Wednesday 22 May 2019

Dan Donnelly celebrated as European ploughing champion

Dan Donnelly with his father Billy Donnelly and children Bethany and DJ Donnelly
Dan Donnelly with his father Billy Donnelly and children Bethany and DJ Donnelly

Cathy Lee

The people of Kilmuckridge came out in force to celebrate the achievements of champion ploughman, Dan Donnelly following his most recent crowning, taking home a gold medal position at the European Ploughing Championships.

Dan said that he was blown away by the support from his locality as about 300 people covered the streets, parading with Dan and his tractor, alongside family and friends.

'I was so absolutely proud to see everyone out, we weren't expecting that many people at all but it meant the whole world,' said Dan.

Dan explained that farming and ploughing is vital in the lives of the people in Kilmuckridge, describing it as 'second to none' and that his life would be entirely different without the 'one big family' he has from ploughing.

'I took it up because of my father, Billy Donnelly, and I started ploughing in fourth class, when I went to Blackwater National School,' he said

'I looked up to heroes like Eamonn Tracey, Martin Keogh and John Whelan, they were heroes when I started and they're heroes today,' Dan added.

Dan Donnelly was 16 years of age during his first All Ireland ploughing competition, and went on to win the national title in 2001, 2002 and 2003, in the reversible category.

Dan Donnelly took fourth place last year and won the stubble competition at the Worlds in Russia, after falling ill after the first day.

'I am hoping to go back, I think deep down Russia owes me something,' Dan explained.

Looking to the future, next for Dan Donnelly is the National Ploughing Championship, which takes place annually in September, and he hopes to win the title again here.

Looking to the next generation in Dan's son DJ Donnelly, Dan said he is already 'too interested' in ploughing at the age of 13.

The St Colman's pipe band were on hand as well to show support in song before Dan's presentation, and Dan wishes to thank the local committee for their outstanding organisation on the night as well as his daughter, Bethany Donnelly.

Gorey Guardian