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Zoe Ahern, Charlotte O’Brien, Darragh Curran Grace O’Toole and Alex O’Sullivan, of the Shannon Roots team, who are representing the Shannon College Of Hotel management, in the European Mise En Place Cup, being held in Maastricht in February 2023. Photograph by John Kelly

Shannon students look to bring Euro trophy home

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A TEAM of students from the Shannon College of Hotel Management is getting ready to compete at a top continental hospitality competition.

The Mise En Place Cup in Maastricht is a competition for Europe’s top hospitality schools and third year students Alex O’Sullivan, Grace O’Toole, Darragh Curran, Charlotte O’Brien and Zoe Ahern will represent Shannon.

Speaking this week, Alex said, “Within our year we all compete to be on the team, by sending in different introduction videos and our CVs.

“Then our mentor chooses five students who she thinks will represent the college well. We are going over to Maastricht in February of 2023 to take part in the competition.”

On the assessment of the competing colleges, she added,”At the minute we have to write a paper and when we get over there we have to pitch it Dragon’s Den-style.

“We have to pretend that we are pitching to a company, a hotel group, trying to sway them in a certain direction, to a financial decision in the hotel.”

Her colleague Grace said that having strong social media content is also an important dimension for the competitors.

“On the social media side of it, we have to have a presence promoting the competition and promoting our team, just raising awareness around it.

“Our team is called Shannon’s Roots and the hashtag that all the teams are using is #BreakTheMould which relates back to the theme of the competition which is Trend and Tradition, breaking tradition to develop upcoming trends is the theme of it this year.

“At the moment two people are sitting down writing the paper, the rest of us are researching and bringing ideas.

“Alex and myself are kind of taking the marketing and social media side of things, we’re creating content all the time and we’re really looking to get the team’s name out there.”

She says that the competitions offers a great opportunity to develop their skills.

“We’re loving it. It is a lot of work on top of our college work and a lot of us have part time jobs as well, so it is difficult.

“At the end of the day it is something completely new to us, we’re all being taken out of our comfort zones and developing new skills. It is really focused on what your weaknesses are and how can you improve them, and getting experience to improve them.”

Grace says that developing people skills and contacts is very important in their sector.

“For us in hospitality it is so important to have connections in different hotel groups and hotels to really expand our horizons.

“The main thing for us is that we go out there and learn how to interact and develop working relationships with other business people.”

Both Grace and Alex are studying for a Bachelor of Commerce and International Hotel Management and Grace says it offers a lot of possibilities.

“If it’s for you you’ll have a great time, and even if it isn’t, there are so many opportunities afterwards, because it is a business degree at the end of the day and you can really go anywhere. You learn so many things about working with people in business.”

2019 was the last time the European Mise En Place Cup was held in-person and Shannon were the winners then.

“We’re really looking forward to following in their footsteps and hopefully bringing the trophy back to Shannon again,” says Alex.

The team will be mentored by Celine Ryan while updates on their progress can be seen on their instagram account @shannons_roots_emcup2023.

Owen Ryan
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Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.