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PICTURE GALLERY: Feelgood awards honour leading local farmers

December 19th, 2021 1:30 PM

By Southern Star Team

Dairy Farmer of the Year Tom Griffin, Timoleague with category sponsor, Shane McCarthy from Allied Irish Bank.

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LEADING players in the local agricultural community were celebrated at the seventh Southern Star and Celtic Ross Hotel West Cork Farming Awards.

They took place in the Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery last Friday, and while it was a socially distanced event in line with public health requirements, there was still a strong sense of occasion, not to mention a huge feel good factor and camaraderie, as the six winners were recognised among their peers.

This year’s awards process commenced back in May when The Southern Star invited entries and nominations across our six categories: Young Farmer, Dairy Farmer, Drystock Farmer, Diversification, Hall of Fame, and Outstanding Contribution to West Cork Farming.

There was a healthy response and the judging panel, chaired by Southern Star MD Séan Mahon, who, along with John Buckley, Caroline Murphy, JJ Walsh, and Tom Curran agreed it was an encouraging reflection of the calibre of farmers in West Cork.

Our plans to hold a gala awards lunch in late November were dashed due to the rise in Covid numbers. However, Séan Mahon said: ‘We felt it was still very important to make sure we had an opportunity to celebrate and honour our winners and be able to present them with their trophies and certificates.’

Thanks was extended to sponsors of the event. They are: Allied Irish Bank, sponsors of the Dairy Farmer category; Drimoleague Concrete Works (Young Farmer category); IFAC (Hall of Fame); Scally’s SuperValu, Clonakilty (Diversification award); Bank of Ireland (Drystock Farmer) and Hodnett Forde Estate Agents, Clonakilty (Outstanding Contribution to West Cork Farming).

Thanks was also extended to new sponsor and partner Carbery for their support of the awards including CEO Jason Hawkins, Enda Buckley, Louise Kelly and Aoife Feeney. Teagasc Cork West were thanked for sponsoring a free technology advisory contract for 12 months for young farmer winner, Denise Twomey.

This will include technical farm visits, unlimited phone and office consultations for technical advice and scheme support. The event was held in association with Five Farms Irish Cream Liqueur, which along with Irish whiskey, contains cream from five family-run dairy farms in Cork.

Founded by Johnny Harte, guests got to sample the drink at the event, and were treated to samples in their goody back which also contained Carbery cheeses and confectionary from Bandon based Coolmore Foods.

Attendees were also gifted a supper box courtesy of The Celtic Ross which contained local cheeses and cold meats, as well as the hotel’s in-house bread, desserts and salads.

DAIRY FARMER OF THE YEAR

Dairy Farmer of the Year Tom Griffin, Timoleague with category sponsor, Shane McCarthy from Allied Irish Bank.

DRYSTOCK FARMER OF THE YEAR

Maire McCarthy and Mike Deasy, representing category sponsor Bank of Ireland, with Drystock farmer of the Year Clive Buttimer, Ballinascarthy.

HALL OF FAME

June Wood, representing category sponsor IFAC, with Finbarr Hurley from Kilbrittain, who is this year’s Hall of Fame award winner.

DIVERSIFICATION

Margaret O’Rourke from Scally’s SuperValu, Clonakilty with Diversification award winners, Clodagh, John, Joan and Gene Lynch of Bantry Bay Farm Foods.

YOUNG FARMER OF THE YEAR

Eugene Murnane of Drimoleague Concrete Works with Denise Twomey, Upton, the West Cork Farming Awards Young Farmer of the Year.

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION

Gus O’Brien, Bandon, this year’s winner of the Outstanding Contribution to West Cork Farming award with Andy Donoghue from Hodnett Forde, Clonakilty.

THE JUDGING PANEL

Members of the judging panel: Séan Mahon, managing director, The Southern Star (chair); JJ Walsh, business advisor; Caroline Murphy, West Cork Eggs; Tom Curran, regional manager with Teagasc for Cork West and John Buckley, dairy farmer and former Macra Young Farmer of the Year.

Tom Curran of Teagasc Cork South West with Denise Twomey, winner of the Young Farmer Award. Teagasc provided a prize of a free technology advisory contract for 12 months for the winner of this category

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