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