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5 Irish Sports Stars Who Farmers Can Get Some Serious Advice From

Mark Farrelly
By Mark Farrelly
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Last week we built a team of Irish farming sports stars for a bit of a laugh but if you're serious about your farming then perhaps you were looking for some more in-depth recommendations about which Irish sports stars are just as serious as you.

So we're profiling a couple of team entrants a little bit more today and adding in a one or two other farmers who can offer regular advice to those involved in agriculture.

Ciarán Lenehan - @CiaranLen

If you're looking for a sports star who can also deliver you farming advice then Ciaran Lenehan is a prize winning bullock. The Meath Gaelic footballer is currently completing a PhD in beef finishing strategies with UCD and Teagasc.

You can find Ciaran's advice online and in the Farmer's Journal, in his 'farmer writes' column. Whether it be his learnings about how dogs can spot cows in heat (not what it's built up to be) or his love for the second cut of silage, Lenehan is always an entertaining read.

Most recently he has lamented his agricultural frustration:

There was a rodeo going on in the bottom field. In the middle of a dozen sweaty bull calves was cow 106 – one of the oldest in the place. Mockingly, she stood to attention like a soldier while another animal mounted her repeatedly. Our eyes met as I made my way into the field. I could tell what she was thinking:

“Look at me, bulling away in October, I bet that wasn’t part of your plan!”

Lenehan also has the most pensive looking Twitter profile image in Irish sport.

John Heslin - @JHeslin8

Across the hall/hedge from Lenehan in UCD sits Westmeath footballer John Heslin, currently completing a PhD in heifer puberty.


Heslin also has his own column with the Westmeath Examiner and it always makes for an interesting read. In particular I enjoyed his tale about going to Australia for a year to play Aussie Rules; the dream of many Australians and quite a few Irish people too:

It was an experience of a lifetime and I will always be grateful for that opportunity.

Using “I have road frontage” as a chat-up line, however, didn’t get me too far in the city of Melbourne, so I made for home to finish my degree.

Make it home he did and his studies have gone on. However, he may not have managed to grow the home farm at the rate he first imagined:

I was going to buy as many cattle as possible. It was going to be a farming fortress, an American style ranch, just massive! Clearly, the long study days had got the best of me and realistically most of this wasn’t going to happen.

Following a discussion with my father, it was agreed that I was going to purchase my own group of heifers.


Also like Lenehan, Heslin is a man well worth following on Twitter:

Tomas Mannion

On a more serious note, Tomas Mannion, former All-Ireland winner with Galway, has some advice than anyone who lives on a farm should listen to. While we all love a bit of a laugh - and rightfully so - about the role farming plays in Irish people's lives, the issue of farm safety should never fade from the forefront.

Mannion, who now has three young children, is as wary as anyone.


Cathal McCrann

He may not be as famous for his sporting achievements as the previous two lads but he know doubt has the credentials. Cathal has been Leitrim's goalkeeper for 11 years and has managed to balance those commitments with his life as a dairy farmer.

He seems to love a chat about farming too, and this year spoke to the Leitrim Observer about installing a robotic milking machine. An expense that many dairy farmers are wary of:

It was a big step for us because it was so new and I admit that when I first started researching the technology I was a bit negative about it. We were worried about the cost, what if breaks down, what if it’s complicated. But I talked to a lot of farmers up North who have these machines in place and they were all very positive about it.

All in all it would seem the robotic machine has been a huge success for the McCrann family:

We don’t have to rush home to milk in the evening or have to get up at 6am in the morning. We have plenty of other things to do around the farm, but having this system in place frees us to be able to do things outside of farming and to feel confident that our animals are being well taken care of.

You can read the whole article here if you or yours are thinking of investing. It definitely will help someone with a lot of football training on their schedule anyhow.

Sean O'Brien @SeanOBrien1987

You hardly thought we were going to forget him, did you? As we all know by now, Sean takes his farming seriously. Sure just listen to him:

If you're looking for some ongoing advice make sure to follow him on Instagram or Twitter. Or if you're looking for the basics then check out the time he hosted our farming quiz:

Also read: 15 Of The Greatest Farmers In Irish Sports History

Also read: Improve Your Fitness With These Tips From The Kearney Brothers

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