Date: 15th May 2024

Judge: Mike Black, Collessie Flock

By Orla Butler, NI Branch Secretary

Limestone breeder Mark Priestley clinches the Supreme Champion accolade with his impressive Castleisle A Kingsman sired shearling ewe.

Judge Mike Black from Fife, Scotland was impressed with the stock presented to him at the opening day of Balmoral and certainly had tough decisions to make in each of the classes. His first major decision was in the shearling ram class when he handed the first place rosette to Limestone Flock owner Mark Priestley after his homebred shearling by Castleisle A Kingsman took first and Jason Watson claiming second with his Limepark Destroyer shearling ram with Ian Donald third.

With a powerful line up of ram lambs, the Ballynacannon flock of Dennis Taylor took the 1st prize rosette with a son of Limestone Springbok with Mark Priestley’s Rhaeadar Rockshore son taking second and the Bannview flock of Campbell & Jason Watson’s Limepark Destroyer son claiming third.

In the aged ewe line up it was Blackstone owners Jack & Andrew Moses’ eye catching Blackstone Everest bred female who was handed the first place rosette. Cherryvalley Farm’s Birness Playboy bred ewe took second and Campbell & Jason Watson’s Beechcrest Ringleader taking third.

The onlookers then got their first glimpse of the impressive Castleisle A Kingsman sired shearling ewe presented by Mark Priestley with Mark also taking the third placed rosette with another Kingsman sired shearling ewe and Campbell & Jason Watson’s Garvan Cracker sired shearling ewe taking second.

Lesley Liggett shone in the ewe lamb category with his Sportsman Scholesy ewe lamb taking first spot, Dennis Taylor took second with his Limestone Springbok sired ewe lamb and the Limestone Flock taking third with a Rhaeadar Rockshore sired ewe lamb.

Campbell & Jason Watson continued their success coming out on top winning the group of three just ahead of Dennis Taylor and Mark Priestley whilst Lesley Liggett took the winning rosette with a pair of lambs followed closely by Dennis Taylor & Martin & Eoin Butler.

In the final deliberations the Limestone flock claimed the Female Champion, Reserve Male Champion and Overall coveted RUAS Supreme Title and Shortwool Interbreed Champion of the Show. Lesley Liggett took the Reserve Female and Overall Reserve Champion and Dennis Taylor took Male Champion.

Our Young Handlers did exceptionally well in the Young Handlers Competition. Hope you all enjoyed the experience.

8-13 years

1st Noah Taylor

2nd Lara Taylor

3rd Tommy McMonagle

14-18 years

1st Neale Fleming

2nd Aimee Liggett

3rd Paddy McMonagle

All in all a fantastic few days for the Suffolk breed to showcase Northern Irelands premier livestock.

“Firstly I’d like to say it was an honour to be asked to judge at Balmoral.

As expected the quality of the sheep forward to show was excellent. It makes any judging much easier when you can find leaders in your classes.

The prize winners and beyond in the final class lineup’s would have been suited for any show in the country and were a huge credit to those who presented them.

There were a number of tup lambs that it will be very interesting to see how they develop over the year towards the sales.

The females were particularly strong and it was an outstanding gimmer that went on to win the section and even better to secure the interbreed championship, a great advert for the breed.

It was a great fun afternoon, the weather was kind and it was good to catch up with old friends make a few new ones and hopefully not upset to many along the way!

If I had a pound for everyone that said ‘that’s the quickest judging ever’ I’d be on my way to buying a new stock tup!

Thanks again for the invitation and best of luck to everyone heading towards the sale season and beyond”.

Mike Black, Balmoral judge 2024

The Northern Ireland Branch of the Suffolk Sheep Society now look ahead to our Branch Championships taking place on 8th June at Armagh Show with a large entry of quality Suffolk Sheep assured.

Interbreed Champion – Shearling Ewe from M Priestley Limestone flock along with family
Supreme Champion M Priestley Shearling Ewe with Judge Mike Black
Reserve Champion Ewe lamb from Carony Flock L Liggett and family with judge Mike Black
Senior Young Handlers 1st place Neale Fleming
Junior Young Handlers 1st place Noah Taylor
1st place Pairs from L Liggett Carony Flock


Overall Supreme Champion

M Priestley – Shearling Ewe

Overall Reserve

L Liggett – Ewe lamb

Female Champion

M Priestley – Shearling

Female Reserve

L Liggett – Ewe lamb

Male Champion

D Taylor – Ram Lamb

Male Reserve

M Priestley – Shearling

Group of Three

1st JC & RC Watson

2nd D Taylor

3rd M Priestley

4th L Liggett


1st L Liggett

2nd D Taylor

3rd M Butler

Ewe Lamb

1st L Liggett

2nd D Taylor

3rd M Priestley

4th L Liggett

5th I Donald

6th R Conway

Shearling Ewe

1st M Priestley

2nd JC & RC Watson

3rd M Priestley

4th D Taylor

5th JC & RC Watson

6th I Donald

Ewe 2 shear & above

1st A Moses

2nd Cherry valley Farms

3rd JC & RC Watson

4th M Butler

5th S& J Toye

Ram Lamb

1st D Taylor

2nd M Priestley

3rd RC & JC Watson

4th D Taylor

5th M Butler

6th L Liggett

Shearling Rams

1ST M Priestley

2nd RC & JC Watson

3rd I Donald

Ringside photos:

Thanks to AgriImages for the photographs which are available to purchase here