How this eggs-pert cracked university entry
'I deliberately set out to get into UCD through the back door'
POULTRY and dairy farmer, Martin Farrelly remained positive when he didn't get a spot on his dream course at University College Dublin (UCD) last year.
His top choice of Agricultural Science is one of those where points have been climbing in recent years and, while he hoped that he would make it, he had a Plan B to enrol in a PLC course at Cavan Institute.
"I prepared myself mentally for the eventuality that I would be going to Cavan Institute first", said Martin (19).
After narrowly missing out on UCD, Martin immediately enrolled in a PLC course in science and laboratory techniques.
"I didn't give up, I deliberately set out to get into UCD through the back door. It was the only course I wanted and I knew if I worked hard, I'd meet the handbook requirements", said Martin, of Corfeyhone, Co Cavan.
This summer, Martin was awarded 10 distinctions in his PLC course, a place in first year agricultural science in UCD, while Cavan Institute saluted him as Student of the Year.
"I'm over the moon. I made the right decision and I'm really ready for it this time," he said.
By monitoring his grades through continuous assessment, Martin made sure he stayed on track and he even picked up some new science subjects.
"I didn't do chemistry or physics for my Leaving Cert but I did a foundation course in them at Cavan and it means I'm starting with more ease at UCD," said the former pupil of Breifne College, Cavan.
Martin was also selected to spend two weeks at the University of Life Sciences, Tartu, Estonia.
"We were in the veterinary practice, observing operations and we visited their farm. I was very interested in the cattle breeds and to see how they prepared milk during their freezing winters", he said.
Although very excited about his long awaited move to UCD, Martin,the youngest of five, said leaving the family nest will be tough on his mother, Kathleen, and he too will miss her, and his father, Patrick, and his beloved animals.
"I really enjoy being out on the farm with my hens, ducks and bantam chickens and I love going to the local agricultural shows to showcase my eggs," said Martin, who has won best egg competitions in Mullingar and Athlone and most recently in Virginia, Co Cavan.
"If you're not in you can't win and that goes for my eggs and my education," said Martin, who will be joined in UCD next month by three others from his Cavan course.
What advice would the aspiring agricultural science and biology teacher give to those who didn't receive their first choice: "Don't give up; go after the course you want. The Leaving Cert comes down to two weeks in June and papers can be very favourable or they can go against you. The back routes are always there and those options should be exploited."