How did our Leaving Cert diarists from Coláiste Chill Mhantáin, Co Wicklow get on?

Results day is a nervous time and not just for students. Teachers feel the pressure too, especially when, like Pádraig Donoghue and his colleagues, they've invested so much in establishing a new school. Donoghue is principal of the recently-amalgamated Coláiste Chill Mhantáin in Wicklow, the school from which our Irish Times Leaving Cert diarists graduated this year. He was delighted with the results from this year's cohort.

“It was a lovely day to give the results out,” he says. “I suppose the students who worked hard and took the advice we gave reaped the rewards.”

The diarists themselves were an eclectic bunch. Some of them had secured college places before sitting the exams, others were going for top points courses.

The common thread was that each of them had thought about what they wanted to do. We had a budding vet, a doctor, an actor, a fashion designer, a carer, an army cadet and a champion of the Irish language. Here’s how they got on.


Mark Ryan

Mark wasn’t around to collect his results. In July he flew to the UK, and is currently training as an army cadet. He’s really enjoying it but every day is fully scheduled, leaving time only for an occasional text. It’s a challenge but he’s rising to it by all accounts.

Mark was our only Leaving Cert diarist who had done the Leaving Cert Applied (LCA), a more practical approach to the exam. When he was writing his Leaving Cert diary he was focused but relatively relaxed given that he had already completed a good proportion of his marks through the LCA system of continuous assessment.

“He did fantastically well,” Donoghue says. “His mum and sister were in and brought a couple of photos of him in his uniform. He seems to be getting on very well over there.”

Clinton Byrne

“I took my time going down to the school to pick up my results. I wasn’t that confident that all would be well and I didn’t want to be getting the bad news in front of loads of people.

“As it is I’m delighted with my results as I got what I need for English and drama in UCD. The one thing I was bothered about was my result in art. I thought I got an A there and because I think it is a subjective subject to grade, I’m keen to get a recheck.”

Rory O’Carroll

“I only got the results last week and I’m already sort of over it. I mean, I’m really happy, but it really feels like that’s all done now. The elation has worn off already.

“That’s not to say I’m not delighted. I am, I’m really happy. I got 550 points, but more importantly I got the three As I needed to get into my course in veterinary physiotherapy in the UK.

“I was second in the queue as the envelopes were handed out. I went out into the car and opened the results with my mum and sister. I got the A in biology which I really didn’t think I’d get. Even maths was kind. I came out with a B which was a pleasant surprise

“So now it’s all eyes on England as I prepare to go off there. There isn’t any course like this in Ireland so I’m hoping there will be a bit of a gap in the market for someone like me when I graduate.”

Lauren Vickers

“I was a bit later than everyone else getting my results. I had a dentist appointment so the crowds had dispersed a bit. I was nervous, but not as nervous as I thought I’d be. I guess there’s less stress when you have your college place already.

“I’ll be studying fashion design in Bray Institute of Further Education and I had my place even before I sat the Leaving Cert. I still thought it was worth making an effort and when I opened the envelope I knew it had paid off.

“I got 310 points and English was my best subject which I was pretty pleased about. I kept the celebrations low key though – ordering food, that kind of thing.

“I’m most definitely delighted to be leaving the exams behind. It’s over and actually I think my mind has just discarded the whole thing. I’m looking ahead and looking forward to the next step.”

Orla Yeates

“I got down to the school as early as possible and I was a little nervous which is funny really, as I already have my place in Bray Institute of Further Education.

“When I got down there the buzz was great. Most people seemed really delighted. I did much better than I was expecting. I needed to pass and that was grand, but I actually got higher grades in subjects I was expecting to do badly in, such as geography, which I was sure I had failed.

“Now I’m off to start training as a care assistant, as planned, but it’s nice to have a good Leaving in my pocket!”

Manav T Mano

s “Last week’s results left me in the dark about what is going to happen next. I didn’t get the points I need for my first choice of medicine.

“I didn’t celebrate last week because I wasn’t over the moon. I suppose I’ll just have to give it a lot of thought and look at all my options.

“I may consider repeating the Leaving Cert to get what I want. I was especially disappointed by my grades in chemistry.

“Overall I could have done better but it’s up to the universities now. I really don’t know what I’m going to be offered today.”

Seán O’Callaghan

“I didn’t really feel the nerves. I guess playing lots of matches and things helps with that kind of thing. So I got my results and went outside with a few of the lads and opened them there. That was that.

“I’m over the moon with my results. It’s NUI Galway to study arts with Irish for me. I got 505 so that should be enough. I actually thought that economics was one of my worst subjects and it ended up being one of my best. Funny how that happens.

“It’s a strange feeling. I mean, it’s the end of an era really. Everyone going in different directions. It’ll be difficult staying in touch with everyone and making a whole new group of friends. I can’t wait though. It’s a really exciting time.”