New mower keeps money in the club
The performance and reliability of the 2.4m Major Swift Roller Mower means Dreadnots GAA club, one of Ireland’s oldest sports clubs, can continue to serve its local community.
For over forty years now, club committee member and handy-man Anthony Murphy has taken care of the pitches and facilities at Dreadnots GAA Club, Clogherhead, Co. Louth. Established in 1885, Dreadnots GAA Football Club is one of the oldest sports clubs in Ireland. It boasts over 500 members and offers a wide choice of athletic focus including football for seniors and juniors as well as Ladies Gaelic Football. The club’s facilities also serves local schools for their sports recreation.
The facility is based on seven acres and consists of two senior pitches and one junior field, plus the surrounding rough. “Typically, in a season unaffected by pandemic, there would be at least thirty games on each of the pitches through the year, so we had to make sure that the turf was kept in the best condition,” commented Anthony. “Being right near the coast we get a lot of rain and that’s always a challenge because wet grass doesn’t cut very well, unless of course you have a Major Swift Roller Mower.”
Major Swift replaces expensive, inefficient gang mowers
Anthony bemoans the previous equipment. “We used to cut the fields with a set of gang mowers and it would normally take us about a day and a half to cover the grounds,” Anthony explains. “The reason it was so extended was because of the often-wet conditions – gang mowers perform very badly in wet grass. Also, the maintenance on gang mowers is really difficult. It seemed like we used to spend more time in the workshop than on the pitches. Over the years they became very expensive to run.”
Anthony used an old Ford 3910 tractor to pull the gang mowers, which were often affected by stones or debris left on the pitch which would quickly blunt the blades and he would end-up having to go over the ground again just to make sure of a reasonable finish.
“Cutting nine acres of grounds in four hours”
“One day a local farmer friend, Seamus Boylan, suggested we took a look at a different type of mower that he had seen working because he thought it would be a lot more efficient than our old set of gangs,” Anthony continued. “It was the Major Swift Roller Mower he’d seen while on his travels. So we were very interested and requested a demo of the mower through our local dealer, O’Neill Tractors. We only had the mower for four-hours, it cut the entire nine acres and we could tell straight away that this was the machine for us. It worked great! So we bought it.”
The GAA club purchased a Major MJ71-240 Swift Roller Mower in three-point linkage. It is a rigid beam mower with a 2.4m cut. It comes with four rotors and eight knives. Blades overlap by 60mm between each rotor, which ensure a totally even cut across the entire width of the machine. Full length rollers on the front and back make sure there is no scalping, particularly on undulating ground. And it also leaves a striped finish. Cutting height is easily adjustable from between 10mm – 130mm.
“We’ve had the Major Swift for over five years now and it’s been the best investment in machinery that we have ever made,” enthused Anthony. “We still use it behind the old Fordson Major, and we will normally set it to cut between one inch and an inch and a half (25mm – 40mm). It’s so easy to adjust the cutting height – much different to how it was with the old gang mowers.”
Cuts even better than the cylinder mowers, especially in the wet
“Another big plus is that it leaves an absolutely perfect stripe behind it, even better than the cylinder mowers we used to use – especially in the wet,” added Anthony. “When I have cut all the pitches, I can always look back at the finish and have a smile of pride on my face – it looks absolutely great!”
“Maintenance is very simple. There are just greasers, no belts to wear and slip, it’s built using a very strong steel, stronger than most other machinery out there. And it’s made in Ireland! So it’s got to be good. There’s an old saying that, if a mower can cut Irish grass, then it can cut anything anywhere in the world! Even in very wet conditions, we can go mowing with the Major Swift and every time it leaves a perfect finish.”
By doing away with a belt drive and seriously upgrading to a direct drive through a gearbox, the reliability and performance of the Major Swift is streaks ahead of belt-driven machines. In addition, the Swift comes fully galvanised and so longevity and reliability come high on the performance benefits list.
Cost savings means more money goes back to growing the local club
“We live in a growing community,” said Anthony. “More people, means more recreation facilities are required and if we grow our acreage of sports fields in the future, then the Major Swift Roller Mower we have now will easily cope with future demands. Also considering its a fully galvanised finish, this machine is going to last us a very long time. All these benefits are positives for the club, but there is one further jewel in the crown to share. We used to have to sharpen the gang mowers very regularly and they would easily fall fowl of any debris on the pitches. That cost a lot of money every time it had to be sharpened. Conversely, our Major Swift has been with us for over five years now and we have only just, for the first time, sharpened the blades. I’ve been recommending this mower to people who come and ask because the news about how good it is has been spreading. To me, buying the Major Swift Roller Mower has been the best thing we have ever done.”