Holy Rosary College, Mountbellew, has been crowned 2023 Certified Irish Angus School Competition winners.
The four winning students - Peter O’Neill, Amy Higgins, Oisín Colleran and Cormac Delaney - secured the win after impressing the judges with their approach to the cattle-rearing competition, now celebrating its ninth year.
The awards ceremony took place in Croke Park on Friday 31 March.
The winning group from Co Galway undertook a research project focused on 'Improving quality of beef for consumers'.
They conducted a survey, which gave the students an in-depth knowledge of the beef-purchasing habits of the consumer.
The students discovered what consumers prioritise when they buy Certified Irish Angus beef and their research covered an impressive range of topics from animal husbandry to grassland management.
To engage their classmates, the group shared their findings and invited guest speakers, including local dairy farmer Henry Walsh and member of the Galway Grasslands Association Keith Fahy to their agricultural science class.
The students successfully communicated the benefits of good farming practices with their classmates and local community
General manager of Certified Irish Angus Charles Smith said: “Holy Rosary College are very deserving winners of this year's competition.
"Driven by their deep-rooted interest of agriculture and food production, the students successfully communicated the benefits of good farming practices with their classmates and local community."
The Certified Irish Angus Schools Competition, in association with ABP and Kepak, challenges students to rear five Irish Angus calves for beef production.
It aims to promote the Certified Irish Angus brand, while communicating the care and attention required to produce quality beef for consumers.
The number of students applying continues to grow each year, with nearly 600 students from rural and urban backgrounds applying from 23 counties in 2022.
The runners up in the 2023 competition were Mya Gray McCluskey, Niamh Dunne and Ella Gannon from St Louis High School in Rathmines, Dublin.
The city dwellers investigated the theme of 'Reassuring consumers on animal welfare' and created an educational initiative called 'Flats to farms' to show their classmates and family the dedication behind the agri-food industry and the realities of Irish agriculture.
Ryan Reilly from Ardscoil Phádraig in Granard was awarded an outstanding achievement award, recognising his contribution to the competition.
The judges said: “Ryan’s understanding of the science and technology of modern-day farming is very impressive.”
Each of the finalists receives the financial benefit involved in the selling of the animals to the processors on completion of the project, which amounted to an average €7,500.
The winning students also receive an additional grant of €2,000 for their further education.