Farming experience proves invaluable for Limerick students

Daniel Mc Sweeney, Jamie Fitzgerald, Dean Garvey and Shaun O’Connor.

Four Limerick students from Salesian Secondary College Pallaskenry have taken second prize in the Certified Irish Angus Beef Schools Competition in Croke Park. The four students, Daniel McSweeney, Jamie Fitzgerald, Dean Garvey and Shaun O’Connor, entered the competition by writing a 200 word essay and were then selected as national finalists and were awarded five Certified Irish Angus Calves at the 2015 National Ploughing Championships.

The four then began rearing the five Irish calves on Pallaskenry Agricultural College which adjoins Salesian Secondary College. The whole school got involved in rearing the five calves, and the entire process enabled Shaun, who is living in Limerick inner city, and Dean, who is also from non-farming background, to gain a hands on experience of what farming is like.

Whilst rearing the calves the four boys carried out research into farm safety and attended a number of agricultural shows over the course of the 18 months where they presented their findings, they also made a trip to Dublin to meet with Minister for Agriculture Mr Michael Creed where they discussed the importance of educating the young people and future farmers of the country.

The boys then slaughtered the Angus Cattle in ABP Rathkeale last November, the proceeds of which will help fund their further education. The €1,000 for coming second in the competition will also be used to finance their third level applications.

Daniel from Patrickswell said “This was a very beneficial competition and enabled us to develop a number of skills that will stand to us in the years to come, I have a keen interest in farming and would hope to peruse it as a future career and the information I have learned from partaking in this competition will stand to me in my feature career, I also have a very keen interest in local politics and due to the competition it has helped me to develop my presentation skills and also public speaking skills which will hopefully stand to me in years to come.”

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Jamie from Pallaskenry who is also from a farming background said “ Overall this competition has helped me expand my knowledge on farming which I hope to bring home to my own family farm and adapt to make it more safer for all my family to work on”