Last week, the ploughing competitions were the only thing on display at the National Ploughing Championships.

There wasn’t a free pen, a cowboy hat or a potato peeler in sight and it was refreshing.

The small crowd in attendance were enjoying the peace and the focus on the skill of ploughing for what is the 90th year of the championships.

While much has changed since the first competitors fought it out all those years ago, the horse ploughs were still to be seen in Ratheniska, Co Laois, last week.

However, the mainstay of the ploughing plots were occupied by two-furrow conventional and reversible ploughs, many of which are kitted out with numerous rams and hydraulics, but all with the same aim of ploughing the neatest plot and creating an even and uniform seedbed.

There was a change to the winning names at senior level. Martin Kehoe and Dan Donnelly claimed the honours for 2021 in the two-furrow conventional and reversible classes, respectively.

Among the competitors was a man just a month away from his 89th birthday. Paddy Sheridan from Co Mayo was competing in the Junior A conventional plough class, aboard a Massey Ferguson. He first ploughed with a tractor in 1957, with a Ferguson TE20.

Managing director of the National Ploughing Association Anna May McHugh said the focus is all on the ploughing this year.

“Competition ploughing before the national event is wonderful but they were deprived of that this year and yet the standard here is very high, but the ground is excellent.

“Even though they’re saying it’s very dry, but for many years we had it too wet,” she said.

The top three places from each competition are outlined below. The Irish Farmers Journal was live from the event.

Competitors ploughing in the reversible plough classes in Ratheniska, Co Laois. \ Claire Nash

Results from day one

Three-furrow conventional senior plough class

1. Billy Donnelly – Wexford.

2. Colm Dineen – Kerry.

3. James Prendergast – Waterford.

Three-furrow conventional junior plough class

1. Noel Howley – South Tipperary.

2. Jim Barrett – Cork east.

3. Andrew Tully - Cavan.

Under-21 conventional senior plough class

1. Robert O’Brien – Wexford.

2. Steve Tracey – Carlow.

3. James O’Sullivan – Cork west.

Under-21 conventional junior plough class

1. Cormac Goode – Laois.

2. Daniel Haughey – Longford.

3. Daniel Burke – Kerry.

Under-28 conventional senior plough class

Frank Cullen, Wexford, competing in the under-28 conventional class at the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, Co Laois. \ Donal O'Leary

1. Frank Cullen – Wexford.

2. Gerard Kirby – Cork west.

3. Lee Simms - Donegal.

Under-28 conventional junior plough class

1. Padraig Deery – Monaghan.

2. Michael J. Donegan – Kerry.

3. Andrew Stewart - Longford.

Under-28 reversible plough class

1. Stephen Whelan – Wexford.

2. Eric Wickham – Wexford.

3. Flor Wycherley – Cork west.

Intermediate conventional plough class

1. Seán Tracey – Carlow.

2. Padraig Brandon – Laois.

3. John Cottrell - Kilkenny.

Intermediate reversible plough class

1. Brian Ireland – Kilkenny.

2. Michael Wycherley – Cork west.

3. Colin Ruttle – Limerick.

Under-40 horse plough class

1. Jeremiah Delaney – Cork east.

2. Stephen Payne – Wicklow.

3. Eoin Hand – Monaghan.

Vintage two-furrow trailer plough class

1. Aeneas Horan – Kerry.

2. David Grattan – Co Down, Northern Ireland.

3. Jim Cullen - Wexford.

Novice reversible plough class

1. Conor Ryan – Kilkenny.

2. Daniel Tobin – Cork west.

3. Jason Caulfield – Wexford.

Results from day two

Senior conventional plough class day one (no particular order)

  • Larry Bergin - south Tipperary.
  • Christopher Cartin - Westmeath.
  • Seán Keating - Wexford.
  • Eamonn Tracey - Carlow.
  • Kieran Coakley - west Cork.
  • Padraig Brandon - Laois.
  • Mathew Simms - Donegal.
  • Seán Tracey - Carlow.
  • Barry Kent - Wexford.
  • Gary Simms - Donegal.
  • Martin Kehoe - Wexford.
  • John Murphy - west Cork.
  • Senior reversible plough class day one (no particular order)

  • Paul Keating - Wexford.
  • Michael Wycherley - west Cork.
  • Gary Ireland - Kilkenny.
  • Tom Donnelly - Wicklow.
  • Jer Coakley - West Cork.
  • Stephen Whelan - Wexford.
  • Dan Donnelly - Wexford.
  • Liam O’Driscoll - west Cork.
  • Enda Kelly - Offaly.
  • John Whelan - Wexford.
  • Brian Mahon - Offaly.
  • Farmerette conventional plough class

    1. Siobhán Dermody - Kilkenny.

    2. Joanne Deery - Monaghan.

    3. Ellen Nyhan - west Cork.

    Macra two-furrow conventional plough class

    1. David Walsh - west Cork.

    2. William Mulcahy - east Cork.

    3. Gerard Mahon - Offaly.

    Vintage two-furrow mounted plough class

    1. Joe Kelly - Galway.

    2. Oliver Smyth - Meath.

    3. Tom Beausang - Waterford.

    Senior horse plough class

    1. JJ Delaney – east Cork.

    2. Gerry Reilly - Galway.

    3. Leslie Hanbridge - Wicklow.

    Results from day three

    Senior conventional test match

    1. Martin Kehoe - Wexford.

    2. Eamonn Tracey - Carlow.

    3. Gary Simms – Donegal.

    Gary Simms from Co Donegal ploughing in the test match of the senior conventional plough class. \ Claire Nash

    Kverneland reversible test match day two

    1. Dan Donnelly - Wexford.

    2. Jer Coakley -west Cork.

    3. John Whelan - Wexford.

    Junior conventional A plough class

    1. Maurice Walsh - Waterford.

    2. John Healy - Kerry.

    3. Martin Reilly - Longford. Junior conventional B plough class

    1. Ger Frost - Clare.

    2. Séamus McConnon - Monaghan.

    3. Seán Gilligan - Galway.

    Standard three-furrow reversible plough class

    1. Noel Byrne - Wexford.

    2. Frankie Gowing - Offaly.

    3. Timothy Lawlor - west Cork.

    Vintage single-furrow mounted plough class

    1. Eoin Buttle - Dublin.

    2. Trevor Fleming - east Cork.

    3. Gordon Jennings - west Cork.

    Special horse plough class

    1. James Kilgirrife - Galway.

    2. Tommy Pierce - Wicklow.

    3. Noel Hand - Monaghan.

    Novice conventional senior plough class

    1. Noel Nyhan - west Cork.

    2. Ailish Osbourne - Kildare.

    3. Kyle Bookle - Kilkenny.

    Novice conventional junior plough class

    1. Lorna Byrne - Laois.

    2. Emma Gowing - Offaly.

    3. Jack Kearney - Westmeath.

    Vintage single-furrow pedestrian tractor class

    1. David Levingstone - Wexford.

    2. Joseph Kehoe - Wexford.

    3. Gavan Duffy - Meath.

    Quotable quotes

    I’m ploughing since 1957. We got a tractor at that time in 1956

    – Paddy Sheridan, Co Mayo

    Paddy Sheridan from Co Mayo was ploughing on day three of Ploughing 2021. \ Claire Nash

    Don’t forget they’re all here ploughing for an All-Ireland title. It’s for posterity. It’s to get your name into those history books

    – Séamus Duggan, Co Laois

    It formed a sod a lot better today, yesterday seemed a lot sandier ground. It turned over nicer yesterday, today the clay held together a lot better

    – Gary Ireland, Co Kilkenny.

    It’s very hard and dry as you’d expect. There was very little rain this last couple of months down here

    – Gary Simms, Co Donegal.

    Gary Simms from Co Donegal came in in third place in the senior conventional two-furrow plough class. \ Claire Nash