The plough and the Simms

FOUR brothers from Milford are hoping to plough through the competition as they take on the very best at the national competition.
The Simms family are preparing for a big week as brothers Matthew, Gary, Alan and Lee are competing in the National Ploughing Championships in Rathenskia in County Laois from Wednesday to Friday.
There is strong rivalry in the Simms household as brothers Gary and Matthew will compete against each other in the Senior Conventional Plough Class, while Alan will compete in the Vintage Mounted Plough Class and Lee will challenge in the U-28s category.
The brothers, along with their father Norman, have previously had success in the Nationals competition and after Covid-19 delayed the competition, the men are ready to get back on the field.
Alan Simms explained: “Getting to the All Ireland is such an honour and something we all strive towards. Four of us are going down to compete this year, but in previous years there has been six of us competing across three different classes including my father.
“Qualification for the nationals happened two years ago but we are only getting to compete now due to Covid-19 so there has been a long delay.
“Matthew and Gary are in the same category and they have come through the ranks from the U-21 category to the seniors which is top grade in Ireland and the winner of that will go through to the Worlds.”
In their last competition, Gary and Matthew were in the top five in Ireland, said Alan.
He is competing in a different discipline from his brothers and due to his strong interest in vintage machinery, he will compete in the Vintage Mounted Plough Class.
He continued, “I went in a different direction. I have been ploughing for many years and I have an interest in vintage tractors and machinery.
“I managed to get to the nationals a few times and a few years ago, I won the competition and I would be considered in the top five.
“You just never know what is going to happen on the day and I will be happy if I get into the top 10 in Ireland because anything can go wrong on the day,” said Alan.
The brothers love of farming and ploughing stems from their childhood of growing up on a farm and also their father’s influence.
“We are from a farming background and we do a lot of agricultural contracting. We have ploughed land for neighbours and it is something that has always been in the family,” he said.
He father is founding member of the local ploughing club.
“Ploughing is strong now in Donegal with three clubs taken part so we are delighted to be going to the Nationals,” said Alan

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