Tributes were paid this week to ‘the scupltor of the sod’- All Ireland winning Loy champion, Pat Campbell.
Hailing from Corneddan, Ballinalee, the father of seven was without doubt one of the midlands’ greatest exponents of the narrow spade, a skill which resulted in local as well as national notorierty.
Following appearances at the 1996 and 1997 All-Ireland finals, Pat secured the competition’s junior mantle in 1998 with the senior equivalent also being added to the Campbell trophy cabinet 12 months later.
Known throughout the wider agricultural circuit, the 67-year-old passed away on Christmas Eve following a brave battle with illness.
This week, many of Pat’s friends and ploughing colleagues took time out to remember one of the loy industry’s all-time greats.
“Pat was a great man, no matter what he turned his hand to,” said Loy Association Chairman Tom Egan. “He was an achiever in everything that he did.”
Reflecting on those qualities, Mr Egan recalled coming across the north Longford farmer a number of years ago and being immediately struck by his attention to detail.
“He would use his tractor for what we would call, coping or making ridges. He was the only person I ever saw do it right and do a perfect job on it. Pat was a perfectionist.”
But Mr Egan said it was Pat’s rich background in using various other tools and hand equipment which set him apart as a loy digging champion in the making.
“Because he was able to handle that, loy digging was no problem to him. He was also a very physically strong man too and was very helpful to any young lads who were showing an interest in the loy,” added the Castlepollard based loy asssociation chief.
Closer to home, members of the local agricultural fraternity also paid testimony to Pat’s unerring ploughing ability.
“When Pat was competing there was great rivalry in the county as far as loy digging went,” said outgoing Co Longford Ploughing Association chairman Eamon Egan. “To achieve what he did (All-Ireland success) was magnifient. He was a great man to dig.”
Away from the plough and his day-to-day farming activities Pat was a keen sportsman, a past-time that led to his membership with Ennybegs Gun Club.
The late Pat Campbell was laid to rest inside the grounds of Aughaboy Cemetery following Funeral Mass at St Mary’s Church, Ennybegs. He is predeceased by his twin brother Terence, son Jonathan and grandson Turlough.
He is survived by his loving wife Peggie (nee Quinn), daughters Caroline , Laura and Patricia, sons Darren, Glenn and Paul, son-in-law, daughters-in-law and grandchildren, his brother Brian and sister Margaret as well as extended family and friends.