Farmer of the year award

Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has congratulated award-winning students at St Colman’s College, Newry.

Niall Murphy, winner of the NI Sentinus Young Engineer Award, and Matthew McConville, Farmer of the Year Award winner, were praised by the minister during a recent visit to the college.

Niall’s ‘Unreel’ multipurpose device that attaches to a tractor and rolls up lay-flat hoses and wire fencing, was selected as the overall winner in the Young Innovators competition, which promotes engagement in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). The Mullaghbawn student will now go forward to the ‘Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers’ competition to be held in Birmingham NEC in 2014.

The Farmer of the Year Award, presented to Rathfriland student Matthew McConville, is a new award introduced in St Colman’s, highlighting the strong links that many of the pupils have with the agricultural industry.

Speaking during her visit, Minister O’Neill commended the quality of entries for the competition. “This is an excellent project which highlights the maturing age of farmers in our agricultural industry and the need for young people to enter the industry. It is very encouraging to visit a school like St Colman’s to hear about the strong interest that pupils have in farming and to see how they are being supported to develop these interests,” she said.

The minister also viewed agricultural equipment created by pupils for their technology project and commended them for their innovative designs.

Pictured St Colman’s College, Newry student Niall Murphy demonstrates the ‘Unreel’ device to Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill. The device which he designed, took the top prize at the Sentinus Young Innovators Science Fair. Photo by Simon Graham/Harrisons