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HomeFarming News‘There is something special about representing Team Ireland, on home soil’ –...
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘There is something special about representing Team Ireland, on home soil’ – Sammy Long

Northern Ireland is set to host the World Sheepdog Trials for the very first time, as the global event makes its way to Gill Hall Estate, Dromore from the September 13th-16th, 2023.

Organised by the International Sheep Dog Society, the four-day event is expected to attract 50,000 spectators from across the world, with 240 competitors from over 30 countries vying to be named as ‘top dog’ with a World Champion announced at the end of the four-day event.

21 people from across the country have been selected to represent Team Ireland, including a grandfather and grandson duo, which is a first for the competition.

Sammy Long and Sam Fagan

Hailing from Ballybofey, in County Donegal, Sammy Long and his grandson, Sam Fagan, who is also the youngest competitor in the Senior Cup Competition, say that they are “honoured and immensely proud,” to be representing Team Ireland alongside each other this year.

“I have been taking part in sheepdog trials for a number of years but there is something special about representing Team Ireland, on home soil, and having my grandson by my side just makes me feel so proud,” Sammy explained.

“Many hours of training have gone into preparing for the World Sheepdog Trials.”

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“We know that we will be up against some tough competition, but I am confident that Team Ireland will be able to put on a stellar performance.”

“We have some very experienced partnerships on our team this year, which will certainly stand us in good stead.”

A testament to the global appeal of the World Sheepdog Trials, spectators from all corners of the world are expected to attend, delivering a significant economic benefit to businesses across Northern Ireland, with many visitors within the sheepdog community already booking extended trips.

“The arrival of the World Sheepdog Trials in Northern Ireland is a momentous occasion,” comments John McCullough, chairman of the World Trial Committee.

“We are honoured to showcase the exceptional talent and dedication of sheepdogs and their handlers on the global stage.”

“With competitors hailing from diverse countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and Finland, this event truly exemplifies the universal appeal of sheepdog trials.”

Gill Hall Estate

Venue host, Bill Porter, owner of Gill Hall Estate said the venue provides the “perfect backdrop” for this global event, offering not only a picturesque setting but also the space and facilities necessary to accommodate the competitors and spectators alike.

“We are hopeful that the ripple effect of the four-day event will extend well beyond the World Sheepdog Trials, benefitting local businesses and accommodation providers across the week and showcasing the incredible sights of Northern Ireland to visitors from across the globe.”

Situated just outside Dromore, County Down, Gill Hall Estate has been kindly made available to the International Sheep Dog Society for the event by Bill and James Porter.

For more information and to book tickets to the four-day event, visit

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