Cork has done it again. Transition-year students Ian O'Sullivan and Eimear Murphy tried in vain to fight back tears as their social science experiment landed them the Young Scientist of the Year.
The pair - who are both aged just 16 and hail from Colaiste Treasa, Kanturk, Co Cork - said they were "lost for words" after their names were called out.
It is the latest in a remarkable run of success for the county in producing the scientists of the future.
Last year's winner hailed from Kinsale, and ultimately scooped the European Young Scientist Prize before gracing the pages of 'Time' magazine.
This year's winners focused on the influence of parents on young people's drinking habits.
Their study asked some 900 of their classmates and friends from the Mallow-Kanturk area to record and report on their alcohol consumption. But uniquely, it also involved parents.
Ian told the Irish Independent how the pair dreamt up the idea.
"When we were going on nights out, we noticed some of our peers were drinking a lot and others remained sober," explained Ian, from Castlemagner in Co Cork.
"We noticed there were differences with drinking in certain social circles so we thought there must be different reasons, one of which was parents, so we decided to research that."
Eimear said they hope to present their findings to the Government.
"We will be saying that it's the fathers drinking that has a big influence. It's the father's drinking that we need to tackle, more so than the mother's. This is one of the factors causing drinking among young people."
It is the first time Colaiste Treasa have landed the top award. The pair were also quick to point out that neither hail from a "particularly scientific household".
"We just have an interest in science," Ian said.
Also struggling to take it all in were their proud parents and families.
Eimear's older sister Aoife said she "burst into tears" when she heard her sister's name called out. Her father John added: "I don't know what to say, I'm just flabbergasted."
Speaking about the winning entry, judge Ian Robertson said it was a "sophisticated statistical analysis" and could "help shape family alcohol behaviour in a very positive way".
The competition, now in its 51st year, attracted a record number of entries as some 4,600 students representing 367 schools battled it out for top honours.
Among those who met students yesterday on the final day of judging were Communications Minister Alex White and Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan, who said she had been "flabbergasted by the array of talents".
Runner-up group went to transition year students Patrick Sweeney (16), Chloe Daniels (16) and Annette Moran (15) from Carrick-on-Shannon Community School for their project birdsong and music.
The award for best individual went to Rachel NiDhonnachadha, from St Vincent's Secondary School, Co Louth for her boxer's hand-wrap project.
BIOLOGICAL AND ECOLOGICAL
1. Eve Casey, Cathy Hynes, Kinsale Community School, Cork. Sugar on trial: A comparative study to assess the relative sweetness of beet and cane sugar and the resultant potential for sugar reduction.
2. Harry Sweetnam, Kevin Deane, Bandon Grammar School, Cork. The benefits of biomass heating in poultry houses vs. gas heating.
3. Eibhlis Myers, Anna Burns, St Mary’s Secondary School, Mallow, Cork. The production of single-cell proteins to supply long duration space missions with a nutritious food supply.
1. Jack Curtis, Ardgillan Community College, Dublin. Myriophyllum spicatum and Elodea canadensis - An ecological study of Wavin freshwater lake.
2. Jessica Kelly, Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna, Clare. Morphological differences in Himanthalia elongata found at different locations in North Clare.
3. Cillian Fogarty, Tullamore College, Offaly. Waste not, want not: The fertiliser potential of kitchen waste compost leachate.
1. Louis Madden, Ultan O’Rourke, St. Macartan’s College, Monaghan. Is the native Irish Arbutus unedo L. phylogenetically different to a mainland European Arbutus unedo L?
2. Kate Madden, Annie Madden, Loreto College, St Stephens Green, Dublin. Encouraging horses to eat by adding various flavours to their feed.
3. Tess O’Neill, Laura Cody, Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan, Dublin. An investigation into the effect of ocean acidification on mussel byssal threads.
1. Renuka Chintapalli, Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan, Dublin. Cellular analysis of the effects of garlic extract on cancer cell growth.
2. Mark O’Dowd, Glanmire Community College, Cork. Injury increasing crop yields.
3. Lorna McGuinness, Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan, Dublin. What is the importance of eye and ear cues in the attention and communication of racehorses and ponies, and do they react in a similar way to humans?
1. Padraig Doyle, Una Sinnott, Tommy McGing, Coláiste Bhríde, Wicklow. Which cattle breed has the lowest carbon ‘hoof’ print?
2. Sadhbh O’Hanrahan, Ali Hill, Ciara Walsh, Kinsale Community School, Cork. An investigation into the antimicrobial activity of selected Irish seaweeds.
3. Emma Greene, Aideen Bonito, Rachel Hehir, Scoil Mhuire, Clare. A further investigation into the anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties of North Clare seaweed extracts.
1. Stephen O’Connell, Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna, Clare. Follow me into a lobster pot - Lobster preferences when entering a lobster pot.
2. Jack Mc Dermott, Moville Community College, Donegal.
To investigate if the shape of an egg affects the hatch rate in chickens.
3. Kevin Carew, Midleton College, Cork. The viability of insect farms in Ireland; The food source of the future.
CHEMICAL, PHYSICAL AND MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES
1. Shauna Murphy, Caoimhe Cronin, St Mary’s Secondary School, Mallow, Cork. Measurement of radon emanation and its correlation with indoor radon levels in some areas of Mallow.
2. Mateen Malik, Haroon Hussain, Andrew O’Neill, Synge Street CBS, Dublin. A partition function congruence modulo 37.
3. Emmet McMahon, Diarmuid O’Donnell, Bianca Tully, St John Bosco Community College, Clare. Numerapp - A new game changer.
1. Claire Gregg, Loreto College, St Stephens Green, Dublin. An analysis using agent-based modelling of factors in human behaviours and their impact on infectious diseases such as Ebola.
2. Rían Cathcart, Ardgillan Community College, Dublin. The hurling helmet: Simple, effective changes that can be made to improve safety.
3. Daire Byrne, Coláiste Phádraig, Lucan, Dublin. A focus on the Collatz conjecture.
1. Shane Seery, Sean Pettit, Moate Community School, Westmeath. Not “mush-room” for turf anymore!
2. Jason Lenihan, Anna Mustata, Bishopstown Community School, Cork. Structural symmetry in projective geometry.
3. Emma Neill, Bethany Stewart, Ballyclare High School, Antrim. Using biomimicry to produce environmentally friendly cement.
1. Antanas Murelis, Synge Street CBS, Dublin. What’s so special about a triangle with sides of length 3, 8 and 10 units?
2. RoseAnne O’Mahony, Christ King Girls Secondary School, Cork. Global warming and changes in Irish grass growth patterns.
3. Jemima Turner, Newpark Comprehensive School, Dublin. Antimicrobial properties of essential oils and compounds from spices.
1. Noman Huma, Chetan Dookhy, Synge Street CBS, Dublin. A conjecture concerning twin primes.
2. Mustapha Kokumo, Adrian Wolniak, Jerome Aguilar, Synge Street CBS, Dublin. New theorems concerning Engel series.
3. Nathan McDonagh, Adam McEnroe, Soban Huma, Synge Street CBS, Dublin. Mathematical models of interacting sustainable societies.
1. Keshav Sapkota, Synge Street CBS, Dublin. An investigation of a cubic identity due to Ramanujan.
2. Aleksander Kozina, Synge Street CBS, Dublin. A new theorem concerning the Hofstadter triangle.
3. Elle Loughran, Our Ladys College, Drogheda, Louth. To develop and functionalise a graphene-based biosensor to measure attractin, a protein biomarker for high-grade gliomas.
SOCIAL AND BEHAVIOURAL SCIENCES
1. Orlaith Cummins, Lucy Plant, Amanda Draper, Kinsale Community School, Cork. Reading speed, comprehension and recall: A statistical study of iPad vs. paper-based reading in students aged 12-16.
2. Aoife Conroy, Jessica Barbulescu, Lauren Murphy, Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan. The effects of meditation and positivity training on school community members.
3. Emma Walsh, Kate Dinan, Scoil Mhuire, Cork. Stress, distress and mode of birth.
1. Mia Hynes, Kinsale Community School, Cork. A statistical study on people’s attitudes and awareness of allergies and anaphylaxis.
2. Joseph Mee, Scoil Ruain, Tipperary. An investigation into post-primary school teacher understanding of dyslexia and the school experiences of post-primary school students with dyslexia.
3. Jennifer McCarthy, Kinsale Community School, Cork. A statistical study on the public’s attitude towards female participation and aggression control in mixed gender martial arts.
1. Julie Ryan, Maeve McMahon, Our Lady’s Bower, Westmeath. HPV: Warts and all.
2. Elyssa Curran, Aishling Connolly, India Bartholomew, Schull Community College, Cork. Stand up, stand out!
3. Aaron Hannon, Paul Flynn, Christopher Hunt, St Muredach’s College, Mayo. Why can’t we speak Irish?
1. Mark Lyons, Lanesboro Community College, Longford. €2.50 too much? - A statistical analysis of the effect of the GMS fee.
2. Kate Duggan, Coláiste Iognáid S.J., Galway. Cyber contagion - The science behind the ice bucket challenge.
3. Emily Cahill, Presentation Secondary School, Milltown, Kerry. An investigation into the influence of gender equality education on the attitudes of children towards gender roles in the workforce.
1. Barbara Wawrzynek, Erin Crowley, Scoil Mhuire gan Smál, Roscommon. Long-term consequences of Syncope on teenagers’ mental health.
2. Eithne Byrne, Eimear Brady, Jodie Meehan, Carrigaline Community School, Cork. An investigation into the policies and practices of the management of anaphylaxis in an educational setting in Ireland.
3. Róisín MacManamon, Shauna Walsh, Róisín MacArtain, Coláiste Choilm, Cork. Anailís staitistiúil ar an tionchar atá ag tacóirí litriú ar chumas litriú daoine óga.
1. Lisa Daly, Heywood Community School, Laois. To PE or not to PE - Introducing PE as an exam subject.
2. Deirdre O’Connell, Mary Immaculate School, Lisdoonvarna, Clare. The geography of award-winning Young Scientist projects.
1. Caoilfhionn Ní Dheoráin, Martha nic Ionais, Coláiste Chilliain, Dublin. Oideolaíocht.
Joint 2nd. Tom Fitzgerald, Joe Fitzgerald, Conor Mcguire, St Patrick’s Classical School, Meath. Digilab.
Joint 2nd. David Hamilton, Paul Hamilton, Ardscoil Ris, Limerick. Investigating the benefits of recycling technologies using and comparing a range of animal hair as an alternative to fiberglass attic insulation.
1. Adam Barry, Sutton Park School, Dublin. Web-based interactive dashboard design.
2. Martin O Donnachadha, De La Salle College, Louth. Wearable TMO system.
3. Stephen Cushen, St Declan’s College, Dublin. Home automation made easy.
1. Ciara Ryan, Jack O’Meara, John Ryan, St Joseph’s College, Tipperary. You’ve got mail!
2. Lorcan O’Brien, Neil O’Brien, Kinsale Community School, Cork. There’s more to light than meets the eye.
3. Imogen Lyons, Laura White, Kayleigh Brosnan, Colaiste Ide and Iosef, Limerick. An examination of the hazards associated with livestock gases and how these gases can be utilized to produce energy in the farmyard environment.
1. Jonathan White, Patrician High School, Carrickmacross, Monaghan, STEM in game development.
2. Shiofra Ryan, St. Brendan’s Community School, Offaly. An Tionchar (The impact hurling boot).
3. Lauren Murphy, Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan, Dublin. An aid for the rehabilitation of clenched fist in Multiple Sclerosis.
1. Jason Hannan, Kevin Hanley, Jamie O’Connell, St Nessan’s Community College, Limerick. Building in microgravity: A step closer.
2. Rachael O’ Boyle, Eimhear Carey, Leah Cosgrove, St Killian’s College, Antrim. Time compressed transport tester.
3. Sean Cahill, Timothy O’Niaha, Coláiste Choilm, Cork. To make marathon kayaking safer and eliminate human error.
1. Christopher Carragher, Our Lady’s Secondary School, Monaghan. Memory buddy.
2. Conor Begley, Coláiste Rís, Louth. QuickCom - A communication aid for the physically disabled.
3. Conor Walsh, Colaiste Choilm, Offaly. Intelli Sentry - An internet enhanced, data-driven, analytical door lock management system.