‘Ploughing’ not to go ahead behind closed doors

The National Ploughing Championships will not go ahead behind closed doors next month, with only some qualifier matches taking place at a later date in October.

The decision was taken by the National Ploughing Association (NPA) executive on foot of the rising number of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks and months.

The trade exhibition had already been cancelled due to the virus pandemic, with that decision being taken earlier in the summer.

However, with today’s announcement, only six of the 21 planned ploughing matches will go ahead, with those taking place in October.

In a statement, the NPA confirmed that all National Ploughing Finals 2020 will be cancelled, apart from senior qualifier classes for 2021 which include qualification for the World Ploughing Contest scheduled to be hosted in Ireland next September.

The qualifying classes have been postponed until October 6 to 8, conditional on Health Service Executive (HSE) and government recommendations at that time.

NPA managing director Anna May McHugh said: “As public health and safety is the NPA’s foremost priority, and with the recent surge in Covid-19 cases, the association felt that the safest option for everyone involved was to cancel the competitions.

“When lives are potentially at risk then we all have to take stock and just limit our activities to an absolute minimum – we will see brighter days please god in 2021, and I look forward to getting back to ‘the ploughing’ as we know it,” McHugh added.

The NPA has planned a programme of online activities during what should have been the week of the competition starting on the September 14.