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Farmer Dermot toes line to victory

A broken toe caused by a falling gate helped a young Limerick man to win the Macra na Feirme Young Farmer of the Future competition, writes Darragh McCullough.

Dermot O'Connor (28) beat 27 rivals to scoop the €3,000 travel bursary at an awards ceremony in Kinnitty Castle, Co Offaly last night.

A two-week lay-up after an accident involving a 20ft-long steel gate allowed the civil engineering graduate to work out a five-year financial plan for the family dairy farm. The detailed calculations helped impress the judges.

Mr O'Connor, from Shanagolden, is only in his fifth year as a full-time farmer. Previously, he was working as a civil engineer.

Mr O'Connor returned home in 2008 to form a dairy partnership with his father. The following year he built a house, in 2010 he married his wife Hazel and last year the couple had their first child, Donncha. "It's been a great opportunity for Dermot and hopefully we're building something good for Donncha in the future too," Hazel said at the FBD-sponsored ceremony.

Irish Independent