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Meet Ireland’s sheep shearing team

Irish sheep shearers in New Zealand for World Championships

Team Ireland are competing in the World Sheep Shearing Championships in Invercargill, New Zealand from today, Wednesday February 8 to Saturday February 11.

The team consists of a team manager, two judges and six competitors who either specialise in blade shearing, open machine shearing or wool handling. Each team member has a very important role in helping the team shear their way to victory!

Mike Walshe – Irish team manager

Native to county Wicklow, Mike has managed the team of sheep shearers since 2014. Mike was previously a competition shearer and has competed at the Spring Show in the RDS in Dublin against the world championships chairman Tom Wilson. Tom’s key role is to mentor the team of shearers.

Ivan Scott – Open machine shearer

Ivan Scott is an open machine shearer as well as the team captain. This Donegal man is the number one shearer in the northern hemisphere and has previously set a Guinness World record for speed shearing.

Stanley Allingham – Open machine shearer

Our second machine shearer from county Fermanagh most definitely has a great deal of sheep shearing experience. Stanley has shorn for four years in Australia, six years in New Zealand and has represented our country in three Six Nations and two World Championship competitions.

Peter Heraty – Blade shearer

From the young age of 12, Peter has learned the fine art of both machine and blade shearing. This sheep farmer from county Mayo has since won numerous u18 All Ireland titles, four All Ireland blade shearing finals and one international blade shearing final. He has also represented Ireland in two world championships.

Noel Joyce – Blade shearer

Noel, who is also from county Mayo, grew up on a farm where they had predominantly sheep. He became interested in shearing from a young age and is now a full-time hill sheep farmer. He came second place in the 2016 All Ireland finals and performed well in the Irish circuit in 2016. This is his first time in New Zealand.

George Graham – Wool handler

George is the eldest member of the team and has represented Ireland in nine world championships. George has extensive experience in sheep shearing. For 22 years he represented Ireland on the Golden Shears World Council and in 2012 became their vice chairman. He was a runner-up at the All Ireland sheep shearing competition twice and has performed very well in several competitions around the world.

Joe Boylan – Wool handler

Joe is the youngest team member and this is his first trip to New Zealand. This is also his first time representing Ireland in the world championships. In 2015 he won junior at the German Shears and more recently in 2016 he won intermediate at NISSA Shears.

Godfrey Potterson – Judge

You may recognise this team member from summer activities at Family Farm, developed by Agri Aware and Dublin Zoo. Godfrey is an experienced hand shearer and has been a judge for five years. In 2014 he judged at his first world championships in Gorey. This will be his second time judging in a world championship.

Tom Dunne – Judge

Chairman of the Irish Sheep Shearers Association, Tom is a diligent worker for the association. He has represented Ireland in many competitions in the past in both the UK and New Zealand.

Competition

Agri Aware is running a BAA-rilliant competition to support the boys from the other side of the globe. We invite you, fellow sheep shearer supporters, to send in pictures of you and your friends in your woolly jumpers with your messages of kindness and support to Agri Aware at office@agriaware.ie, on Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat @agriaware. We will choose the best photo after the championships and present the winner with some BAA-eautiful Agri Aware goodies!

Again, best of luck to the lads! Go n-éirí an t-ádh leo!