Donegal men Keith Walsh and his uncle Liam Walsh, from Eddie Walsh & Sons Butchers in Donegal, have been named in the Team Ireland Butchers Line up that will represent Ireland at the next World Butchery Challenge which is taking place in Sacramento, California in 2020.
As the reigning World Champions, Team Ireland’s butchery team has just been revealed with the nine-strong team selected from the best butchers across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Keith Walsh, has also been named as Team Captain and will lead eight other butchers from all over Ireland, including Conor Reynolds, who recently won gold at the International Young Butcher competition in Perth and will represent the team in the Young Butcher category from M & W Farm Meats, Portadown Co. Armagh.
The other members of Team Ireland include Vice-Captain Paul Hamilton from Gary Coote Meats, Fivemiletown; WBC Ireland Judge Sean McKay from McKay’s Family Butchers in Ballycastle, Jim Murphy from Murphy's Family Butchers, Tullow, Co. Carlow; Ger O Callaghan from Drinagh Eurospar, Skibereen, Cork; Bryan McNamee from B & M Meats, Newry and Steven Dobson from Dunbia, Dungannon.
“To be named as the Best Butchers in the World in 2018 was an incredible experience. I was on the team, representing the ‘Young Butcher’ category and am both honoured and thrilled to be named as Team Captain for 2020.
“Our win in 2018 was incredibly tough as the competition from across the world is extremely high, and our win was hard fought, but we don’t intend on giving up our crown. For the next 12 months, the team and I are focused on ensuring Team Ireland remains the Best Butchers in the World,” comments Keith Walsh, Team Captain.
The World Butchers’ Challenge will see teams of six butchers, each team representing countries from around the world, go head to head, preparing innovative and creative meat products for a team of highly qualified judges. Team Ireland is managed by Rhonda Montgomery from Butchery Excellence International, the driving force behind Ireland’s bid to host the first-ever World Butchery Challenge to take place in Northern Ireland.
Team Ireland Manager and CEO of Butchery Excellence International, Rhonda Montgomery adds: “The high level of butchery skills displayed by Team Ireland in the World Butchery Challenge 2018 was world class. Our 2020 Team Ireland is supported by local companies including Dunbia, Dawn Meats, Prep House and PJD Safety Supplies, and their support is instrumental in helping us to send Team Ireland to the US to compete on a world-stage and showcase our skills and craftsmanship.
“Team Ireland will be demonstrating how our win in 2018 - the first year that Team Ireland competed – wasn’t down to the ‘luck of the Irish’ – it was a true reflection of the level of skill of our butchers here in NI and Ireland.”
For the next 16 months, Team Ireland will be in-training for the World Butchery Challenge, which is taking place in September 2020, meeting for full day training sessions at locations across Ireland.
Supported by Dunbia and Dawn Meats, Janet Dobson, comments: “We have a skilled and first-class meat and butchery industry here in Ireland and we are honoured to support a team that will further promote Ireland’s reputation on a world-stage.
“We were immensely proud of what Team Ireland achieved in 2018 and are hoping that the team, including Dunbia’s very own Steven Dobson, will bring home the bacon from Sacramento in September 2020.”
The World Butchers Challenge 2020 will take place in Sacramento, California, USA with over 12 teams from around the globe expected to take part. To follow Team Ireland’s journey, see www.Facebook.com/ButcheryExcellenceInternational
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