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Wednesday 12 December 2018

East takes top two ploughing titles as more than 80,000 brave the rain

 

Official figures put the attendance on the first day in the region of 97,000, while yesterday’s official attendance figures were announced as 81,500. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Official figures put the attendance on the first day in the region of 97,000, while yesterday’s official attendance figures were announced as 81,500. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Wexford man John Whelan and Eamonn Tracy of Carlow will represent Ireland at the World Ploughing Championships in the US next year, after taking the top two titles in Tullamore yesterday.

Mr Tracy took the top prize in the conventional class at the world championship earlier this month in Germany, while Mr Whelan secured silver for Ireland in the reversible class at the competition.

Anna Marie McHugh, general secretary of the World Ploughing Organisation, said: "Ireland has always been highly respected internationally in terms of producing ploughmen to compete on the world stage."

Kilkenny man John Cottrell won the junior conventional plough class, while Jeremiah Delaney, from East Cork, won the special horse plough class.

Ploughing competitions continued to take place on Wednesday, despite the rest of the site being closed to the public, and the winners were announced yesterday at the National Ploughing Championships, as heavy rain hit the already-damaged site.

Crowds at this year's National Ploughing Championships are down considerably, as the event was forced to cancel its second day, which is usually the biggest day for attendance, after Storm Ali ripped through the site in the early hours of Wednesday morning, leaving a trail of wrecked and damaged tents and marquees on the site.

Official figures put the attendance on the first day in the region of 97,000, while yesterday's official attendance figures were announced as 81,500.

Many had expected a bumper attendance yesterday, with disappointed visitors from Wednesday expected to return to the Tullamore site.

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However, many exhibitors reported that footfall was slow yesterday morning and picked up only at lunchtime, before the heavens opened on the site, putting a further dampener on the afternoon.

While the event was initially delayed on Wednesday, the NPA eventually called the day off and allowed only exhibitors on the site to assess the damage at 3pm after health and safety officials had assessed the area.

A number of exhibitors had their marquees completely destroyed and in some cases had to call in emergency marquees to be erected in the early hours of yesterday.

Ms McHugh, who is also general secretary of the National Ploughing Association, said the event running today would mean that exhibitors would have the opportunity to exhibit again. However, the cost of damage to many exhibitors' stands is expected to run into the thousands.

With the event now taking place today, this will add significant costs to exhibitors as they absorb an extra day of costs including insurance and staffing.

Irish Independent



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