‘A LIFE’S dedication to ploughing’ has been recognised with a surprise presentation to a man whose 21 year association with the National Ploughing Association has come to an end.
Colleagues of Dawson Bagnall at Kilcavan Ploughing Association made a presentation to the ‘true man of the land’ to acknowledge his work after he lost his position on the national committee at a recent election.
At their annual dinner, Joe Fitzpatrick, president of the local club says his contribution to the country’s biggest event cannot be overstated. ‘We are obviously very proud of the amount of work he has put into ploughing at club, county, national and international level – he’s been a savior,’ says Mr Fitzpatrick, who describes him as ‘a brilliant ambassador to ploughing at all levels.’
The accolades are echoed by the club’s chairman Tom Gowing, who said the presentation shows ‘the goodwill and thought for what he’s done for ploughing.’ ‘He’s to be admired,’ said Mr Gowing. ‘He’d leave his own farm at a moment’s notice to check a proposed site for an All-Ireland.’
‘That takes great dedication,’ he added, saying that Mr Bagnall set high standards for ploughing in his own club. ‘It has to be done right,’ he said, because ploughing is important ‘in the interests of starting with the earth and being able to bring it to a high standard in crop production.’
Dawson Bagnall himself is modest about his achievements and contribution and admits he was ‘very disappointed’ to lose his place on the national committee, particularly this year. This is the eightieth national ploughing match and he’d hoped to be part of these celebrations and then retire.
‘I would have been delighted to finish out this year,’ he says, adding that he will miss being on the national council where he has served ‘a good many years.’
Over his 21 years in the NPA he ‘built up great friendships, across the 32 counties and internationally.’ He started marking out plots for national competitions with the late Aidan Murphy many years ago and then took over responsibility for the job and the team from the mid 90s.
He can’t say what the appeal of ploughing is for him, but admits he got bitten by the bug at a young age. He started ploughing competitively in 1969 when the late Tomas Culliton offered trophies at junior and senior level to the local Kilcavan Macra club
In 1973 he won an all Ireland title and when Macra folded in Kilcavan in the mid 80s, he and a number of others founded the Kilcavan Ploughing Association.
But he has no intention of giving up involvement in ploughing and has been seen in the last week meticulously turning sods.