Glorious sunshine ensured huge crowds at last Sunday’s ploughing championships in Rahara. The farm of Sean and Sheila Connaughton was the venue for the event and it proved a splendid setting for the 2007 event. Of course, any outdoor event is hugely dependant on the weather and the glorious weather of last weekend ensured bumper crowds at this year’s event. Thousands attended the Rahara venue, with people coming and going all afternoon. It was a special year for the County Roscommon Ploughing Championships as it is 50 years since the national event was held in Boyle and there were a number of links between the two events, including Wexford man Tom Brady whose uncle was among the ploughmen in Boyle in 1957 and he was honoured at last Sunday’s event. A range of speakers addressed guests at the official opening of the ploughing championships, including Secretary of the Roscommon Association, Mary Conry Candler and Chairperson Tom Tighe. Local man Laurence Fallon, well known through his involvement with both Macra na Feirme and IFA, also addressed the gathering and performed the official opening of the event. He noted that at the moment, about half of the local population is directly employed in agriculture and said that ten years ago that would have been as high as 90 percent. Guest of honour at Sunday’s event was Anna Mae McHugh, Director of the National Ploughing Association and she praised all involved for their efforts. There was stiff competition among ploughing competitors on the day. The confined competition was won by Tim Foxe from Mountcashel, with Noel Moran from Fuerty coming second and Michael Geraghty from Castlecoote coming third. In the open section, the top honours went to Joe Hart from Sligo with Anthony Reynolds from Leitrim taking second place. As is customary with the ploughing event, there were lots of events on offer to keep the whole family entertained. Commercial stands exhibited a range of machinery and farm implements, while there was also lots of entertainment for the children. The vintage display proved popular and lots of people stopped to talk to the owners of the vintage cars and tractors on view. Among those exhibiting vintage tractors and farm implements were many members of the South Roscommon Vintage Club. Eugene Murphy was the Master of Ceremonies for the Rose of the Plough, a title won by local woman Breda Coyle from Curraghboy.