About The National Trial

National Trials are held by the ISDS annually each summer in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The top 150 Irish sheepdogs and their handlers compete for a chance to represent Ireland at the Annual International Trials each year, usually held in September. Each handler can enter a maximum of three dogs, but only two of these may run, the third being an ‘alternate’ dog who may be substituted for one of the two.

The Irish National takes place over three days; the five highest scoring competitors from each day win a place in the Irish team. At the end of the third day's competition, there is a runoff between the winners from each day to find the overall Irish Champion and the Irish team captain. Each National Team has 15 places and one reserve place, so competition is fierce.

During the lunch break every day, whilst the singles competitors and singles judges seek refreshment, the best Brace teams in Ireland compete before the Brace judges to find the Irish National Brace Champion. They also have the honour of representing their country at the International Trial.  


2018 Irish Team

1st and Irish National Champion Paul O'Donnell with Limber

2nd James James Mc Laughlin with Ben 

3rd Paddy Fanning with Bruce

4th James McCloskey with Sweep

5th Franky McCullough with Spot

6th John Brennan with York

7th James P Mc Gee with Glencregg Silver

8th Aidan P Gallagher with Cain

9th Wilton Goligher with Moss

10th James P Mcgee with Ardagh Maid

11th Con Mcgarry with Tara

12th Simon Mosse with Dunedin Peg

13th Joey Walsh with Peg

14th James McLaughlin with Dan

15th Ned O'keeffe with Dunedin Tina

Reserve William Gallagher with Moss


2018 Irish National Champion Paul O'Donnell with Limber

Photo courtesy of Bo Davidson



2018 Irish National Team

Photo courtesy of Bo Davidson



2018 Irish Brace Champion

John F Maginn with Lad and Kate

Reserve Con McGarry with Tara and Cora


John F Maginn with Lad and Kate

Photo courtesy of Bo Davidson



2018 Young Handler

Caolan Byrne with Ava

Photo courtesy of Bo Davidson