2014 has thankfully continued the success of 2013 in the Gortinreagh / Ballyellen kennel with all the hard work of the winter paying off. The first Trial of the year saw the faithful gather at Glarryford for the first ever Spring Trial at this venue. The main quarry was pheasant and there was a good supply of the birds all day, with the occasional snipe also being seen. There was a slightly delayed start as there had been torrential rain throughout the night but it cleared to hold up to a very pleasant early February day. At the end of the Trial the Ballyellen sisters were first and second with Colleen winning her first Open Stake in fine style and her sister FTCh Cara taking second place. Alan Neill was 3rd with Mr Filmer’s young Pointer dog Koram Murphy of Wye. The action moved to Slieveanorra where Eppie was in the awards and then on to Glenwherry where FTCh Ballyellen Cody decided to remind his sisters that he could also figure in the awards. He took 1st in a hard fought Open Stake with a great find on the crest of a bare hill producing a pair of grouse and some excellent power running to cap it off. Eppie managed 4 finds on grouse in the heaviest heather of the day and despite the fact that she powered through it with determination and stamina, she didn’t look as flashy on this occasion as the other dogs who had run on much lighter ground and so the judges felt they could only give her fourth. The Ulster IRS Club Open was cancelled next day due to low lying cloud totally obscuring visibility on the hill. This event will now be run on 17 March. So the next NI Trial to run was the Ulster Gundog League’s Open Stake again on Glenwherry. The good supply of game did not ensure a top quality trial as mistakes were frequent and unfortunate. A few hardy survivors remained to figure in the awards and while Cody was definitely my top dog in the trial, an unfortunate flick of a grouse on the wing ended his chances for glory on this occasion. Thankfully his son Gortinreagh Excel had had a nice first round with a good find in rushes and a short but uneventful second round and was named as the winner. This is his second Open win and so gives him his UK FTCh title at 29 months. I feel he is very much a dog growing in confidence at the moment. The re-scheduled Ulster IRS Club trial concluded the Northern Irish trials. Game was scarcer today than at any of the other Spring Trials in Ulster. The hill is probably the heaviest on the circuit. I was debuting Gortinreagh Flake and she did well on her first outing. Her sister Flyer had a very good run taking high banks and high heather in her stride. I was also pleased with Eppie who quartered well. But it was down to Cody and son Excel to progress through to the third round of the trial – both getting stronger and more determined as the trial progressed. Unfortunately Excel had no chance on game but Cody had recorded a clean find from speed on the right wing of the beat in the first round and this was sufficient to secure him the win. Hugh Brady’s veteran IntFTCh Remkillens T-Ebba was second. There were no other awards although other opportunities had been wasted. All in all a pleasing Spring circuit in NI. There is a short Spring Trial circuit in Scotland each year. We travelled to take part in the 3 Open Stakes organised by the Pointer Club of Scotland, Scottish Gundog Association and the Scottish Field Trials Association. FTCh Ballyellen Cara was fourth in the first, Ballyellen Colleen was Third and Gortinreagh Flyer received a Certificate of Merit in the next and FTCh Ballyellen Cody won the last one in style with Ballyellen Colleen again being third. All in all a good week.
This began on a windy day on the Glenlivet estate. Conditions were very tricky for the young and inexperienced dogs, but Gortinreagh Flake came out as top dog in the Novice. The Open Stake saw FTCh Ballyellen Cara take 3rd spot.
Next we moved to Dornack for the Pointer Club of Scotland’s Puppy Stake. I was very pleased with Gala who had a good run and an excellent find under a lot of provocation from her bracemate. Unfortunately one of the judges saw a bird behind her and she was eliminated. She continued where she left off in the Novice that afternoon with a very classy find on one side of a wire fence, she worked out to the fence and shimmied through before working on to produce her covey. It was enough to secure her second spot.
At Cawdor, the Novice saw Flake strike again with a good win in tricky conditions which again saw many dogs flounder. Conditions were also poor for the Open Stake which saw low cloud and rain threaten visibility. However FTCh Excel held it all together in tricky conditions to record another win.
Tillypronie saw Flake triumph once again in the Novice Stake. The Open Stake saw 4 Gortinreaghs in the top 5 positions, Gortinreagh Clover was 2nd, her daughter Gortinreagh Flyer was 3rd. Fly’s dad FTCh Ballyellen Cody was 4th and Clover’s sister Clio was awarded a CoM!
The Trials moved to the Scottish Borders were Flake claimed the win in the Novice Stake run by the SFTA and Gortinreagh Gala gained a CoM in the KC Puppy Derby. FTCh Gortinreagh Eppie was awarded a Diploma of Honour in the Champion Stake – and then it was home to Ireland.
The Autumn trials in Northern Ireland began with a visit to Glenwherry in mid-August. After a tough day with tricky conditions Gortinreagh Flyer secured second spot under judges Edward Butler and Raymond Monroe.
The next outing in NI was the Ulster Irish Red Setter Club’s Open on 14th September. Again Gortinreagh Flyer had good work and took second spot with Gortinreagh Clio taking third.
The next outing was at Glennoo, Co Tyrone for Strabane and District Setter and Pointer Club’s Open mainly on partridge. Gortinreagh Flyer secured fourth spot.
and then it was on to Glarryford for the NI Pointer Club’s Open Stake mainly on pheasant. After sterling work Gortinreagh Flyer just pipped her half-sister FTCh Gortinreagh Eppie to win her first Open Stake and give me 1st and 2nd. The day following saw us return to the mountain at Glenwherry for the Ulster Gundog League trial. Gortinreagh Clio took 3rd spot.
Our first trial in October saw us head for Slieveanorra – a very challenging ground in North Antrim, but a very satisfying one to run on. Cornwall’s Carole Brown and Raymond Monroe gave Gortinreagh Flyer the win, thus making her a Field Trial Champion.
We returned to Tyrone the next day and Carole Brown once again officiated with Rev Seamus O’Neill from Co Wicklow. This time it was FTCh Gortinreagh Eppie who took the win – running well and handling her game with ease.
Next trial was the second trip of the season to Glarryford and it was FTCh Gortinreagh Excel’s turn to be in the awards, taking third.
FTCh Gortinreagh Eppie ran extremely well having partridge and snipe finds to take second place at Glennoo for the second visit of the Strabane Club to this ground in 2014.
The last trial of the NI season saw FTCh Gortinreagh Flyer secure her third Open win of the year with her dad FTCh Ballyellen Cody just a place behind in 2nd.
Our final outing before the end of the 2014 Trials was our first visit to a southern Irish Open Stake and the father and daughter combination struck again with FTCh Ballyellen Cody winning 1st place in the Donegal Field Trial Association Open Stake for the 3rd year in a row with his daughter FTCh Gortinreagh Flyer in second place.
All in all, a very good year and time for a break to look at the young stock who would be making their debut in 2015.
Click the link below for the full list of awards gained by the Kennel in 2014.