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20 May 2022

Success of Longford Ploughing is down to the great people involved

Success of Longford Ploughing is down to the great people involved

If there’s one good thing to come out of this pandemic, it’s that we will never take anything for granted again - especially when it comes to meeting up and enjoying those events that have been tradition in our county for decades.

The Longford Ploughing Championships, which are hailed as one of the best in the country outside of the national championships, are no exception.

Chairperson of the Longford Ploughing Association Cynthia Geelan Cruise has been extra busy over the past few weeks in particular following the birth of a baby boy. But thanks to a strong committee behind her, things are running as smoothly as ever for this weekend’s big event.

“We only decided six or eight weeks ago to actually have our match. We didn’t know whether we’d have a closed match or not but it’s great to be going ahead with it,” Cynthia told the Longford Leader.

“It’ll get people out and families will come out for it too. It’ll be good to get people seeing each other again and it’ll be good to see our judges and sponsors after two years.”

It will also be a time to remember friends from the ploughing community who have passed away over the past two years, she added.

“People come from all over the country. We have lads who come from Northern Ireland, Donegal, Wicklow. We’re known to be one of the best matches outside of the nationals,” said Cynthia, proudly.

“We like to look after them all with a cup of tea and a sandwich and then a good dinner before they make the long drive home.”

The success of the event is down to the great people involved and a good committee, Cynthia stressed when asked why Longford is a favourite event among ploughing circles.

“It’s all down to good members and a good committee who pull everything together. I have a great group of men behind me and only for them, it wouldn’t be taking place this year,” she said.

“There’s a great team of people getting things done behind the scenes, from stalls to organising music. Everyone takes on a different job and it all comes together. It’s a big community effort.

“I’m just there setting the scene and guiding them. We may have different views of how things should be done sometimes but we’ll come together and get the best result. It’s all teamwork.”

While Cynthia could be found to the fore of everything previously - and is still very much to the fore for the 2022 event - she has had to take a much-needed step back for the birth of her baby boy in recent weeks.

“But I’ve had great support, especially in the last two weeks. Barry White, who is Vice-Chair, has stepped in to chair the meetings in my absence and we all pull together and it works. It’s all about getting along,” she said.

This year’s event promises to be a triumphant return for the Longford Ploughing Championships, with a range of stalls and events to enjoy.

An Garda Síochána will be on hand to offer advice on property protection, property marking and road safety, while Hazel McVeigh will be organising a dog show. There’ll be plenty of catering and family fun as well as the well-loved celebrity ploughing feature.

This year’s celebrity ploughing will feature Farmer Phil, Declan from ‘I do Agri’ and popular Edgeworthstown comedian Jimmy Jests, as well as live music from Stuart Moyles to keep the fun going.

“Ploughing is a nice little hobby for people. It’s all about seeing each other again and offering a way to get away from the rest of the world because there’s a lot of stress and heartache going on at the moment,” said Cynthia.

“It’s two years since we had it and we’re delighted to be back in Granard. Just to get back at it and get the lads qualified for the national championships in September will be great.

“It will be a great day out and an opportunity to get out in the fresh air. Hopefully, the weather will be fine and if not, wrap up well and come out anyway.”

Pictured: The Longford Ploughing Association committee pictured in Macken's, Granard in March 2020. Front l to r; Brendan Quigley (Vice President), Bernard Jordan (Vice President), Cynthia Geelan Cruise (Chairperson), Bernard Kenny (NPA Director) and Thomas Monaghan (Ploughing tutor) Back; John Maye (Exhibition Manager), Neville Mills (Treasurer), Barry White (Vice Chairperson), Declan McCormack (Safety Officer,) Mel McKenna (Treasurer), Tom Bannon (Secretary) and Luke Casey (PRO) Picture: Shelley Corcoran

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