The students at the interview stage in Mullingar. PICTURE: Certified Irish Angus Producers
Four students from Ardscoil Rath Iomgháin in Rathangan are in the running to win the Certified Irish Angus Beef Schools Competition, which could see the girls become owners of five Angus calves.
Caoimhe Duffy and Lizajane Dempsey from Bracknagh, Rosín O’Brien from Clonbullogue, and Aoife Kelly from Ballykelly are down to the last 30 teams, and are preparing for the final in Croke Park on March 14.
“It’s been brilliant, it’s been great fun, ” said Caoimhe, “we are now working on a recipe booklet and our display for Croke Park.”
The Transition Year students entered the competition with the help of their Ag Science teacher, SInead Purcell. They have also taken over the Home Economics room, with the kind permission of teacher Nuala Connolly, to test all their recipes, and their class were looking forward to some special angus beef burgers this week.
The girls produced a video, did an extensive research project and negotiated an interview at the Mulingar Park Hotel to get through to the final.
Run by the Irish Angus Producer Group, along with its processor partners, ABP Ireland and Kepak Group, the competition 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 project aims to allow students to apply the knowledge they learn in the classroom to a real life setting. Each of the finalists will then sell the animals to the processors on completion of the project which amounts to an average €6,800. The winning students also receive an additional grant of €2,000 for their further education.
Rathangan also had another team in the competition, which unfortunately failed to make it through.
Caoimhe said the students have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and should they win the calves, they said a local farmer has agreed to provide a home for them so they can look after them.
“We have really learned allot and our confidence has grown as well,” she added.