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‘Farming was his first love’

A charity livestock sale will take place on Easter Monday at Bandon Mart to raise funds for cancer research in memory of Cork-based dairy farmer, Denis Canniffe, who died aged 37.

The fundraiser will be held at Bandon Mart on Monday, April 18, at 3:00p.m, but will also be open to buyers and spectators online via MartEye. The MC for the event will be “Tommy the Vet”, Tommy Heffernan.

Denis’ wife, Kate Canniffe, and Bandon Mart are seeking stock donations of all ages, male and female before the closing date of Tuesday, April 12.

All livestock sale proceeds will be donated to Breakthrough, an Irish medical research charity who will invest the funds in brain cancer research.

‘Farming was his first love’

Denis Canniffe from Bandon, Co. Cork, was just 37 years young and recently married when he passed away in October 2021.

He was farming part-time on the family dairy farm which is now in its third generation since his grandfather started the farm. Denis studied ag science at University College Dublin (UCD) and spent time in Australia and New Zealand milking cows.

Speaking to Agriland, his wife Kate said he was very passionate about dairy farming but also had great knowledge on tillage farming, with an interest in suckler farming, looking at genetics and animal health.

“Every evening after his full-time job he was back home milking cows, farming was his first love,” Kate added.

Denis Canniffee and his wife Kate
Denis and Kate Canniffe on the family dairy farm in Bandon, Co. Cork

Kate remembered that “even the day after brain surgery, I heard him milking the cows and just couldn’t believe it. Denis loved nothing more than milking the cows”.

“One thing he used to say was that, when he was helping on the farm, he would forget he was sick.”

Speaking to Agriland, Kate said she loved nothing more than jumping up in the tractor with him or going for walks through the farm.

“That was definitely where he was at his happiest,” she said.

Cancer research

Denis was diagnosed with Gliobastoma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer in June 2020.

Kate recalls seeking access to clinical trials and how shocked the couple was realising how little research funding goes into this form of cancer in Ireland.

“I’m thankful that it happened swiftly in the end and Denis never had to be told that there is no more hope,” his wife Kate said.  

“More investment needs to be put into new brain cancer treatments so that no one else has to go through this in the future.”

When he was feeling better, Denis said that he wanted to do something to raise money, he talked about maybe auctioning off one cow. Kate explained that she then wanted to run with something bigger. 

A financial contribution to the Denis Canniffe Memorial Fundraiser can be made via

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