A 17-year-old from Turloughmore will proudly represent Galway in the under 21 conventional ploughing class at the National Ploughing Championships. The Ploughing Championships take place in Tullamore, County Offaly, on September 20, 21, and 22.
Michael Burke is currently the youngest competitor representing Galway. He has won many titles around Connacht, and has been ploughing since he could reach the steering wheel. His first tractor was a vintage 1958 Massey Ferguson 35 TVO coupled to a Ransome TS59 plough. However, he has upgraded this year to a very modern New Holland TL70, which has undergone a full re-spray and is accompanied by a Kverneland Heidrein match plough.
Mr Burke is proud to be continuing a long standing family tradition by competing at the Ploughing Championships. “I guess the ploughing is in my blood. Both my parents, James and Eileen, have a huge interesrt and have competed. My mother represented Galway in the Farmerette and my father ploughed in the Junior Conventional Class last year.”
The teenager, who recently got his Leaving Cert results, is due to begin studying mechanical engineering in GMIT and says he chose the course as it is related to his hobby. “There is a lot of engineering in ploughing and as parts for these ploughs get scarcer, the likes of me is having to fabricate everything from scratch.”
When it comes to ploughing, practice definitely makes perfect and the teenager has been feverishly preparing for the competition for the past few months. “I have been doing a lot of work during the build up to the Ploughing Championships as the standard is very high in Ireland.”
Despite Ireland having a deep tradition when it comes to ploughing, there are very few young people competing. However this young Galway man will be flying the flag for the county next week and he modestly says that all he can hope for is to ‘plough the best furrows I can’.