Mercy Secondary School, Kilbeggan, Chloe McDermott Mary Colton Trása Bracken and Sinéad Bracken.

Mercy Kilbeggan students present plans to Angus Beef judges at Croke Park

Mercy Secondary School, Kilbeggan is the unique position of being the only school that has two groups in the final stages of the Certified Irish Angus Beef competition.

The two teams joined 33 others from schools across the country at Croke Park this week to present their ideas to judges from the agriculture and food industry.

More than 140 groups entered the competition and only 35 groups were chosen to participate in the Croke Park stage. Five groups will be chosen to win five six-month-old Irish Angus calves, and the challenge is that the students rear them over 18 months while completing research projects.

The five winning groups will be announced at the end of April.

Rachel Maxwell and Martina Egan from Mercy Secondary School Kilbeggan; Ríona Egan is also a member of this group. Photo by CHRIS BELLEW/FENNELL PHOTOGRAPHY

Mercy Kilbeggan teacher Padraic Earley explained the background and what’s involved: “Certified Irish Angus run the competition with their partners ABP Ireland and Kepak Group, and it will cover topics such as improving animal genetics; sustainable agriculture; farm health and safety; and increasing consumer awareness of the quality of Irish food, and Irish beef in particular.”

The initiative aims to promote the Certified Irish Angus brand while educating students about the care and attention required to produce quality beef for consumers.


Congratulating the two groups that represented Mercy Secondary School, Kilbeggan, Padraic said that there are five stages to the competition.

“The groups had to produce videos for stage one and complete interviews on their videos for stage two. For stage three, they had to present their ideas at the Croke Park events centre.

“The projects the groups chose were on sustainable agriculture and improving animal genetics. The judges asked questions on the ideas the students presented and their plans for the calves if successful in winning.

“Best of luck to the students from Mercy Secondary School, Kilbeggan and well done in getting to this stage in the competition.”

Sinead Bracken, Mary Ellen Colton, Chloe McDermott and Trasa Bracken: the project is also working with the Hooves 4 Hospice fundraising campaign. Photo by CHRIS BELLEW/FENNELL PHOTOGRAPHY