Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 March 2018

Irish pair firm favourites for European ploughing title but face tough competition

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Irish duo John Whelan and Dan Donnelly are the firm favourites to head the line up of the European Reversible Ploughing contest this week.

John Whelan is the reigning European champion in the event, having won the title in the Czech Republic last year.

His teammate and fellow Wexford man Dan Donnelly has previously been runner-up at European level.

However, the pair faces some stiff competition from their European counterparts. Some 25 contestants from 13 countries will take part in the competition, which begins on stubble ground on Wednesday and continues on ley ground on Thursday.

Former world and European champion David Wright, from Northern Ireland, is expected to put in a strong challenge, as will his teammate Adrian Jamison.

Andrew Mitchell from Scotland, twice European champion and World champion on one occasion, is another to watch closely. Welsh ploughman Ian Wilson has been in the winner's enclosure several times in the past, while Soren Korsgaard, from Denmark, is regarded as a serious contender.

However, for sheer dedication, the award must go to the team from the Netherlands, who arrived in Ireland on Wednesday and started practice immediately.

Ground conditions are challenging, according to James Sutton, organiser of the European contest.

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"The stubble will plough up very loose -- despite the rain we had, the ground is still very dry," he said.

"They have three hours to plough approximately half an acre each, so the pressure will be on."

Official practice for the European competitors takes place today between 8am and 4pm.

Irish Independent