The winners of the Certified Irish Angus Beef schools competition was won this year by a Dublin school.
The group defied the odds emerging as clear winners in spite of being based in an urban setting, with no farming background or previous farming experience.
The four students from Our Lady’s School, Terenure were announced as the national winners of the Certified Irish Angus Beef schools competition which saw them rear five Irish Angus Cross calves for 18 months.
Eithne Murray, Tara Frehill, Emily Browne, and Shauna Jager are also among those who will sit the first ever Agricultural Science Leaving Certificate examination in Our Lady’s School, Terenure this June.
As part of their winning project, they reared their calves on a farm in Manor Kilbride, Tallaght from September 2015 through to their slaughter in November 2016.
They also conducted research and set about increasing market awareness of the benefits of Certified Irish Angus Beef, which they succeeded in doing among their fellow students, teachers, parents, as well as targeted groups at Scifest in Tallaght IT and Bushey Park farmers market.
The competition is run by the Irish Angus Producer Group, along with its processor partners, ABP Ireland and Kepak Group, and aims to encourage second level students to gain an understanding about the care and attention that is required to produce and market the highest quality beef for consumers. Each year, five school groups are chosen to receive five Irish Angus Cross calves.
As part of their Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science project the students are required to set milestones through the lifetime of the animals, rear them through to slaughter and visit processing and retail facilities to understand how the food chain works.
The runners up in the competition were a group from Salesian Secondary College, Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick who focussed on the importance of Farm Safety in their project.
Other finalists included Ballymahon Vocational School, Longford, Presentation Secondary School, Kilkenny and Coláiste Mhuire, Buttevant, Co. Cork.
Each of the finalists received the financial benefit involved in the selling of the animals to the processors on completion of the project which amounted to an average €6,800. The winning students also receive an additional grant of €2,000 for their further education.