Rules & Procedures for Loy Digging Competitions



  1. The Loy may be right footed or left footed, traditional with no adjustments of any kind allowed.
  2. Competitors are allowed to erect lines and pegs (2 lines 4 pegs) on their plot before the starting signal, but must remove all lines before commencing digging. 10 penalty marks after one warning will be applied for not lifting lines.
  3. Competitors must stop digging when the final whistle is blown. A red flag will be put down where the last sod is turned. The competitor may then finish digging the plot. (10 penalty marks for unfinished plot plus 1 mark per foot from red flag.
  4. Competitors must leave the competition area when digging is complete and may acquire 10 penalty marks if he/she walks across his/her own or another competitors plot before judging is complete.
  5. Re-aligning allowed with the Loy only from the digging position and this can be done only with the Loy and not hands of feet. (10 penalty marks may be given by supervisors for noncompliance).
  6. No assistance from the side-lines is allowed at National Ploughing Championships.
  7. 2.75 hours is the allocated time allowed to complete a Loy Plot.
  8. A Plot shall consist of 3 rows of sods consistent in appearance


  1. Competitors competing at the National Ploughing Championships must have submitted entry through the Secretary of The Loy Association of Ireland and paid their annual membership to the Loy Association of Ireland.
  2. Submission of an entry will be regarded as an acceptance of all rules and regulations and the preparedness of a competitor to observe them or submit to penalties for breaches of same.
  3. To commence a competitor may set up 2 lines 4 pegs 46 inches apart. The plot consisting of 1 full ridge which should be 46 inches wide and a third row of sods of 10.5 inches. (3 row of sod, one green centre, and main furrow)
  4. Senior diggers must not use a measuring tape after putting down their 2 lines and may use a stick only while digging the first 3 sods in each row.
  5. When the starting signal is sounded nicking commences. All 2 lines must be nicked and the lines lifted before digging commences.
  6. On a base of 3ft 10 inches a full ridge will consist of 2 sods, turned towards each other leaving a verge in the centre. Each sod should be 10.5 inches wide with a centre verge of 3 to 4 inches wide. Recommended depth of furrow is 3-4 inches.
  7. Ridge length, seniors, juniors and U 25 dig 30 feet, U18 dig 20 feet and ladies dig 10 feet.
  8. Judging will be on a Natural Style of digging.

Revised and agreed at the AGM of the Loy Association on 27 th February 2022



Outer Furrow


30 marks

Pack & Flesh

Overlap & No Loose Clay

30 marks

In's & Out's

Pattern of Dig

30 marks

Green Centres

Appearance & Straightness

30 marks

Main Furrow

Conformity + Divide Line

30 marks





150 marks


Loy supervisors must wear white coats provided by the NPA during the competitions and must remain on plot area until judging is completed.

Qualification Criteria for National Ploughing Championships


  • Entry to the Loy Digging competition at National Ploughing Championships is open to people over the age of 14 years in the year of competition.
  • For 2019 anyone who was ever a senior digger may dig in the senior class at the National Ploughing Championships and no competitor will go down to Junior Class after the 2019 competition. This rule will be reviewed at each AGM.
  • Maximum of 2 senior diggers may represent each county in Senior class
  • 1 junior digger may represent each county. Counties who don’t enter 2 senior diggers may enter 2 persons in the junior class.
  • 2 persons from each county may dig in the U25 class, 1 person from each county may dig in the U18 class and 2 persons from each county may dig in the Ladies class.
  • A maximum of 7 people may compete in the Loy Digging category from each county at the National Ploughing Competition.
  • Under age classes must be under 25 years or under 18 years on the 1st of January in year of competition. (Persons U18 who win at the National Ploughing Championships may remain in U18 class until they reach the age of 18). Age must be verified by County Secretaries.
  • Person who wins U25 Class must move up to Junior Class in the following year of competition.
  • Persons must qualify for the National Ploughing by competing at a County Ploughing Match within their own county in that year. (Year runs from after last National Ploughing Championships up to close of entry).
  • Persons must have and address in the county they represent for at least 1 year.
  • Entry forms for Loy Competition will be sent to County Secretaries of each county and must be filled in and signed by persons who wish to partake in the Loy Competition at the National Ploughing Championships. The completed form plus relevant entry fee must be received by the Secretary of the Loy Association no later than 1 week before they are due with the National Ploughing Association of Ireland office. (€10 annual membership of the Loy Association must also be paid if not already paid at this time).
  • Parental/Guardian supervision agreement form must be filled in and signed by parent/ guardian for competitors under 18 years of age who wish to Loy dig at the National Ploughing Championships.
  • Some discression will be allowed at county ploughing matches where County Ploughing Associations may allow Loy Diggers to dig within whatever category they see fit to help encourage more participants within their county and then the county board will make the final decision on who is eligible to qualify for National Competition keeping in mind the eligibility criteria above.
  • Loy competitions should follow the same rules as those drawn up for the National Ploughing Competition.
  • Some discression may be given to time within reason at county matches where Loy Association members are assisting or encouraging new Loy diggers in competition.
  • Judging will be on a natural Style of digging.

The above was revised and agreed at the 2019 AGM of the Loy Association of Ireland.

Competition Rules