2011 IDHBA National Awards

The 2011 National Awards banquet was hosted by the Cork/Kerry Branch and was held in the Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery, Co. Cork on November 5th 2011. The night was a resounding success, with more than 200 people from all corners of Ireland making the trip to West Cork.

  Award Recipients
2011 National Award Recipients
Front Row l-r: John Allen, Eiline Brennan, Alva Gunne
Middle Row l-r: Br. Alphonsus Gavigan, Gerry O'Donoghue, Michael Ryan
Back Row l-r: Darragh Glynn, David O'Toole, Patrick Murphy

Award Recipients

Leading Irish Draught Performance Horse of the Year - Alva Gunne's Silver Skippy

Each year, the IDHBA presents this award to highlight the natural ability, ease of riding and versatility of the Irish Draught breed. Both previous winners of this award were high-performing geldings, but this year, it is the turn of an Irish Draught mare.

Silver Skippy is an 8 year old mare, bred by Fintan Flannelly of Kill Equestrian Centre in Co. Kildare. She is by Silver Granite out of the Skippy mare, Huntingfield Skipping Lass.

Silver Skippy has been steadily produced and shown by her owner, Alva Gunne, over a number of years. In 2009, she was awarded Best Mare in the Performance section at the International Hunt Festival at Punchestown; she was 5th in the Le Trec competition and the winner of the Endurance Section.

In 2010, she was 1st in a show jumping derby in Maynooth. She won the Novice Working Hunter at the Show of the South in Kill and placed in the top three in the Working Hunter classes at both the Wicklow and Mullingar IDHBA shows. Silver Skippy showed her star quality when she was ridden by international pop superstar, X Factor winner, Leona Lewis, on a visit to Kill in 2010. Leona was highly impressed with this very talented Irish Draught mare.

In 2011, she was reserve ridden champion at the Wicklow Branch IDHBA Show in Boswell. She won the H.S.I. Irish Draught class and the Eddie Fowler Memorial Championship at the Association of Irish Riding Clubs festival in Stradbally. Her crowning moment in the 2011 season came when she stood top of the line in the Irish Draught Performance Class at the RDS.

Silver Skippy is described by her owner as a horse who is a joy to own, with a superb temperament and is the definition of an all-rounder.

Leading New Breeder and Exhibitor of the Year - Darragh Glynn

The aim of this award is to encourage new breeders to exhibit and produce their Irish Draughts at shows. Darragh Glynn, at just 18 years of age, has already made a name for himself in showing circles – most notably partnering his father while showing his multiple-winning half-bred show mare, Parkmore Diva and her colt foal to be reserve in the RDS Breeders Championship in 2010.

However, Darragh chose the Irish Draught breed when he went out to purchase his own brood mare at the ripe old age of 16. Darragh made a very wise choice, as his Star Kingdom sired “Clooneen Diamond Star” has had a very successful year in 2011 with her Dunkerrin Grey Mist filly foal. “Clooneen Diamond Star” was placed 3rd in a very strong Mature Mare class at the IDHBA National Breed Show in Mullingar. Her filly foal, also shown by Darragh, won a highly competitive filly foal class.

At Roscommon Show, both the mare and foal won their respective classes and a 60/40 progeny class. The mare and foal were placed 5th and named Best Turned Out in the Leitrim Breeders Mare and Foal championship. The year was rounded off with wins at Mountbellew and Ballinalsoe shows for both mare and foal.

Darragh and his horses are always presented to a very high standard. He is always smiling and courteous to the judges, stewards and his fellow exhibitors. He is a credit to his family and a welcome addition to the show rings of Ireland.

Young Irish Draught Show Horse of the Year - David O'Toole's Juno Rose

Juno Rose was foaled on the 17th of May 2008 on the farm of David O’Toole in Louisbourgh, Co. Mayo, after 12 months and 14 days of waiting for her breeder. It turns out that she was well worth waiting for. Juno Rose is by the RDS champion sire, Grosvenor Lad, out of Ballymeeney Rose by The Conqueror. Her granddam was Ballymeeney Queen by Mountain View. Both her dam and granddam were bred by Martin Connolly in Dromore West, Co. Sligo.

Juno Rose showed her potential from an early age, winning many first and second prizes at shows around the West of Ireland. She qualified for the All Ireland Irish Draught foal final in Ballinasloe and was third with her dam in the Leitrim Breeders Championship.

As a yearling, she was second at the Irish Draught National show. As a two year-old, she qualified for the Limerick Lady final and had wins at Roundfort and Ballinrobe shows.

However, it was as a three year old, fully developed mare that her Irish Draught qualities of bone, substance and movement set her apart in the show ring. At the IDHBA National Breed Show in Mullingar, she was placed at the top of the line in an 11 strong 3 year old filly class. She went on to take the overall champion filly title and then went one better to become the overall young horse champion of the show. She was shown and produced by Liam Lynskey from Swinford, Co. Mayo.  She then went on to be the Reserve Champion Mare at the ISA All Ireland Three Year Old Irish Draught Mare final in Bonniconlon.

Irish Draught Show Horse of the Year - Patrick Murphy's Tors Gentleman Farmer

Tors Gentleman Farmer was bred by Mrs. Shervington in Wales in 1998. His sire, King Elvis had a very successful career in Ireland before being exported to the UK. His dam, Roma Forest Fox was by Silver Jasper. His granddam, Tubber Lass was by Telstar. Both Roma Forest Fox and Tubber Lass are former UK Breed Show champions. Tors Gentleman Farmer got his showing career off to a flying start by winning the Irish Draught Foal Championship at the IDHS GB National Breed Show. He was exported to America where he went on to be approved as an RID stallion as a three year old.

In 2008, Tors Gentleman Farmer was imported to Ireland by the Murphy family in Charlestown, Co. Mayo. In his first season in Ireland, he was crowned Champion Irish Draught stallion at the RDS. In 2011, he returned to Ballsbridge, after being produced by Hurst Show Horses from Co. Fermanagh, where he was again selected as champion stallion, having been shown to perfection by his young owner, Patrick Murphy.

Not satisfied with his two RDS titles, Patrick then headed to Clonaslee Show, in Co. Laois, in September to contest the ISA All Ireland Irish Draught Stallion Championship, sponsored by Horse Sport Ireland. Tors Gentleman Farmer’s presence, quality and movement again found favour with the judges and he was selected as their 2011 champion. His win in Clonaslee means that he has now achieved a Gold merit for in-hand showing.

Breeders Award 2011 - Gerry O'Donoghue

Gerry O’Donoghue purchased his first Irish Draught filly “Rochestown Lady” in 1984, on the advice of Billy Cotter. Rochestown Lady was by Kingsway Diamond out of a Skippy mare and was bred by the O’Tooles in Louisbourgh, Co. Mayo. Though she had a short breeding career, she produced a colt, “Holy Diamond” by Holycross who has earned 112 SJAI jumping points for his owner Denis Flannelly. She also produced a filly by Ceridigion who was second under saddle at the RDS.

Gerry purchased a second filly, “Rochestown Gold” in 1986, at Ballinasloe horse fair, again on Billy Cotter’s advice. Rochestown Gold was by Corrundulla Star out of May Jane 3rd by Atlantic Boy. She was bred by John Madden from Oranmore in Co. Galway. Not only did Rochestown Gold go on to be an outstanding show mare for Gerry and his family, winning numerous titles, including wins at National Irish Draught Shows and the Aer Rianta sponsored National Irish Draught Mare Championship at Carbery Show, but she also proved to be a prolific broodmare.

Her 1992 filly, Camp Hill Lady, by Creggan Diamond is the dam of the UK RID stallion, Pembroke Royal Blue.

In 1990, Rochestown Gold produced a colt, “Alice’s Diamond Slipper” by Creggan Diamond, who is also a very successful RID sire in England. Among Alice’s Diamond Slipper’s progeny are; “Leighland Toledo” who has 340 British Dressage points, “Sidney Ruff Diamond” BSJA Grade A Show jumper, “Jaunty Star” RID stallion and Grade A show jumper in Canada, “Deards Catchphrase” 2007 Breed Show Youngstock Champion, and “Bowland Lucky Slipper” who was crowned the 2011 Supreme Champion at the IDHS GB National Breed Show.

In 1996, Rochestown Gold produced a filly foal “Rochestown Katie” by Fast Silver, who was the 1996 champion foal at the National Breed Show. In 1997, she produced a colt “Culainn” by Crosstown Dancer who went on to become part of the Garda Mounted Unit’s team of Irish Draught geldings.

In 2002, Rochestown Gold produced yet another star, the local hero “Rochestown Amoroso” again by fast Silver. “Rochestown Amoroso” is owned and produced by Tina Murphy in Ballinascarthy. He has won numerous ridden hunter championships and has stood reserve in both the Ridden Irish Draught class at the RDS and the new Irish Draught Performance class, introduced in 2010.

In 1990 Gerry purchased another very well-bred foundation mare, “Creggan Delight” by Blue Henry out of the Armada Star mare, Carrigroe Star. Carrigroe Star was bred by the late Mick Daly from Castlesalem, Rosscarbery. She was also the dam of the RID stallions Creggan Diamond and Creggan Emperor.  Creggan Delight was purchased at the Tattersall’s Irish Draught sale, from her then owner, Billy Cotter. Creggan Delight produced a colt, “Rochestown Spirit” by Welcome Diamond, who went on to become a Grade A Show Jumper and won the SJAI Cork/Kerry League.

Gerry O’Donoghue and his family have been staunch supporters of the Irish Draught Horse Society and the IDHBA over many years. As a breeder, Gerry has made a lasting contribution both at home and abroad.

Outstanding Service to the Development of the Irish Draught Breed
These next three awards go to people who represent the hard work, dedication and commitment to the breed and its representative bodies that has led the success of the Irish Draught over a long number of years.

Brother Alphonsus Gavigan

Our first of these three wise men is a very modest and humble man who has been a driving force in the development of the breed society and, more recently, the IDHBA in his adopted county of Galway. Brother Alphonsus Gavigan, a native of Tyrellspass in Co. Westmeath, has been involved in the Galway branch since its formation.

In his work as a teacher at the Franciscan Brothers Agricultural College in Mountbellew, he has imparted his love for, and interest in the Irish Draught Breed to his students – many of whom have gone on to own and breed Irish Draughts themselves.
Brother Alf, as he is affectionately known, has always been an active and committed member of the Galway branch, serving as chairman in the 1990s. He has been a consistent worker, who has always acted to protect and improve the breed and the lot of the breeder.
In recent times, Brother Alf’s dedication to and knowledge of the breed was recognised when he was asked to serve on the 2009 H.S.I. Irish Draught Taskforce. Brother Alf’s knowledge of Irish Draught bloodlines and his ability to trace back breeding is second to none in this country. He is as good a student of the breed as he is a teacher.

Brother Alf is a successful breeder and showman in his own right. He won the Avonmore / Slieve Bloom National Irish Draught Mare and Foal Championship in 1995 with his quality Diamond Lad mare, “Ballyderney Countess”. From this breeding herd of one mare, Brother Alf bred the 2002 Class 1 Bronze Merit Irish Draught Stallion “Grandpa’s Diamond” by “Ard Grandpa”. “Grandpa’s Diamond” stands with Martin Shaughnessy in Ballinasloe Co. Galway.
Sadly, Brother Alf is leaving our shores shortly to take up a Missionary post in Uganda. We salute him and thank him fro his contribution to the development of the Irish Draught breed and send him our blessings on his new mission in life.

Michael Ryan
Michael Ryan is best known for his work as a judge and inspector, but tonight he is being recognised for his service and commitment to the breed as an active branch member of the Laois branch and, more recently, the Tipperary branch. Michael rarely misses branch meetings and has always fully supported both branch and national events, together with his wife Teresa.

It was Michael’s hard work and foresight that helped start, and run, the highly successful Avonmore / Slieve Bloom All Ireland Irish Draught Mare and Foal Championship during the 1990s. In recent years, Michael has been a driving force in creating a very successful Tipperary Branch Show in Roscrea. Anyone who has attended this show will be aware of the great hospitality and welcome given by Michael and Teresa and the members of the Tipperary Branch.

Michael has been very generous with his time to shows over the years. He has acted as steward, judged at and exhibited at numerous National Breed Shows.

Michael has been showing horses and breeding Irish Draughts for many years. One of his most successful show mares was “Ballaghmore Gold” by Silverstone, who stood with the late Michael O’Regan just over the road in Reenascreena. She was out of the Gold Coin mare “Forrest Gold”, who was bred in Neaskin, Dunmanway, Co. Cork by Joe O’Mahony. “Ballaghmore Gold” was reserve champion in the Irish Draught Yearling Filly final in Roscommon. She went on to win numerous prizes for Michael at shows around the country, including National Breed Shows. “Ballaghmore Gold” produced a colt in 2005 by “Grosvenor Lad”, who went on to become the Class 1 ID stallion Lansdown who stands with Walter Kent in Co. Wexford.

After “Ballaghmore Gold”, Michael took a break from showing Irish Draughts for a few years but, in 2010, he returned with a bang, taking the All Ireland Irish Draught Filly Foal title in Ballinasloe with his filly by the RDS champion sire, Star Kingdom.

John Allen
Last but by no means least of our three wise men is again no stranger to West Cork, or indeed any other corner of Ireland, as he has travelled the length and breadth of the country on many occasions. John Allen has been a household name in Irish Draught circles for many years. The job of a judge and an inspector is often thankless and unpopular, but without inspections to identify the best of the breed, the Irish Draught would no doubt have become extinct. Volunteers like John who travelled many miles at home and abroad to give their honest opinions and make decisions were a vital part of the development of the breed. John has always been very active in the Irish Shows Association, both as a committee member of his native Scarriff Show and as a board member for many years. John was part of the organising committee of two very successful Irish Draught shows held in Ennis in 2002 and 2003. Through his work as a judge, inspector, branch member, and breeder, John has given outstanding service to the development of the Irish Draught Breed.

Outstanding Service to the IDHBA - Eiline Brennan

Now, we all know that there would be no wise men were it not for the much wiser women who keep them in line. One such woman needs no introduction to the Irish Draught breeders of Ireland. Eiline Brennan has been the face of the Irish Draught Horse Society and, more recently, the Irish Draught Horse Breeders Association in RDS and at events around the country for many years. Eiline has given of her time on a purely voluntary basis for the full week of the Horse Show every year without complaint. She has promoted the Irish Draught to people from all over the world through her role on the stand. The popularity of the Irish Draught stand in the RDS is solely down to Eiline’s energy, enthusiasm and knowledge.

As national PRO, Eiline travelled to All-Ireland finals, National Shows, National Breed Sales, Mare Inspections and Stallion Inspections, meeting and greeting and, most importantly, listening to Irish Draught breeders.

Eiline has been a driving force for new ideas. She helped to set up the first National Irish Draught Sale in Mountrath, where 56 lots were offered for sale and a 3 year old stallion named Holycross achieved the highest price on the day. More recently, Eiline kindly donated an Inter-branch shield, which is presented each year to the chairman of the branch whose members have accumulated the most wins and placings at the national breed show. The branch shield has helped to encourage greater participation in the National Breed show among all of the branches.

Eiline, in her role as secretary of the Laois Branch has made an enormous contribution to the development of and interest in the breed in Laois and the surrounding counties. At all branch events in Laois, including their now well-established branch show in Stradbally Hall, Eiline’s catering service and hospitality help to make for an enjoyable and friendly atmosphere for all who attend. Eiline has been a truly outstanding National President of the IDHBA over the past 2 years and we wish to thank her for her life-long service.

The Awards


A number of branch awards were also presented on the night. Please see the Cork / Kerry Branch Page for details.