Team Ireland reclaimed the prestigious Home International title at The Game Fair last weekend, making it the seventh time they’ve reigned supreme since the gundog competition was originally founded in 1969.
Held at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales each worked five spaniels in the morning and five retrievers in the afternoon of the two-day event, in a series of demanding tests designed to best demonstrate each dog’s ability, with all the dogs’ performances contributing towards the overall team score.
The top prize in the competition—the coveted Shooting Times Trophy and a cash award of £200—was presented to Ireland’s team captain Willie Edgar for finishing in first place on 931 points. Ireland’s winning team was made up of William Megaughin, Louis Rice, Willie Edgar and Ian Blair who all ran spaniels; and Damian Newman, John Barr, Declan Boyle and Sean Diamond, who ran retrievers. Second place went to Wales, captained by Alan Rees on 918 points, with England coming third on 900 points captained by David Latham and Scotland finishing fourth on 847 points captained by Joe Maclure.
Held every year and forming the centre piece of the gundog events at The Game Fair, this year’s Home International took place in the International Gundog Arena on the Saturday and Sunday of the event.
Willie Edgar, captain of the Irish team, commented that they have not won since 2013: “There’s been months of training and a lot of hard work. Coming from Ireland we haven’t a big population of gundogs, so to win, this really puts us amongst the top gundogs in the world. We were running both retrievers and spaniels but in the morning the spaniels won their competition by 60 points, giving the retrievers a bit of a comfort zone. Thankfully the retrievers held their own, which led us to win the whole competition. We would like to thank our two sponsors CSJ Dog Food and Countrysports Ireland.”