the Killultagh, Old & Chichester — plus the Cork-based United Hunt Club were first timers at the Irish Masters of Foxhounds national hound show held against the impressive background of Stradbally Hall, Co Laois on 6 July.

This is the senior of Ireland’s two official hound shows with rings devoted to foxhounds, harriers and beagles.

Some 19 packs entered the foxhound classes with Captain Ian Farquhar MFH (Beaufort) and Jacky Thomas MFH (Glamorgan) judging the doghounds and Messrs Richard Sumner and Matt Ramsden MFH (Bedale) taking on the bitches.

Leading photographer and hunting historian Noel Mullins reflected that the Irish were hunting as far back as 2,000 BC as is seen in the early law tracts that governed Ireland from pre-Christian times to the 17th century.

Hounds hunting by scent were known in Irish as ‘Cu Selga’ and when an Irish Chieftain went to visit another it was customary for him to take his hounds and horses along so to challenge his host as to which pack and horses were the better.

Packs in Ulster may not claim the exalted status of warrior chieftains but they came to raid none the less – and with some success.

Huntsman Mark Casserly of the Killultagh took a ribbon in the novice unentered doghound class which was won by the South Tyrone Belfast (North Down Shylock 11–Fitzwilliam Beverage 10) ably shown by their huntsman Ryan Carvill.

Ireland has more packs of Old English than Great Britain and the Co Limerick Saxon took first place in the morning class restricted to hounds of that type.

The open classes felt the absence of the Tipperary; Ireland’s only four-day-a-week country that consistently produces quality foxhounds. Bereavement unavoidably caused them to stay at home.

Nonetheless, the famous Meath kennel has hounds of enviable stamp and the judges gave them the unentered couples class.

Huntsman Sam Stanniland showing Kilkenny Chancer took the unentered championship placing the Meath in reserve with their Exmoor-sired Partner well-produced by joint huntsman Kenny Henry.

The Meath, Kildare, Island and Ballymacad battled throughout the morning with Kildare Monty 13 winning the doghound championship and their Pluto 12 taking reserve.

Duhallow Traveller 10 took the Old English stallion hound special in front of the host hunt’s Laois Power 11.

The Horse & Hound Perpetual Challenge Cup for the best couple of unentered bitches was presented by H&H hunting editor Polly Portwin. This went to the Meath for their Passion and Passive (Exmoor Belfry 08–Pansy 07) — pictured above. Photograph by Noel Mullins.

The afternoon bitches were of higher quality than the morning’s doghounds.

The South Tyrone took the first two placings in the novice unentered class but in the open couples they had to settle for second behind the Meath with a useful couple in Passion and Passive (by Exmoor Belfry 08).

South Tyrone Beauty became the unentered champion in front of the Kildare sired Kilkenny Chariot.

As in the morning the Old English class was taken by the Co Limerick with the Galway Blazers and Louth sharing the places.

However the major afternoon classes became the stamping ground of the green coated Ballymacad Hunt whose hounds were beautifully shown by huntsman Kevin Donohue.

Taking the couples, two couples and brood bitch classes, the Ballymacad captured the bitch championship with Sapling 11 with the unentered South Tyrone Beauty in reserve.

The home bred Duhallow Lilac 11 took the Old English special in the brood bitch, the reserve going to Louth Secret 11 sired by Hurworth Rustic 07.

Show Chairman David Lalor MFH (the Laois) said:“Most hunts went home with a rosette or two to conclude a fun day in what is almost the centre of Ireland. The show goes from strength to strength — long may that be so.”

Results —
Doghounds (Capt I Farquhar MFH, J Thomas MFH) —
unentered.— 1, South Tyrone Belfast (North Down Shylock 11–Fitzwilliam Beverage 10); 2, South Union Carling (Tipperary Captain 09–Crunchie 12); 3, South Tyrone Benburb (North Down Shylock 11–Fitzwilliam Beverage 10).
Old English, unentered.— 1, Co Limerick Saxon (Parker 08–Belvoir Saline 09); 2, Louth Larkin (Lodger 10–Lonely 11); 3, South Union Lomax (Muskerry Lomax 08–Lollipop 11).
unenetered couple.— 1, Meath Parson and Partner (Exmoor Belfry 08–Pansy 07); 2, Kilkenny Chancer (Kildare Chaplin 07–Dorothy 11) & Dustman (Dancer 10–Dutiful 12); 3, South Union Cardinal and Carling (Tipperary Captain 09–Crunchie 12). unentered ch.— Kilkenny Chancer (Kildare Chaplain 07–Dorothy 11); res.— Meath Partner (Exmoor Belfry 08–Pansy 07).
entered.— 1, Island Postman 12 (Afghan 09–Pinto 07); 2, Killultagh Old Rock & Chichester Boulter 13 (Oakley Casper 05-Blankney Puzzle 06); 3, Duhallow Charger 11 (Linesman 05-Waterford Cherokee 07).
entered couple.— 1, Ballymacad Samson 11& Safeguard 11 (Sabbath 06–Bonfire 08). 2, Island Buster 12 (S&W Wilts Vanguard 08–Bunny 10) and Paragon 12 (South Dorset Panther 08–Pickle 07); 3, Meath Beaufort13 & Bellamy 13 (Exmoor Belfry 08–Gravy 10).
stallion hound.— 1, Kildare Pluto 12 (North Tipperary Imlic 10–Plenty 05); 2, Meath Lodger 09 (Middleton Ranald 05–BSV Lavender 04); 3, Island Paragon 11 (South Dorset Panther 08–Pickle 07).
Old English stallion hound.— 1, Duhallow Traveller 10 (Linesman 05–Trinket 07); 2, Laois Power 11 (Waterford Ali 04–Ormond Polly 07).
ch.— Kildare Monty 13 (Westmeath Monitor 09-Duke of Beaufort’s Durance 08); res.— Kildare Pluto 12 (North Tipperary Imlic 10-Plenty 05).

Bitch hounds (R Sumner, M Ramsden MFH)
unentered.— 1, South Tyrone Beauty (North Down Shylock 11–Fitzwilliam Beverage 10); 2, South Tyrone Benefit (North Down Shylock 11–Fitzwilliam Beverage 10); 3, South Union Crystal (Tipperary Captain 09–Crunchie 12).
unenetered Old English.— 1, Co Limerick Chalice. (Safeguard 09–Chalice 09); 2, Co Galway Daisy (Doctor 11–Pastime 10); 3, Co Galway Dancer (Doctor 11–Pastime 10).
unentered couple.— 1, Meath Passion and Passive (Exmoor Belfry 08–Pansy 07); 2, South Tyrone Benefit and Beverage (North Down Shylock 11–Fitzwilliam 10); 3, Co. Galway Dancer and Daisy (Doctor 11–Pastime 10).
unentered ch.— South Tyrone Beauty (North Down Shylock 11–Fitzwilliam Beverage 10); res.— Kilkenny Chariot (Kildare Chaplain 07–Dorothy 11).
entered.— 1, Ballymacad Sapling 11 & Sable 11 (Saturday 06–Kildare Saintly 08); 2, Co Galway Tardy 12 (Limit 08–Tanner 07); 3, United Hunt Club Tangle 12 (Brosna Tonton 07 – Saintly 08).
entered couple.— 1, Ballymacad Sapling 11 & Sable 11 (Saturday 06–Kildare Saintly 08); 2, Meath Baffle 13 (Exmoor Belfry 08–Gravy 10) & Sandwich 12 (Cottesmore Haulage 07–Cheshire Sandwich 08); 3, Kilkenny Dutiful 12 & Durable 12 (Dungeon 08–South Dorset Saucy 08).
two couple.— 1, Ballymacad Ribbon 13 (Bosco 08–Duke of Beaufort’s Riddle 09), Sapling 11, Sable 11 (Saturday 06–Kildare Saintly 08) & Billis 11 (Bilco 0 –Bounty 08); 2, Kilkenny Dutiful 12 & Durable 12 (Dungeon 08–South Dorset Saucy 08), Cheerful 13 (Kildare Chaplain 07–Worry 08) & Subtle 11 (Dungeon 08–Tedworth Staple 08); 3, Meath Baffle 13 (Exmoor Belfry 08–Gravy 10), Pickle 13 & Pillow 13 (North Shropshire Pirate 09–Paleface 07), & Sandwich 12 (Cottesmore Haulage 07–Cheshire Sandwich 08).
brood  bitch.— 1, Ballymacad Sapling 11 (Saturday 06–Kildare Saintly 08); 2, Kilkenny Dutiful 12 (Dungeon 08–South Dorset Saucy 08); 3, East Down Rascal 08 (Planter 04–Rustic 05).
Old English brood bitch.— 1, Duhallow Lilac 11 (Linesman 05–Trophy 07); 2, Louth Secret ’11 (Hurworth Rustic ’07 – Stable ’06).
ch.— Ballymacad Sapling 11 (Saturday 06–Kildare Saintly 08); res.— South Tyrone Beauty (North Down Shylock 11–Fitzwilliam Beverage 10)