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In pictures: competing in the senior reversible at Ploughing 2016
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In pictures: competing in the senior reversible at Ploughing 2016

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Browse through our photo story of Tom Donnelly, competitor in the Kverneland Reversible Test Match, at Ploughing 2016.
Browse through our photo story of Tom Donnelly, competitor in the Kverneland Reversible Test Match, at Ploughing 2016.

Tom Donnelly moves slowly and deliberately through the field, ploughing the rich and compact earth. He steps off his tractor periodically to measure the width and height of his furrows, the gleam off his reversible plough blades winking in the sunlight.

Tom, 51, a Wexford man who ploughs for Wicklow, is 11 years at the Ploughing Championships this year. He already has two medals in his pocket, having won silver in reversible at the Five Nations contest in 2009 and bronze in 2008 in the European Championships in Denmark.

His father, Billy Donnelly, 75, is a judge in the junior conventional class and his brother Dan, 44, is competing against him in the reversible class.

Tom says the ultimate goal of a good plougher is “to create a fine seedbed for planting”. The judges are looking for “straightness” and “uniformity” in the plots.

He’s been using his Kverneland competition plough, a John Deere 4x4, since 2000.

“The difference between conventional and reversible is that conventional leaves ridges in the finished soil. Reversible leaves it more level,” he tells us. It takes three hours and twenty minutes altogether for Tom to finish ploughing his plot. Then it's time for the judges to inspect the finished product.

When the overall results are announced on Wednesday evening, Tom comes in a strong fourth place. He is pipped at the post by his brother Dan who comes in third. Bronze medallist at this year's World Ploughing Championships, John Whelan, takes home the gold.

Listen to an interview with Ollie Furey, a judge in the Standard 3 Furrow Reversible Class, below

Read more

Ploughing Championships 2016

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