Lucy Deegan, 17, from Luggacurren, Co Laois, and a pupil at Gaelcholáiste Cheatharlach, Co Carlow, won the first prize of €1,500 in the senior category.
Judges described her winning entry, entitled Tom — Summer as “a beautifully composed and exquisitely finished piece”.
Asked about the inspiration of her subject choice, Lucy, a midfield player on the Laois ladies’ minor football team, said: “My brother Tom is special to our family. Because he means so much to us, I wanted to capture him at his happiest.”
She attributes much of her artistic achievements to the encouragement and guidance she receives from her art teacher, Noirín Ní Eireamhóin, and artist Iwona Nartowska O’Reilly, who runs a local art class.
The chairman of the judging panel, Declan McGonagle, praised the “skill and maturity” of her work that took almost two months to complete.
It was, he said, “a lifelike and brilliantly-executed study in which the artist had so perfectly captured the personality of her subject and in which the affection she has for her brother is so wonderfully revealed”.
On securing the top prize, Lucy said: “I have been entering the Texaco Children’s Art Competition every year, and it has always been my dream to be the overall winner. My mum was crying when she told me, and I just burst into tears beside her.”
It is also Lucy’s fifth success in the competition and that of her siblings. Her brother Tom and sisters, Annie Rose and Juliet, have all won prizes in previous years.
To win the coveted top prize, Lucy fought off competition from thousands of other young students. She will be presented with her prize at a ceremony in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham next month that will be attended by all of the 126 winners from seven categories.
The competition has an unbroken history dating to 1956. Past winners include artists Graham Knuttel, Robert Ballagh, Bernadette Madden, Dorothy Cross, fashion designer Paul Costello and former broadcaster Thelma Mansfield.
Other notable past winners include ex-minister Ruairi Quinn (a four-times winner), communications consultant Terry Prone, chairman of the Pension Authority David Begg, actress Jean Anne Crowley, musician Ethna Tinney, Trinity College professor Eunan O’Halpin, and the late novelist Clare Boylan.
- Méabh Scahill (14) from Sutton Park School, Dublin, for her self-portrait;
- Amy Zhao (12) from Scoil Na gCeithre Máistrí, Athlone, Co Westmeath for her self-portrait;
- Ava Henson (11) from The Harold School, Glasthule, Co Dublin, for her self-portrait;
- Noah James Flynn from Scoil Bhríde, Menlough, Co Galway, for a piece entitled Ruby May;
- Eibhlín Murphy (6), from St Joseph’s Girls National School, Clonakilty, Co Cork for her plant study entitled Daisies;
- James Wellwood (17), from Coláiste Mhuire, Johnstown, Co Kilkenny, for his painting entitled Peafowl in The Forest. He won the same prize in last year’s competition.