FIVE schools will go head-to-head this Friday in a bid to win the COMPASS competition, sponsored and run by the Shannon Foynes Port Company.
The five schools have been shortlisted from a record number of entries for the competition from schools along the estuary in Limerick, Clare and Kerry.
Four of the five are from Limerick.
And to carry off the perpetual trophy and the other valuable top prizes, the winning school must demonstrate it is the most tuned in to the future energy needs of the region.
Outgoing champions, Salesian College Pallaskenry, have again made it through to the final round to get a shot at defending their title with their ‘Under the Sea, Seaweed into Biomass Team’ project.
But lined up against them are three other Limerick teams, all keen to take top honours.
They are: Coláiste Mhuire in Askeaton with their ‘Reclaim and Sustain Team’; Laurel Hill Secondary School with their ‘Working Waves Team’ project and John the Baptist Community College in Hospital with a project quirkily titled ‘Wishy Washy, Tidal Turbine Power’.
From Kerry will come Causeway Comprehensive with their project KTPE, ‘Kerry Turbine Powered Energy’.
The competition final will take place in the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum where students will have a chance to hear at first hand what Limerick’s All-Ireland winning senior hurling manager John Kiely has to say.
Speaking ahead of Friday’s final, port company chief executive Pat Keating said it was the third time the company has hosted the COMPASS competition, which takes place every two years and is aimed at Transition Year students.
“It’s high on our agenda in terms of its role in educating young people from this region as to the importance and potential of the Shannon Estuary, the opportunity for it to become a major employment hub and our own role as a company in it,” Mr Keating said.
“The interest in the competition has grown with each event and we are expecting a lot of excitement and energy but also some very interesting and innovative ideas on Friday.”
Harbour Master and chairman of the judging panel for the competition, Mick Kennelly, said that based on what the judges have seen so far, the standard has gone up again this year.
“We've been hugely impressed by the standard. It was a really difficult job to whittle it down to five very worthy finalists.”
“The final itself is a great day, great occasion. There’s a fantastic atmosphere at the event, huge excitement. The Museum is packed and the noise deafening as the individual schools shout on their respective teams as they give their presentations. We’re expecting great excitement on the day.”
The COMPASS winners will be well rewarded, in addition to the perpetual trophy, the winners get a commemorative gold medal, an iPad each and their school also gets a €2,000 prize. All runners-up will receive a silver COMPASS medal and a day’s sailing sponsored by Foynes Yacht Club.