First Mogeely, then the world

THE National Ploughing Association of Ireland yesterday formally accepted the challenge of hosting next year’s world championships at Tullow in Co Carlow.

This year’s national championships on September 27, 28 and 29 at Mogeely in East Cork is the immediate priority, but NPA managing director Anna May McHugh told World Ploughing Organisation delegates in Prague in the Czech Republic yesterday that next year’s world event in Ireland will mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Association she heads.

The 2006 world contest will take place on September 29 and 30 in Grangeford, Tullow, preceded by the national ploughing championships, machinery and livestock exhibition on September 27 and 28.

Mrs McHugh said thousands attend the Irish national championships every year to see more than 300 competitors in 17 finals, and to visit a 50 acre trade arena.

The world contest is expected to attract record Irish attendance figures. “No doubt, this is a tremendous challenge and commitment for our Association, which we accept with great pride and enthusiasm,” she said.

She said the NPA is one of the oldest national ploughing bodies in the world, and works very hard to keep the art of ploughing alive in rural communities, and she looked forward to the world contest being a great motivator for young Irish competitors.

For the first time, Ireland is represented in the reversible plough competition at this year’s world championships, which take place in Prague tomorrow and Saturday. That honour belongs to John Whelan, New Ross, Co Wexford, who won the national title at Tullow last year. He will be one of 30 competitors.

John Tracey, Garyhill, Co Carlow, placed second on four occasions, will be all out to win the conventional ploughing title, against 27 other contenders.

Team manager Liam O’Driscoll, Knockbrown, Bandon, Co Cork, the team manager, said he was confident the two Irish competitors will do well.

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