Students from St Ita’s School in Drogheda were one of six finalists to take part in the finale of the 2020 edition of the Certified Irish Angus Beef Schools Competition, held at Croke Park on Wednesday (March 4) this week – where the three-strong team of pupils were honoured for their efforts.
Conor Belton, Michael McQuillan and Alisha Crosby took part in the annual competition, supported by Repark and Ardee-based beef firm ABP, which was won by Royal School from County Cavan. The competition challenges students to rear five Angus calves for 18 months as part of their Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science project.
The Drogheda students researched the theme ‘Quality and Flavour of Irish Angus Beef’ and throughout the competition, the group organised a number of tasting events such as a successful BBQ on National Burger Day to promote the quality and flavour of Irish Angus Beef.
Chef Lee Fitzpatrick assisted the group in hosting another tasting experience and developing their own recipe book too. The group also visited Ballyhaise Agricultural College in Cavan to explore life on the farm and the many career opportunities available to them after school.
Conor, Alisha and Michael were assisted during the 18-month project by teacher Mandy Fitzpatrick and Michelle O’Mahony. As part of the project, the students also visited the National Ploughing Championships and visited Amsterdam.
Also in attendance at Wednesday’s event in Drogheda were Eve Bailey and Niamh Cairns from St. Vincent’s Secondary School, in Dundalk (pictured above), where they were pitching to become one of the finalists for next year’s competition. They were among 34 school groups from around the country who were vying to take part in next year’s competition.
The students from St Ita’s received their award on Wednesday from Tim Dunne, Chairman of Irish Angus Producer Group and Katie Mullan, Captain of Ireland’s women’s national field hockey team at the final (also pictured above).
Katie, who hails from a farming background and has strong family links to the agri-food industry shared her experience of growing up on a farm; detailing how this positively impacted her career and sporting achievements through instilling her with a strong work ethic.
Judges from the competition come from a wide range of organisations involved in the agri-sector, including representatives from the Irish Farmers Journal, Alltech and ABP.