Belfast Telegraph

Ploughing: One field where Ireland leads the world

By Linda Stewart

We may fancy our chances — rather optimistically — at football or rugby. But the one area where Ireland can genuinely lay claim to being a world-class contender is ploughing.

What other discipline sees the Irish — North and South — regularly clean up at the world championships year after year?

There’s no doubt that Ireland is punching above its weight. The last few years have seen Northern Irish contenders making it into the top three on a regular basis — crowned by the two consecutive years that saw Hillsborough twins David and Samuel Gill take the world title one after the other.

And this week, the spotlight is on the National Ploughing Championships at Athy, Co Kildare, where last year’s European Reversible Ploughing champion, Wexford man John Whelan, will be defending his crown.

Thousands of visitors, including Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew, will be there to enjoy the fashion shows, games, bars and live music, sheep dog trials, sheep shearing and sheaf tossing.

Millions of euros worth of agricultural machinery and prime livestock will also be showcased. Full details of the championships are available at www.npa.ie.

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