Farm Ireland

Sunday 23 October 2016

Inventive minds come together at Tullamore Show

Some of the best inventions are born out of necessity on the farm

Derek Casey

Published 17/08/2016 | 02:30

Lesley Cox is charged with making sure the inventions section runs smoothly
Lesley Cox is charged with making sure the inventions section runs smoothly
Liam Murphy from Kilkenny came up with the the brilliant 'Shear Grab' idea
Darragh Egan from Mount Bolus pictured with his girlfriend Mary
The labour saving bale feeder invention from Darragh Egan from Mount Bolus
Joe Keniry from Youghal in Co Cork, pictured with his daughter Therese
Joe Keniry's Flood Defence System
Twins, Mary and Sarah Murphy from Crossmolina, Co Mayo
The 'Make a Mark' idea which offers an alternative way of marking sheep

Tullamore Show took place last Sunday, with around 60,000 visitors descending on Offaly for Ireland's biggest one day show. One section of Tullamore we are proud to support here at the Farming Independent is the Inventions Competition.

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The inventions arena draws out the curiosity and inventor in every one of us, and it's a must-visit area for everyone. This year a total fund of €2,500 in prize money was up for grabs, provided by three sponsors; the Farming Independent, WR Shaw, and Glenngorey Pumps Ltd.

The beauty of all the inventions at Tullamore is that they are usually born out of necessity on farms. They are not the idea of an engineer in an office, but instead the brainchild of a farmer who is faced with a common farming problem. Sunday was no different. I met some inspiring characters, and they all had an infectious enthusiasm in the search for the perfect invention. To be honest I didn't envy the judges' task of picking a winner in each category, but of course it has to happen and we publish the results here.

First place in the agriculture, horticulture and forestry section this year went to Liam Murphy for his brilliant moveable calf feeder idea. Mr Murphy, a Kilkenny man, is a serial inventor who seems to keep on producing great ideas. He never fails to disappoint, with this his second time claiming the top prize in recent years.

First place in the inventions in 'Home, Leisure and Building' category this year went to Corkman Joseph Keniry for his flood defence system. Meanwhile, the top spot in the labour saving class went to Cork woman Marjorie Broderick for her impressive "Companion Quad" idea, which sees a dairy farmer's dream quad bike being able to do everything from taking soil samples to measuring grass covers. Last but not least, first place in the student category this year went to twins, Mary and Sarah Murphy, from Crossmolina in Mayo with their Make a Mark system for sheep.

2016 invention winners

Inventions in Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry

1 Liam Murphy

2 Darragh Egan

3 Marie Byrne

Inventions in home, leisure and building

1 Joseph Keniry

2 Frank Ryan

Inventions in labour saving

1 Marjorie Broderick

2 Aaron Duignan

3 William J Spring

Inventions by students

1 Mary Murphy

2 Darragh Egan

3 Aaron Duignan

Lesley Cox is the lady charged with making sure the Tullamore Inventions section goes off smoothly each year and, speaking to the Farming Independent on Sunday after another successful event, Ms Cox said she thinks the competition is going from strength to strength. "There was a real trend this year of repeat entrants, which is great to see," she explained. "We also had a really high standard of student entries and female inventors, which is encouraging because that is something we have been trying to encourage."


Joe Keniry from Youghal in Co Cork. Joe, pictured with his daughter Therese (above), claimed first prize in the 'Home, Leisure and Building' class with his idea for keeping floodwater out of homes. Called the Flood Defence System, Joe explains: "My system uses an easily expandable bolstering frame design that can be widened or shortened via a screw system to fit most domestic door shapes. A rubber seal around the edge of the frame makes a water tight barrier and gives homeowners an added two feet of protection in times of flooding.


It means people don't have to mess around with sand bags, and you don't need unsightly bolts in the door frame, unlike other systems." The Flood Defence System, above, is priced at €200 and Joe can be contacted at 087 3398794.


Liam Murphy, above, from Kilkenny is a man that needs no introductions in engineering circles, having previously come up with the brilliant 'Shear Grab' idea that went on to be mass produced by Tanco. By his own admission, Liam is Tullamore Show Inventions arena's biggest fan, and he always strives to provide an entry. This year was no different, and Liam has repeated his feat of winning top prize in the agriculture, horticulture and forestry section with his brilliant 'Moveable Calf Feeder' idea. He explained: "My idea came about from having to deal with feeding up to 100 calves onthe out farm. My invention can be hooked up to the tractor's front loader - the farmer simply drives right up to the field gate or ditch and then lowers the loader to drop the feeder down over the gate or ditch. You wait for five minutes while the calves are being fed; you don't even have to get down from the cab. When finished you just raise the loader and drive off again. The unit allows you to feed up to 100 calves at a time, and it is easily road transportable by folding back into a half moon shape that ensures good road visibility. It saves so much hassle in wet ground, avoiding the need for damaging soil or dragging a trailed feeder around with a quad while calves descend on you." Liam's idea is likely to be priced at around €2,500 and can be seen at the upcoming National Ploughing Championships next month. He can be contacted on 086 2203054.



Darragh Egan from Mount Bolus in Offaly impressed the judges with his clever labour saving bale feeder invention that came about after his girlfriend’s father suffered a stroke and was finding it difficult to continue feeding livestock on the farm. The events spurred Darragh into action, resulting in a device (below) that allows farmers to lift a bale feeder with the bale lifter, tip the bale off of the bale lifter and then drop the feeder back onto the bale – all without getting off the tractor or having to manually push and lift the bale feeder around in mucky conditions.


Darragh, pictured above with his girlfriend, Mary, comes from a farming background and is, perhaps unsurprisingly, currently studying civil engineering in Carlow. The product is priced at around €1,000, and those interested can contact Darragh on 087 2681620.


Twins, Mary and Sarah Murphy from Crossmolina, Co Mayo (above) won first place in the student inventors category for their ‘Make a Mark’ idea, offering an alternative way of marking sheep. The girls set up the business as part of transition year and already have it stocked in three outlets in Mayo. “We want people to forget about having to mark sheep with a brush or stick because it’s too messy,” explained Mary Murphy. “Instead, our system uses a sheep marking gun similar to a grease gun, with a cartridge containing the colour of your choice. There is a choice of two nozzles depending on whether the farmer wants to apply the fluid deep into the sheep’s wool in a small spot or alternatively in an even strip on the animal.” The girls say a marking gun (below) with cartridge and applicator nozzle can all be purchased for €65 and orders can be placed at


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