Two South Tipp men were among the best young ploughmen to take part in the National Ploughing Championships last week.
Lorcan Bergin and John O’Brien, both members of Poulmucka Ploughing Association, took places in their competition classes on Tuesday.
Lorcan was third in the Under 21 Conventional Class Senior Grade, and John was also a third place winner in the Under 28 Conventional Class Senior Grade.
A sixth year student at Cashel Community School, Lorcan was the county’s youngest representative at the Ploughing Championships, which was held just outside New Ross.
The Rosegreen man also had success at the competition last year, when he took the overall Under 21 cup.
Lorcan is following in the steps of his father Larry, himself an expert ploughman who is no stranger to prizes in ploughing competitions.
John O’Brien won the Under 28 junior grade two-furrow conventional match plough class last year, when the competition was held in Athy, moving him up to the senior class for the first time this year. He had taken second and third prizes in the junior class in the years before claiming the overall title.
Competitions starts in the morning once they reach the All Ireland match. Ploughing begins at 9.30am on match day, for 30 minutes. Then the judges inspect the work for about 40 minutes before the competitors start up again for nearly four hours of work, including closing up the earlier open run.
Results are called on the same evening, at about 6pm, from the main stand and on public address across the whole Ploughing gathering. “I’ve been ploughing in the All Ireland since I was old enough for a tractor licence, at 16,” John says. He began even earlier in the local competitions, when he was 12 or 13, in the Under 21 class, as it is the youngest class. He is now 25. “You usually don’t start on your own, your father starts you and my father started me. He ploughs in the All Ireland too in the two-furrow mounted vintage class.”
Joey Doherty, another South Tipp ploughman, took fourth place in the Macra 2 Furrow Conventional Class on Thursday, the final day of the competition.