The 70th Northern Ireland International Ploughing Championships, sponsored this year by Donnelly & Taggart, Eglinton in Bushmills, played host to the 2013 5 nations Ploughing Contest. and had a truly “international” entry.
As part of the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association’s special anniversary celebration, top ploughmen from across the UK and Ireland battled it out in two classes – conventional and reversible ploughing - to be crowned 5 Nations Ploughing Champion. Speaking at the recentl launch of the event, NIPA Chairman, Wilson Holden, said “We are looking forward to hosting top competitors from NI, Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales to compete in the five Nations Ploughing Championships which will run in conjunction with our national finals. Two competitors represented each country in the World Style conventional and reversible classes. Northern Ireland has been a world leader in ploughing contests and have won the 5 Nations Ploughing Contest several times.” He continued, “We are looking forward to hosting top competitors from across the UK & Ireland it what will be a great competition held on a famous site and on some of the best ploughing ground in Northern Ireland.”
The 5 Nations competitors were joined the NI finals, ploughing on both Friday & Saturday, with the 5 Nations Champion in each class determined from the aggregate score from both days. The winner of the 5 Nations Team event was used by adding each country’s total points over the two days ploughing.
Meet the Northern Ireland team
Northern Ireland had two competitors at the 5 Nations Ploughing Contest in Bushmills on 18th & 19th October and we spoke to both competitors who were busy practicing for the up-and-coming contest.
PAT O’DONNELL- MOY PLOUGHING SOCIETY
Pat, aged 47, is a fitter from Coalisland and is a member of the Moy Ploughing Society. Pat initially start ploughing in the novice class competing with a ferguson tractor and plough. He then bought a Kverneland plough for his son, Ryan, who took up world style ploughing, and Pat too moved to world style ploughing approximately 10 years ago.
Pat has ploughed at the All-Ireland Ploughing Championships, but this is his first time representing Northern Ireland at the 5 Nations Contest. He is married to Bernie and has 3 sons, Eamon Ryan & Padriac.
MARTIN STEWART – COLERAINE PLOUGHING SOCIETY
Martin Stewart is aged 29 and is from Garvagh and works as a service engineer for BC Plant, Limavady. Martin has been ploughing now for over 15 years, and claims he was introduced to the sport by the "auld boy", his father Thomas Stewart.
Martin initially started out his ploughing career in conventional ploughing and moved to reversible ploughing ten years ago. He has represented Northern Ireland at National and International levels since and was crown champion of the Five Nations Reversible Class in 2010 and again in 2011.
Speaking ahead of the event Martin stated “I am extremely proud to be representing NI in the upcoming 5 Nations Contest and especially when this is on home soil. Preparation in now in full swing and with the machinery all set I am hopeful to do well. I have ploughed on this site the last time our national finals were held here and it’s great ploughing ground so I am looking forward to the contest”
Martin will be ploughing with a New Holland tractor and Kverneland plough and was looking to reclaim the crown he last won in 2011. Martin’s father, Tom, ploughed in the NI Conventional class.
Friday’s ploughing includeed Northern Ireland World Style conventional & reversible classes, 5 Nations Contest and Vintage classes with finals on the Saturday along with Ladies class, Classic class and horse ploughing.
5 Nations Conventional Competitors
PAT O’DONNELL NORTHERN IRELAND
GARY SIMMS (DONEGAL) REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
STUART VICKERS ENGLAND
IAN WILLIAMS SCOTLAND
ALED MORGAN WALES
5 Nations Reversible Competitors
MARTIN STEWART NORTHERN IRELAND
BRIAN MAHON (OFFALY) REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
JOHN EDWARDS ENGLAND
GORDON BEATTIE SCOTLAND
WYN JONES WALES