Students set sights on big profits as cure for hoof rot grows legs
WHEN two schoolboys were asked to pick a problem and find an innovative solution, they came up with sheep.
Specifically, they decided to design a remedy for foot rot -- the hoof infection that has long been a nuisance for sheep farmers and is caused by damp conditions on the ground.
Conor McGrath (16) and Shaun McGloin (15) came third at the annual Student Enterprise Awards at Croke Park yesterday, but their product is now destined for success.
The students, from the Marist College in Athlone, Co Westmeath, have invented a "shoe for sheep" to deal with the condition.
The pair designed a breathable leather shoe with copper sulphate in the bottom which, when placed on the sheep's hoof, cures the condition in four days.
Foot rot usually affects a single foot of an animal and one reusable shoe retails at €20. The boys have sold 200 units and made a profit of €3,800, with plans to expand the business and showcase the product across the country at events like the National Ploughing Championships.
The overall winner of the senior event yesterday was 17-year-old Ciara Whooley from St David's School in Greystones, Co Wicklow.
Her range of Christmas tree baubles depicting local and national landmarks was inspired by the topical theme of emigration.
"It's a nice present for parents to send to the children who have emigrated," Ciara explained yesterday.
"I'm a bit shocked," she added when asked how she reacted to her win.
She sold 200 of the baubles last Christmas and already has an agreement to sell half of an order she placed for 1,000 more.
As well as the €500 prize, a trophy and a certificate, Ciara also won a trip to Italy where she will be able to network and show off her product.