JOHN Hayes is synonymous with Cappamore Show and now Limerick Show has a rugby player on its side who is fast becoming a Munster legend too – the mighty CJ Stander.
The giant South African backrow forward wasn’t just there to pose for photographs and sign autographs – which he did in abundance – he grew up on a farm and knows his Simmentals from his Shorthorns.
“When I got the invite it was great, I knew I could come for free!” he joked.
“This [farming] is something I enjoy, it is my passion and this is my hobby. That is what we do back home, we farm,” said CJ.
He spoke to the Leader after a stroll around the cattle section and posed with siblings Martin and Clodagh Ryan’s nine-year-old Charolais cow, Goldstar Adorable.
In the unlikely event that he gets tired of the oval ball game CJ would get a job on any farm in the county. At dosing time there would be no need for a cattle crush as he could nearly tuck the animals under his arm!
The Stander’s have a farm between 700 to 900 hectares in size – 1,730 to 2.220 acres.
“We milk about 290 to 320 cows, it depends. We have vegetables, pigs and some poultry – that is why we have the amount of hectares.
“We have Friesians and we milk some Jerseys and Ayrshires as well. The Jerseys help with protein and milk solids.
“It is a big farm but dad always says the other three don’t make money but the dairy cows always brings money in,” said CJ, who was with his wife Jean-Marié.
“It is our first Limerick Show and first of many. She is also from a farming background and she enjoys it too. We are going to walk around now, enjoy the sights and see the cattle,” said the man who is even considering joining the farming ranks in Limerick.
“I am into the dairy side. I like the Jerseys but I saw a Belgian Blue the other day and I am quite impressed by them. Maybe one day I’ll see if I can go into meat and see what I can do with them.”
After retirement – many years in the future, as CJ is only 25 – he says he will do something in farming.
“It doesn’t matter where. I was looking in Limerick to rent a few acres, get a few cattle but it is just the timing. For sure, I am going to get back into farming,” said CJ.
Thoughts turn to different types of fields – ones in England and Wales and how Ireland will fare in the World Cup.
“Preparation is going good, they have had some good games, against Wales especially. It is good to see some of the Munster guys coming back – Keith Earls is playing unbelievable.
“It is going to be a great World Cup. I can’t wait to watch it,” said CJ, who appropriately was wearing a green shirt on the day. That could become a regular thing. “I qualify [for Ireland] in November. It would be great to pull on the green jersey one day for Ireland.
“It’s something I want to do in the near future, we’ll see how it works out and wait until November,” concluded the friendly CJ.