My dreaded mission – covering the launch of the Ploughing…

Just when I thought I had enough to look forward to this Saturday with the mighty Roscommon hurlers in action against Derry, I was handed an assignment of a totally different kind.

  The boss called me into his office and started with “You live down near Lecarrow, right?” “Yeah” I said, tentatively.

  “Grand, sure you can pop down to the launch of the Ploughing Championships in Kelly’s,” says he.

  “No bother!” I muttered, as I frantically scribbled ‘Google ploughing championships’ into my notepad.

  Excuse my ignorance, I really want to integrate into Roscommon life fully and I promise I’m trying my best, however, every now and then something will pop up and leave me treading water.

  I made my way down to Kelly’s pub in Lecarrow, and no, I didn’t need directions. I was delighted to see some familiar faces and surprised by the large crowd in attendance.

  Roscommon footballers Enda and Donie Smith were there, drinking Mi-Wadi. The Guinness was flowing as well for those who didn’t have eyes on the Connacht Championship this summer.

The IFA Chairman was there, along with Cllr. Paddy Kilduff, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, and Cllr. Laurence Fallon. Even the National Ploughing Championships Chairman came down from Tullamore.

  A day or two later, I decided it was time to educate myself so I collared Ploughing Championships Chairman, the very patient Tim Foxe. He bravely tried to explain how the ploughing is completed and how it is judged.

  “Well, it starts with a thing called an opening split. It’s going to be hard to explain this without having you on the ground!” Cue hearty laughter at the other end of the phone.

  Tim wasn’t to be discouraged by my clear confusion and proceeded to describe the ins and outwards of ploughing.

  “Look, the middle and the furrow are two very important aspects and the rest is about being straight and neat. If you’re not straight starting off, well, you’re on a loser straight away,” he said.

  “It sounds like a complicated process,” I offered lamely.

  “Oh now it’s not simple that’s for sure!” Tim said reassuringly.

  Now, I’m still not completely sure what to be looking out for this Saturday in Lecarrow, but at least I’ll now have an idea of what is being judged.

  Tim said he’d give me a demonstration if he sees me, but after our conversation I wouldn’t blame him if he ploughed on in the opposite direction.