Day 1

News from day one of the Irish National will be posted here.

For the latest scores, click here:





The 2017 Irish National got underway at 8am under drizzly skies on the Bridge Meadow at Bunclody. 
The trial is being held on land owned by the Hall-Dare Estate which lies on the County Wexford boundary. Bunclody is located seven miles from Enniscorthy, nestled in the foothills of Mount Leinster.
This year's singles judges are Barra O'Brien and Thomas Doherty and the brace is being judged by Seamus Gallagher and Brian Casey. The top five singles runs each day will qualify for the team.
The light rain cleared for most of the day with glimpses of sunshine and a cool breeze.
The course is set on a flat field with some dips and undulations. The River Slaney runs alongside to the left. On the far side of the riverbank there's a line of trees and to the right of the field there's mature woodland lining the course. Beyond the top of the field is a hill with sections of forestry, all of which provides a scenic backdrop to the action on the field.
Early on in the day more handlers favoured the right-hand outrun. Beyond the cross drive gates there's a bit of a dip running up the field before a bank rises to the fence line and the woodland.
In the afternoon a few more people opted for the left hand outrun. There are a number of hunter trials type cross country fences following the line of the river. A sheep netting face has been put up by the committee to stop dogs or sheep going into the river.
Behind the setting out pens at the top of the field there's a golf course, and players and golf buggies could be spotted through the trees.
The drives are left-handed and the cross drive gates have been missed by a few handlers throughout the day.
At around noon it was the turn of the doubles competitors. There were two good completed runs and one disqualification. Dennis Birchall is the current leader on 220 points with Peggy and Tweed. Sammy Long scored 214 running Roy and Jaybeez Broozer.
After lunch the judges brought in a standard in the singles with 36 more runs to go.
The sheep, owned by Robin Collier, have worked well. Some packets have proved tricky at the pen.
The sheep seemed more biddable as the day went on.
Toddy Lambe, this year's chief sheep steward, held the lead for some time with Ben on 182 points. 
At run 37 he was beaten by Allistair Lyttle and Scott. They scored 198.
A good late evening run from Martin O'Malley saw him take third place for the day with Gwenno.

Day 1 top five:
1, Allistair Lyttle, Scott, 198;
2, Toddy Lambe, Ben, 182;
3, Martin O'Malley, Gwenno, 178;
4, Kieran McFadden, Star, 175;
5, Peter Concannon, Sweep, 173. 
Reserve, James McCloskey, Sweep, 172.


Day one winner, Allistair Lyttle and Scott. PICTURE: Lisa Soar


Toddy Lambe was second, running Ben. PICTURE: Lisa Soar


Allistair's Scott. PICTURE: Lisa Soar


Martin O'Malley and Gwenno took third place late in the day. PICTURE: Lisa Soar


Current brace leader, Dennis Birchall with Peggy and Tweed. PICTURE: Lisa Soar


Sammy Long competing in the brace today. PICTURE: Lisa Soar