Paddy Whitney taking part in the Vintage two furrow in his Copper Belly Ferguson 35 from 1957 Picture: Michelle Ghee.
As Granard prepares for the Ploughing Championships on March 24 , we look back on the Millennium Ploughing in Granard as a milestone in Novice Ploughing.
The first Novice ploughing under NPA rules took place in Toneywarden, Granard. The site was kindly provided by Seamus & Claire Gorman.
The concept was launched by the NPA as a means to encourage young people to start ploughing and it was geared towards first time competitors only, with entrants required to be aged from 16 to 35 years and have a tractor driving licence.
The event took place under the stewardship of Raymond White of Abbeyshrule, who was Chairman in 2000, coupled with a trojan contribution from Evelyn McLoughlin of Abbeylara.
The ranking in the mature novice was; 1st Denis Matthews, 2nd Liam Clarke, 3rd John Lynam, 4th David Reynolds, 5th Brian Sheridan. In the 3 furrow class, David Cartwright came in ahead of David McAuley.
However, to avoid disappointing hearts, an unofficial minor competition was also held and the results were: 1st Aine Monaghan, joint 2nd Padraig Monaghan and Padraig Brady, 3rd Sean Clarke, 4th Enda Geraghty, 5th Ian Flynn.
This year the novice ploughing workshop takes place on Saturday March 30, hosted by local agri-advisor, Paul Belton.
The event has taken place every year in Longford since 1986, with the focus on beginners with a driving licence aged from 16 up. Participants this year will get an introduction to ploughing, plus tutoring and guidance from some of Longford’s most experienced competitors.
Food for the event will be sponsored by Smith’s Gala Newtownforbes and Harriette Stewart, Laura Geelan and Marjie Geelan will ensure hot refreshments are served all day.
The workshop will be run in accordance to NPA rules, with some new initiatives introduced to help create new opportunities for everyone.
The most significant change this year is the introduction of a reversible section at the workshop. A ploughing judge, who hails from another county, will also be in attendance.
The best performance in conventional ploughing and the best in reversible ploughing will qualify to compete for county Longford. Two young people will win the chance to compete at the official National Ploughing Championships in Carlow this coming September.
This includes convenient parking, free access and VIP status at Europe's largest Agricultural exhibition for three days. Kiernan Milling in Granard, who are main sponsors of the Ploughing Championships this year, are also offering Kiernan Milling apparel to everyone who participates in a full ploughing lesson.
The names of all participants will also be entered into a draw for a 'Kiernan Milling' goody bag, which include a hoodie or jacket and cap, pens and an NPA ticket.
So why not come along and perhaps you could add an All Ireland title to your CV.