Huntsmen new to carrying the horn triumphed with their charges at the 105th Irish Masters of Foxhounds’ Association (IMFHA) Show at Stradbally Hall, Co Laois, Eire on 5 July.

Conor Dwyer, 22, in his third season hunting the Island Foxhounds in Co. Wexford’s famous bank country, won five classes and took home the reserve unentered doghound championship with the home-bred Island Barrister (Paragon 11–Biscuit 10). They also claimed the stallion hound class with Island Paragon 11 (South Dorset Panther 08–Pickle 07) plus the doghound championship with Island Buster 11 (pictured top) (South & West Wiltshire Vanguard 08–Bunny 10).

Not a bad haul for a young huntsman from Co. Laois who gave up a business and law course to enter hunt service.

“It has been a learning curve but I either had to sink or swim,” said Dwyer. He readily acknowledges the legacy of his predecessors and the wealth of keen foxhound breeders in the country.

Assessing a record entry of 19 packs were doghound judges Henry Berkeley MFH and William Bryer MFH, the latter being no stranger to the Stradbally hound ring, and the afternoon bitch judges were Alastair Jackson and Charles Carter MFH.

The Co Limerick’s 26-year-old huntsman Fergus Stokes, now in his second season hunting this famous pack of Old English hounds, took the unentered class for their type with Co Limerick Sabbath (Carbery Commander 11–Sahara 11). They came second in the Old English part of the stallion hound class — the only Stradbally class where draft hounds may be shown — with Co Limerick Sizzler 12 (Duhallow Trooper 07–North Galway Sari 09). They also secured the same placing in the afternoon with his brood bitch sister Sidewalk 12.

Niall Dunne, in his second season at the Waterford, took the Old English division of the stallion hound class with the home-bred Waterford Lawrence 13 (Arnie 09–Ladybird 09).

In the Old English unentered bitch hound class, the Waterford’s winning unentered Snowdrop (Co Limerick Santa 11-Angle 10) was one of the few of that type showing size and real quality. They also took the Old English brood bitch title with Waterford Charity 12 (Chukka 07–Lavish 07).

The new kids on the block did not have it all their own way.Chris Francis, in his ninth season as Kildare huntsman from their Punchestown Racecourse kennels, won the unentered doghound championship with Fathom (Duke of Beaufort’s Hostage 10–East Galway Grammar 11) from the couples class.

The Wicklow’s Paisley (Cattistock Bramble 12–South Dorset Parody 13) took the ribbons in the unentered bitches and she went on to be reserve champion bitch shown by huntsman Philip Lazenby.

The experienced Henry brothers at the Meath produced the unentered bitch champion with Barmaid (Cottesmore Barty-Fabric 07) who came from the couples class. The Horse & Hound Cup presented in that class was taken home by East Down Bauble & Bargain (Bailey 10–Mistletoe 10), shown by huntsman Declan Feeney.

Not to be outdone by the bigger kennels, West Wicklow Label 14 (Middleton Gunner 07–Kildare Saintly 08) beat the East Down in the entered bitch class to the delight of their joint-master and huntsman Rupert Macauley, chairman of the IMFHA.

The stars of the early afternoon were from Mount Juliet, where huntsman Sam Staniland produced the winning bitch couple in Kilkenny Chutney 14 & Chariot 14 (Kildare Chaplin 07–Dorothy 11) in front of the South Tyrone and Wicklow.

The South Tyrone, whose hounds have a quality not seen in their Dungannon kennels for some years, reaped revenge by taking the two couples bitch class well shown by huntsman Ryan Carvill. This was the class of the day with eight packs producing an impressive sight in front of Stradbally Hall. The West Wicklow came second, the Kilkenny third and the Louth took reserve with their Old English entry shown by huntsman Alan Riley.

The Meath’s Mabel (North Shropshire Pirate 09-Madonna 09) won the brood bitch, with Waterford Charity 12 taking the Old English part of the class.

Rosettes were scattered evenly among other exhibiting hunts. The North Down’s new huntsman Barry Jones took a ticket in the unentered bitch couples, as did the South Union (Co Cork) with their Comedy 14 (Tipperary Captain 09-Crunchie 12). Not to be outdone by his Co. Cork neighbor, the United Hunt Club’s Sonny O’Donnell collected an Old English placing with their Tackler (Waterford Tanker 10-Lacey 11).

The Kilkenny deservedly won the bitch championship with Chutney 14 in front of the unentered Wicklow Paisley.

Before the doghound championship a presentation of certificates was made to those young students who had completed the Michael Morris Memorial Bursary Scheme. Michael Higgens, former master and huntsman of the four-day-a-week Tipperary Foxhounds, made the awards to Shane McGillick, who trained at the Westmeath with huntsman Niall Mahon, and Keith Broderick, who served with Ballymacad huntsman Kevin Donohoe. The IMFHA-sponsored scheme is now in its third year.

Founded in 1859 the IMFHA oversees 46 hunts in 32 counties including 6 packs in Northern Ireland. The annual show started at Clonmel on 6 August 1910 and settled at its present stunning location at Stradbally Hall, Co Laois in 2000, home of the hugely supportive Cosby family.

The show’s impressive trophies and cups are on display at the Foxhound Show ringside and tend to outshine in appearance and number those of any other hound show, some silverware dating from 1891.

Since moving to Stradbally the Foxhound Show, which is part of the Irish National Hound Show consisting of Harriers, Foot Harriers, Beagles plus equestrian rings, has become a major fixture in the hunting world. Northern Ireland hosts a second official Hound Show in Co Armagh with similar classes but with over 200 hounds in three rings on 5th July this year Stradbally can rightly claim to be “Ireland’s Peterborough”.

“It is great to see such interest”, said hound show chairman David Lalor MFH, “especially from those packs that have not previously shown”.

Results

JUDGES: Doghounds: Henry Berkeley MFH (the Berkeley) & William Bryer MFH (the Cattistock)
Bitch hounds: Alastair Jackson & Charles Carter MFH (the West Norfolk)

DOGHOUNDS

Class 1: Best unentered doghound whelped on or after 1 December 2013 (restricted).

1. Island Barrister (Paragon 11–Biscuit 10)
2. Co. Limerick Sabbath (Carbery Commander 11–Belvoir Saline 09).
3 Wicklow Parker (Cattistock Bramble 12–South Dorset Parody 13).
4. Waterford Ashtown (Co. Limerick Santa 11–Almond 12).

Class 2: Best unentered Old English doghound whelped on or after 1 December 2013

1. Co. Limerick Sabbath (Carbery Commander 11–Belvoir Saline 09).
2. Waterford Ashtown (Co. Limerick Santa 11–Almond 12).
3. Co. Limerick Periwig (Cattistock Persian 12–Aileen 10).
4. United Hunt Club Tackler (Waterford Tanker 10–Lacey 11).

Class 3: Best couple of unentered doghounds whelped on or after 1 December 2013 (Open).

1. Island Barricade and Barrister (Paragon 11–Biscuit 10).
2. Kildare Hamlet (Ballymacad Hostage 10–East Galway Grammar 11) & Fathom (Beaufort Fastnet 10–Ballymacad Sally 11).
3. Kilkenny Pollard and Postman (Paddy 11–Policy 11).
4. Meath Bailiff (Cottesmore Barty 07–Fabric 07) & Meath Winter (Cottesmore Barty 07–Grove & Rufford 10)

Also Class 3: Best single unentered doghound championship

Unentered Doghound Champion: Kildare Fathom (Beaufort Fastnet 10–Their Sally 11).
Reserved Unentered Doghound: Island Barrister (Paragon 11–Biscuit 10)

Class 4: Best entered doghound that has not won a first prize in an open class (restricted).

1. Island Buster 12 (South & West Wilts Vanguard 08–Bunny 10).
2. West Wicklow Gunshot 13 (Middleton Gunner 07–Ballad 10).
3. Island Bowman 12 (South & WWilts Vanguard 08–Bunny 10).
4 Co. Limerick Saxon 14 (Perkin 06–Belvoir Saline 09).

Class 5: Best couple of entered doghounds (open)

1. Island Paragon 11 (South Dorset Panther 08–Pickle 07) & Buster 12 (S&WWilts Vanguard 08–Bunny 10)
2. Ballymacad Samson 11 & Safeguard 11 (Sabbath 06–Bonfire 08)
3. Kilkenny Culprit 12 (Dungeon 08–Catherine 09) & Charger 14 (Kildare Chaplin 07–Dorothy 11).
4. Kildare Bosco 13 (Ballymacad Bosco 08–Their Bingo 10) & Deacon 14 (Dealer 10–East Galway Grammar 11)

Best entered doghound in this class
Island Buster 12.

Class 6: Best stallion hound (open)

1. Island Paragon 11 (South Dorset Panther 08–Pickle 10)
2. Ludlow Magnum 13 (Fraser 08–Mistress 07).
3. Beaufort Harlequin 10 (Galahad 05–Handful 06).
4. West Wicklow Gunshot 13 (Middleton Gunner 07–Ballad 10).

Best Old English stallion hound.

1. Waterford Lawrence 13 (Arnie 09–Ladybird 09)
2. Co Limerick Sizzler 12 (Duhallow Trooper 07–North Galway Sari 09)

Class 7 : The Mrs. Hall Perpetual Challenge Cup for the best doghound (open).

Champion: Island Buster 12 (S & WWilts Vanguard 08–Bunny 10)
Reserve Champion: Island Paragon 11 (South Dorset Panther 08–Pickle 07)

BITCHES

Class 8: Best unentered bitch (restricted)

1. Wicklow Paisley (Cattistock Bramble 12–South Dorset Parody 13).
2. West Wicklow Loopy (Tipperary Captain 09–Kildare Saintly 08)
3. Island Viscount (Middleton Gunner 07–Vantage 12)
4. Waterford Snowdrop (Co. Limerick Santa 11–Their Angle 10)

Class 9: Best unentered Old English bitch

1. Waterford Snowdrop (Co. Limerick Santa 11–Their Angle 10)
2. Co. Limerick Petticoat (Cattistock Persian 12–Aileen 10).
3. Louth Golden (Granite 09–Lottie 10).
4. Co. Limerick Poetry (Cattistock Porridge 12–Glitter 10).

Class 10: Best couple of unentered bitches (open)

1. East Down Bauble & Bargain (Bailey 10–Mistletoe 10).
2. Meath River (Cottesmore Barty 07–Worcestershire Risky 11) & Barmaid (Cottesmore Barty 07-Fabric 07).
3. Island Viscount (Middleton Gunner 07–Vantage 12) & Crossword (West Wicklow Cardinal 12–Pocket 12)
4. North Down Dammit & Damson (Kildare Charmer 07–Mendip Farmers Damage 08).

Also Class 10: Best champion & reserve unentered bitch (open)

Unentered bitch champion: Meath Barmaid (Cottesmore Barty 07–Fabric 07)
Reserve unentered bitch champion Island Viscount (Middleton Gunner 07–Vantage 12)

Class 11: Best entered bitch (restricted)

1. West Wicklow Label (Middleton Gunner 07–Kildare Saintly 08).
2. East Down Risky (Heythrop Wiseman 11–Rascal 08)
3. Island Passive 11 (South Dorset Panther 08-Pickle 07).
4. South Union Crystal 14 (Tipperary Captain 09–Crunchie 12).

Class 12: Best couple of entered bitches (open)

1. Kilkenny Chutney 14 & Chariot 14 (Kildare Chaplin 07–Dorothy 11)
2. West Wicklow Boozy 14 (Middleton Gunner 07–Ledbury Ballad 09) & Label (Middleton Gunner 07–Kildare Saintly 08)
3. South Tyrone Beverage 14 & Benefit 14 (North Down Shylock 11–Fitzwilliam (Milton) Beverage 10)
4. East Down Ringlet 14 & Risky 14 (Heythrop Wiseman 11–Rascal 08)

Best entered bitch in this class: Kilkenny Chutney ’14

Class 13: Best two couple of entered bitches (open)

1. South Tyrone Beverage 14, Benefit 14, Beauty 14, & Beacon 14 (North Down Shylock 11–Fitzwilliam (Milton) Beverage 10)
2. West Wicklow Label 14 (Middleton Gunner 07–Kildare Saintly 08), Boozy 14, Beetle 14, & Broomstick 14 (Middleton Gunner 07–Ledbury Ballad 09)
3. Kilkenny Charity 14, Chariot 14, Chutney 14 (Kildare Chaplain 07–Dorothy 11), & Cupcake 14 (Rabbi 09–Culture 12)
4. Louth Laura 14 (Lodger 10–Lonely 11), Ticket 13, Tinsel 13, & Tingle 13 (Brosna Tonton 07–Lottie 10)

Class 14: Best brood bitch (open)

1. Meath Mabel 13 (North Shropshire Pirate 09–Madonna 09).
2. West Wicklow Melody 11 (Kildare Chaplain 07–North Cotswold Mystery 03)
3. Kilkenny Dutiful 12 (Dungeon 08–South Dorset Saucy 08).
4. Ballymacad Ribbon 13 (Bosco 08–Beaufort Riddle 09).

Also Class 14: Best Old English brood bitch

1. Waterford Charity 12 (Chukka 07–Lavish 07).
2. Co. Limerick Sidewalk 12 (Duhallow Trooper 07–North Galway Sari 09).

Class 15

Champion bitch — The Hutchinson Perpetual Challenge Cup

Best bitch exhibited in any class (open)

Champion: Kilkenny Chutney 14 (Kildare Chaplain 07–Dorothy 11)
Reserve champion: Wicklow Paisley 14 (Cattistock Bramble 12–South Dorset Parody 13)

Read the Stradbally Hound Show report in Horse & Hound magazine, out tomorrow (20 August 2015)