Masters of the plough
Eamonn Treacy is Denmark-bound to defend his world ploughing title
World Champion ploughman Eamonn Treacy will have a bounce in his step when he travels to Denmark this week to defend his title.
In previous years, the father-of-three made the long journeys with a niggling doubt in the back of his mind over whether he would ever win the coveted title.
His father, John, had been in the difficult position of being six times runner-up in the World Championship, while Eamonn had come close on more than one occasion.
"I was knocking on the door for a few years. Last year the door finally opened," says the man from Garryhill in Co Carlow of his victory in France last year after competing in every championship since 1998, bar one when his wife Ailish went into labour as he was headed for the ferry.
"This thing creeps into your head, are you ever going to win it. Maybe you're never going to do it," he says, explaining the land in France meant every ploughman's plot was equal and no one was handed an unfair advantage.
"It was a totally equal contest plus the fact that I was up against five former world champions as well. It was unusual to be up against that many. To win in a field like that was special.
"I suppose that monkey is off my back now. I have won it and the pressure is off I suppose," he laughs. "Having said that it will be all guns blazing to defend it. I suppose my point is I have it proven. My name is on the trophy."
The National Ploughing Championships may have evolved to showcase a lot more than ploughing, yet the plough is still at the core of the event with scores of competitors to be spotted in action on the day.