Speculation is mounting that a site in Laois will be officially confirmed this weekend as the location for the 2013 National Ploughing Championships.
The Leinster Express understands that an announcement is set to be made this Sunday, October 11 by the National Ploughing Association that the 2013 event is set to be held in Ratheniska between Stradbally and Portlaoise.
It is believed that contracts with landowners are being finalised for next September’s event and an annoucement is due to be made this weekend at the Heritage Hotel Killenard.
Apart from the honour of holding the event, the championships is sure to be a major economic boost the county. An estimated €35 million is generated by almost 200,000 visitors coming from the four corners of Ireland and abroad. The championships covers 750 acres site, and include 1300 trade stands as well as the traditional farming competitions.
It is 10 years since the event was held in Laois when Ballacolla hosted the event. The return to Ratheniska marks the 70th anniversay of the holding of the Championships in nearby Lamberton.
Last month Laois IFA Chairman Pat Hennessy termed it a ‘bonanza’.
“We’d be delighted to see it come back to Laois. The midlands seems the ideal location, being so close to the motorway,” he said.
Traffic problems caused difficulties at the 2012 championships in Wexford but the Laois site is unlikely to be hit with the same problems.