Alistair bounces back to help Ireland to sheepdog title

PETTIGO sheepdog trialist, Alistair Lyttle, bounced back from disappointment to help Ireland become World Champions.

Alistair was part of the Irish team competing at the World Sheepdog Trials Championships at the Gill Hall Estate, Dromore in Co. Down.

Having been highly tipped to win the individual title, the 48-year-old who has been sheepdog trailing since the age of eight, suffered a surprise quarter-final exit.


However, Lyttle brushed aside his loss to help fellow team-mates, Martin O’Malley (Co. Mayo), Eamonn Connell (Co. Westmeath), Paddy Fanning (Co. Wicklow and James McCloskey (Co. Donegal) secure top spot in the team contest.

He said: “I’m happy enough with the what we achieved – and happy to get some sort of mention.

“There were competitors from 30 countries and the top five competitors had their times and scores going forward to the final totals in the team competition.

“You were timed on how quickly you and the dogs were able to do the course – and you had 15 minutes to complete that course.

“The judges scored you on outrun, left and fetch (50 points). You were also scored on the drive (30 points) and the shed pen single (30 points).

“We won but only by a small margin. We finished four points ahead of both Spain and Portugal with the USA team not far behind as well.

“The team event was run throughout qualify so we were all out at different stages. So there was no wait to watch the other teams. It was all very staggered and it was just a case of the judges totting up all our scores.


“It was a bit nerve-wracking waiting for them to do that because you just didn’t know how it was going to turn out.”

Not as nerve-wracking as it was when his exit in the individual trial was confirmed.

“The last dog that went out on the Wednesday evening pushed me out from making the semi-finals,” added Alistair.

“That particular evening was more nerve-wracking than waiting for the team results – not to mention the disappointment that came with it.

“But that gave me more time to focus on the team competition and more determination to go out and help the team win given what happened in the individual rounds.”

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