09 Aug 2022

Photo Gallery: Recalling the 1997 County Longford Ploughing Championships in Rathcline, Lanesboro

1997 Ploughing Championships, on the farm of Adrian and Josephine Farrell, was the first time in 50 years the event was held in Rathcline

The 83rd County Longford Ploughing Championships took place on Sunday, April 9, 2017 on the lands of Noel and Florence Gillanders at Clynan, Abbeyshrule.

Twenty years ago, the County Longford Ploughing Championships took place in Rathcline, Lanesboro and in this special #ThrowbackThursday we reproduce the report and a selection of photographs that appeared in the Longford Leader following the 1997 Ploughing event.

County Longford Ploughing Championships – Rathcline, Lanesboro, Sunday, March 9, 1997

A dry, calm day makes for a memorable day of ploughing

The annual county Longford Ploughing Championships in Lanesboro last weekend were one of the most successful ever, and a great day was had by thousands of people who came to the scenic grounds.

Sponsors helped in the success by backing the annual county ploughing championships, and many of them were on hand last Sunday, including representatives of the main sponsor ACC Bank.

The farm of Lanesboro publican and county councillor Adie Farrell and his wife Josephine were in good shape for ploughing, having had a few dry days prior to the event.

Everything was well in place on the day and it wouldn't be surprising if the 1997 championships were declared the biggest and best ever. Special guests on the day are Anna May McHugh, managing director of the National Ploughing Association, and Jimmy Grainger, chairman of the National Ploughing Association.

“We were delighted at the turnout, both of competitors and spectators, but we're particularly glad that the weather was good”, Barney Kenny, PRO of the ploughing association, told the Leader.

The £5,000 prize fund is now being shared by winners and runners up from a talented pool of entrants.

A big attraction at Rathcline Hill on the day was the Queen of the Plough competition, and the winner this year was Fiona Egan from Kenagh.

The Loy competition drew great interest among the crowd, and Macra na Feirme were there, with their annual brainteaser.

There was Sheaf Tossing, Clay Pigeon Shoot, the Sheep Dog Demo, Threshing along with the traditional music and food which always accompanies this major county ploughing event.

The end of a perfect day, as with all County Ploughing matches, was the Queen of the Plough Dance, which featured Paschal and the Virginians, at the Sliabh Ban Hotel.

A feature of Sunday's Ploughing Championships was the visit of a party from the Isle of Man Ploughing Association, led by Ned Kennaugh, whose group demonstrated the Loy, the Gowl Gob and Horse Ploughing.

To coincide with Mother's Day, Brendan and Regina Houlihan of the Vintage, Moydow, presented two prizes of a dinner for two, and two mothers were the winners.

Macra na Feirme had a strong presence, and Bernard Conlon, chairman, and Luke Casey, organised competitions and tasks, and this year's 'mangled machine' competition generated quite a buzz.

The event was recorded on video by Declan Gilmore from Newtowncashel, while an RTE camera crew was on hand at the function later on, led by Midlands Correspondent Ciaran Mullooly.

Several results from the ploughing match appear in this week's Leader, and if you are enjoying the photos of the event by Leader lensman Joe McDonagh, then you haven't seen the half of it!

Congratulations to the winners of the Granny Ploughing Competition, Edre Mills from Abbeyshrule, and to the Most Appropriately Dressed Lady, Bernie Kennedy from Killoe, not to mention Frank Dooner, Glasson, the Most Appropriately Dressed Gent.

Also on the social side, congrats to the winners of the Waltzing Competition, Joe and Nancy Maguire from Carrickedmond, Johnny and Mary Thompson from Killoe and Tom and Madeleine Flood from Glen.

Junior Waltzing champs were Mary and Matt Connell, Granard, Pat and Rita McCormack, Ballyleague, and Gerry and Ann Garvey, Lanesboro.

Winners share prize fund of over £5,000

A prize fund of £5,000 was up for grabs at last Sunday's event at Rathcline, and the following are the names of some of the winners.

Horse Confined

1 Eugene McGirr, Mostrim, 2 Frank Rooney, Mostrim.

Horse Open National Style

1 Joe Fahy, Galway, joint 2nd/ Gerry Reilly/ Gerry King, 3 Liam Davidson, Antrim (Joe Fahy also won the Irish Draught Society Cup for the best team of Irish Draught Horses and also won the John Madden Cup for the Best team of ploughing horses)

Horse High Crest

1 Alan Tavey, Monaghan , 2 Sylvia Morrey, Isle of Man

High Crest Confined

1 Ann Maria Edgely, Longford

Senior Tractor Open

1 Trevor Cobbe, Offaly, 2 Roger Scally, Offaly

Junior Tractor Open

1 Trevor Cobbe, Offaly, 2 Roger Scally, Offaly

Senior Confined

1 Tommy Monaghan, Mostrim, 2 John Concannon, Ballymahon

Under 28

1 Andrew Carnegie, Sligo, 2 Anthony Reynolds, Mostrim, 3 Patrick Donnellan, Cavan

Under 21

1 Martin Reilly, Mostrim, 2 Emmet Duffy, Ballinalee, 3 Oliver Nolan, Roscommon

Under 16

1 Anne Monaghan, Coolarty, 3 Liam Clarke, 2 Paraic Duffy

Junior Novice

1 PJ Dowd, Newtowncashel


1 Fiona Egan, Kenagh, 2 Fiona Claffey, Offaly, 3 Olivia Reynolds, Mostrim

Three Furrow

1 Paddy Beirne, Roscommon, 2 Berney Jordan, Ballymahon

Three Furrow Standard

1 Phil Brady, Aughnacliffe, 2 Aidan Monaghan, Coolarty

Vintage Two Furrow Hydraulic

1 Paddy Savage, Cavan, 2 Liam Cunningham, Sligo

Two Furrow Trailer Vintage

1 Cecil Wray, Armagh, 2 Ralph Foster, Fermanagh, 3 James Evans, Westmeath

Single Furrow Vintage

1 Terry Gibson, Mostrim, 2 PJ Legnaw, Offaly

Coping Single

1 Pat Campbell, 2 Hal O'Hagan, 3 Garry O'Hagan

Coping Double

1 John Clarke, 2 James Grimes, 3 Dermot Harte

Open Loy

Joint 1st Terry Moore, Castletown-Finea and James Casey, 2 Gerry Fogg, 3 Alex Hunter, Sligo

Senior Loy

1 Pat Campbell, Killoe, 2 Bernard Casey, Ohill, 3 Michael McKeon, Aughnacliffe

Junior Loy

1 Matt O'Connell, 2 Packie O'Brien, 3 James Sheridan

Under-21 Loy

1 David Casey, 2 Glen Campbell; joint 3rd Alan Hunter and John Hoctor

Ladies Loy

1 Mary Moore, 2 Patricia Campbell, 3 Violet Hoctor

The 1997 Ploughing Championships last Sunday was the first time in 50 years that the event has taken place in Rathcline, and for the use of their farm, Adrian and Josephine Farrell, were thanked by the Longford Ploughing Association for helping the event.

ACC Bank was the main sponsor, while other sponsors were Woodchester Finance, Lakeland Dairies, Laragan Quarries, PJ Flaherty & Sons, Nally Bros Garage, Patrick Molihan, Ardagh, Kieran Callaghan, Edgeworthstown and the Park House Hotel.

You may also be interesting in reading and looking back at this story :

#ThrowbackThursday - 1992: Generations of ploughmen at 58th Longford Championships

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