A feast of activities at Mullahead

A competitor ploughs a straight furrow at a previous Mullahead match
A competitor ploughs a straight furrow at a previous Mullahead match

Together with headline sponsor, Tesco Northern Ireland, Mullahead’s organising committee is counting down to the 103rd Annual Mullahead Ploughing Match on Saturday, February 24.

With ploughing classes, tractor pulling, cookery demonstrations and the Tesco School Chef of the Year competition, this year promises to be better than ever.

The Richardson Estate, Portadown, will once again host the match, offering arguably the best ploughing land in the country. It’s no surprise then that so many ploughmen make the pilgrimage to Mullahead every year, all vying to bring home some silverware.

As a prestigious event in the ploughing calendar, Mullahead will host the 18th Ulster Horse Ploughing Championships (sponsored by Bank of Ireland) and the 16th All Ireland Ferguson Ploughing Championship (sponsored by Friends of Ferguson Heritage) alongside a range of other ploughing classes, with prizes for beginners as well as more experienced ploughmen.

Heatricks have returned as sponsor for the popular Tractor Pulling competition which will feature for the first time the Leinster Anchor Sled Team from Co Carlow. This offers up a fresh challenge to potential competitors eager to impress with their driving skills. The competition is always fierce and a wonderful spectator sport. Entries are now open on the Mullahead website for all competitions.

For those who enjoy cooking and tasting local produce, Mullahead 2018 promises to be a real treat. Tesco’s primary producers will showcase their wares in the popular Tesco marquee, whilst Paula McIntyre comperes and judges the annual Tesco School Chef of the Year competition. Six finalists from five schools within the council area have been chosen from a raft of entries to take part in a live ‘cook-off’ to be crowned the Tesco School Chef of the Year. The society is delighted to host the competition for the third year.

Mullahead Ploughing Society Chairman, Kenny Gracey explained: “We’ve been partnering with Tesco for almost 20 years and we created the School Chef of the Year competition to promote local produce to secondary school children. Entrants were tasked with designing a ‘Farmer’s Feast’ made entirely of local produce. The most inventive and challenging dishes have been chosen and six finalists will cook to win £1,000 for their school and the all important winner’s trophy.”

Those with a passion for homemade produce will enjoy the Food Heartland Village (sponsored by Armagh City, Banbridge District and Craigavon Borough Council). The marquee will be bustling with local traders sampling their delicious produce with cookery demonstrations from the famous Jenny Bristow wafting mouth-watering smells across the site. Younger visitors can enjoy petting a meerkat or having a pony ride with Phil’s Farm, whilst the shopaholic can peruse the wealth of trade stands.

Tickets can be purchased at the gate on Saturday, February 24, and will include entry into a number of prize draws with chances to win children’s pedal tractors and one year’s use of a McConnel Hedgecutter courtesy of Alexander Mills of Benburb and McConnel, Shropshire. More information can be found on Mullahead’s facebook page or on the website www.mullahead.org.