The Next Gen Herefords Youth group held their first all inclusive Young Handlers Competition on Friday 19th November in GVM Tullamore.

The event was a great success for the first of it’s kind and 30 young handlers aged from 6 years old to 30 years old entered the competition. All entrants were divided up into three classes depending on their age;

Junior (aged 12 & under) – participants:

Tara Drumm, Conor Smith, Liam O’Reilly, Dara O’reilly, Erik Appelbe, Alice Appelbe, Isabella Dagg, Aine Heffernan, Dara Fitzgerald, Daniel O’Connor, Eoghan O’Connor, Raymond Dockery, Cillian Daly & Alannah Daly.

Intermediate (aged 13 – 17) – participants:

Elisa Drumm, Jack O’Connor, Eoin O’Reilly, Joshua Cronin, Ronan Dockery, Paul Bohan, Colin Bourke.

Senior (aged 18 – 30) – participants:

Annie Brady, Matthew Jennings, Kirstin Cronin, Katie Cronin, Adrian Dockery, Aine McCarthy, Nathan Keogh, Sarah Murray, Kieran Power.

The competition involved three sections to ensure there was a commercial element to the event & also ensuring each participant was busy through out the evening as they alternated from section to section.

Show Preparation

The first category of the competition involved cattle grooming and show preparation. This was where the participants showed off their grooming skills and show preparation techniques ahead of showing animals in the show ring. Sinead Conry & Eoin Lynch were also quizzing the participants at this stage on their knowledge of cattle.

Young Handler Classes

The next category was the traditional young handler classes whereby each participant walked an animal around the show ring and answered questions about the animals and showmanship. Catherine Smyth judged this section of the competition.

Commercial Stock Judging

The final section of the competition was the commercial stock judging with Tennyson Egar from Irish Hereford Prime who began by introducing who Irish Hereford Prime are and what they do for their farming members. He then went on to talk about beef cuts and the fundamentals of stock judging. The evening’s activity was rounded off with an assessment for each group, where their completed questionnaires were scored and prizes awarded. The results that Tennyson got back showcased a great wealth of knowledge, understanding, ability and enthusiasm across the three age brackets.


The Junior group played a blinder during the event and showed great capability, skill and enthusiasm throughout the evening. In the interest of fairness, as there was a varied age group among the juniors, it was decided to leave off the competition side of the event. It was commented by everyone who attended the Friday evening about how great it was to see so many young people and in particular so many juniors interested in farming and showing cattle – a very positive sign for the future. Young Handler Class Judge; Catherine Smyth, did tap out top three young handlers from the class; 1st: Tara Drumm, 2nd: Liam & Dara O’Reilly and 3rd: Dara Fitzgerald – Catherine said the standard among the group was very high and she was impressed with the bravery of those who took on to walk an animal they weren’t even familiar with. Both Catherine and Tennyson complimented the juniors on their ability to talk about themselves and the animals and remarked that the bar has been set very high by the group of junior young handlers for future competitions. Congratulations to all Junior participants.

Back LtoR: Raymond Dockery, Cillian Daly, Aine Heffernan, Eoghan O’Connor, Liam O’Reilly, Daniel O’Connor, Tara Drumm. Right LtoR: Erik Appelbe, Isabella Dagg, Alannah Daly, Alice Appelbe, Rachel Dockery & Dara O’Reilly.
Conor Smith, Daniel O’Connor, Raymond Dockery, Eoghan O’Connor, Alannah Daly, Cillian Daly, Isabella Dagg, Aine Heffernan, Erick Appelbe, Alice Appelbe and Catherine Smyth

Again among the Intermediate group the level of skill & ability was very high. A very enthusiastic & like minded bunch of young people left it a very close race for the seven young breeders across the three sections of the event. After checking & double checking the scores because the competition was so close; Elisa Drumm was tapped forward as the Intermediate Champion. Jack O’Connor was placed second and Ronan Dockery was placed third. Congratulation to Elisa & to all Intermediate participants.

Intermediate Champion: Elisa Drumm, Crowenstown Herefords, Westmeath & Catherine Smyth
Elisa Drumm, Jack O’Connor, Ronan Dockery & Catherine Smyth
Elisa Drumm, Ronan Dockery, Joshua Cronin, Paul Bohan, Eoin O’Reilly, Jack O’Connor & Colin Bourke

The Senior group of nine young breeders showcased serious talent and skills during the evening and proved that each of them are more than capable in the world of showing cattle but also in general cattle farming. The knowledge and understanding shared by the group is a very positive sign for both Irish farming and the Hereford breed going forward. After totting up the scores & again a tight margin between all Seniors; Sarah Murray was crowned the Senior Champion, Adrian Dockery was placed second and Kieran Power was placed third. Congratulation to Sarah & to all Senior participants.

Senior Champion: Sarah Murray, Shiloh Herefords, Westmeath.
Kieran Power, Sarah Murray, Adrian Dockery & Tennyson Egar, IHP.
Kirstin Cronin, Katie Cronin, Sarah Murray, Aine McCarthy, Annie Brady, Matthew Jennings, Adrian Dockery & Nathan Keogh.
Eoin Lynch, Michael Barrett, Tara Drumm, Elisa Drumm, Sarah Murray, Allanah Daly, Catherine Smyth, Adrian Bateman (IHBS President), Cillian Daly, Alice Appelbe, Dara Fitzgerald, Erik Appelbe, Aine Heffernan & Sinead Conry.

Next Gen Herefords are greatful to all young persons who got involved and competed and wish to congratulate all 30 entrants – the future of Irish Herefords & Irish farming is in safe hands!


As sponsors are such a huge part of the success of running any event, Next Gen Herefords were delighted to have the backing and support of Irish Hereford Prime, Farm Wardrobe & Tradeforus for this competition.

  • Irish Hereford Prime kindly sponsored a hoodie to each participant who took part in the event along with being involved in the organising and hosting of the event.
  • Farm Wardrobe kindly sponsored an Irish Hereford Winter Bundle to both the Intermediate & Senior Champion.
  • Tradeforus kindly sponsored €100 which was awarded as two €50 cash prizes from the free draw which was held at the end of the evening. Congratulations to Aine McCarthy & Daniel O’Connor on winning the draw along with Eoghan O’Connor & Isabella Dagg who won a Grooming kit each also.
Aine McCarthy, Niall Claffey from Tradeforus, Catherine Smyth (YH Judge) & Daniel O’Connor

Organisers & Volunteers

An event like this just wouldn’t be possible without help from kind volunteers. Next Gen Herefords would like to take this opportunity to thank all breeders who helped out during the day in preparation for the competition and the National Hereford Calf Show the next morning, all who helped out during the competition and all who lent calves to enable young breeders to compete in the event and get involved.

The Society would also like to thank the Next Gen Hereford organisers; Catherine Smyth, Sinead Conry, Eoin Lynch & Michael Barrett on the organising and running of such a successful event for young people.

Next Gen Herefords are busy working on plans for 2022 and will hopefully run a similar competition again next year amongst other events so stay tuned for more & all young persons are welcome!

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