‘I was in shock’ - Seven Leaving Cert students get eight H1s

More than 3,700 Leaving Cert pupils fail maths exam

There were emotional scenes at Pobalscoil Neasáin in Baldoyle, Dublin as students gathered to get their Leaving Certificate Results. Video: Bryan O'Brien


Click here to download a PDF of the 2018 Leaving Cert results: https://iti.ms/2OCrN7g

Seven students have achieved eight H1s ( between 90-100 per cent) in the Leaving Certificate while 53 have achieved seven top grades, it has been revealed.

The seven were in Coláiste Pádraig CBS in Lucan, Oatlands College in Mount Merrion, Christian Brothers College in Dún Laoghaire, St Andrew’s College in Blackrock, Christian Brothers College in Sidney Hill, Cork, Midleton College in Cork , and Yeats College Galway.

Overall, some 57,000 students received their results on Wednesday. Students collected their results from their schools from 9am or online by visiting the State Examinations Commission website from midday.

Liam Mariga (18) from Gortroe near Youghal, Co Cork, was convinced there was a misprint when he opened his Leaving Cert results envelope to find he achieved eight H1s.

“I went around to the back of the school to open it on my own… My first thought was, ‘surely there’s a mistake’,” says Mariga, a student at Midleton College, Co Cork.

“To be honest, I wasn’t expecting anything like that at all. I was in shock.”

It was a particularly big day for the Mariga household: he is one of triplets who all received their results today.

He now hopes to study medicine at Trinity College Dublin. His brother Cathal plans to study veterinary science, while his sister Katie has enough points to become a school teacher.

“To be fair, my mother was good at getting us to study and putting the shoe down when it was needed,” says Mariga. “I also had some amazing teachers who were incredibly supportive.”

From left Anna Dowley, Kara Fitzherbert, Nicola Pratt, Sara Deacon, Holly Moynan, Vicky Woods and Hanah Condell getting the Leaving Certificate results at Kilkenny College. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan
From left Anna Dowley, Kara Fitzherbert, Nicola Pratt, Sara Deacon, Holly Moynan, Vicky Woods and Hanah Condell getting the Leaving Certificate results at Kilkenny College. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan

Paying attention

The secret of his success, he says, was simple: paying attention in class, working solidly throughout the year and not letting study take over his life.

He found time to captain the school hockey team, train two or three times a week and hang out with his friends.

“It’s important to relax and not get too stressed. You can burn yourself out,” says Mariga. “I love playing hockey so I never thought about giving it up.”


Leaving Cert students celebrate results around the country VIEW NOW

Edward Gash, principal of Midleton College, said: “We’re delighted for Liam and very proud of all the students here… he worked consistently through fifth and sixth year and had a very balanced approach to school life.”

Andres Clarke secured a birthday to remember when his eight H1s arrived on the day he turned 18.

“My first reaction was literally the word ‘Wow!’,” he says of opening his results envelope with fellow classmates at his Oatlands College in Dublin’s Mount Merrion.

He plans to study biology at Trinity College Dublin and has now easily secured the requisite points. From there he will take some time to consider the future, he says, but his prospects are obviously bright.

Andres’s approach to effective studying will be a comfort to those coming behind him. “What worked for me was to maintain a healthy social life and make sure you have outlets where you can just tune out and forget about all the studying,” he says.

“I would say if there is a key to success for me it’s being able to forget about it all for a while.”

Love of chemistry

Another student who got eight H1s, Alex Burke, is planning to study medicinal chemistry at UCD after becoming interested in cancer research when he saw a member of his extended family go through it. Alex from Montenotte in Cork city, who is a student at Christian Brothers College, (CBC) said he fell in love with chemistry at a young age and wanted to apply his knowledge in order to assist sick people.

“I was always interested in chemistry and I always wanted to do something to help people. I was always interested in cancer research. I fell in love with chemistry from day one here in school and then I thought about ways to apply it.

Then when you see illnesses with family members or things like that it is kind of an inspiring way to think of how could I use chemistry in a way to help people. I had a family member (with cancer) a few years ago.”

Alex told told Cork’s 96FM that he was really surprised when he scored the maximum 625 points. He stressed that the results hadn’t sunk in and that while he was hoping to do well he had exceeded all of his expectations.

“It is amazing. I was expecting to do well but not this well. I started from day one in sixth year even in fifth year studying every single day. This was always the ultimate goal so there is a lot of work involved. It is exciting times.”

Alex Burke from Montenotte after receiving his results. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Alex Burke from Montenotte after receiving his results. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

In Thurles, meanwhile, Scott Beaton said it took a few moments for him to process his seven H1 grades. He had only been expecting two or three and opened the envelope quietly on his own “for the nerves”.

“I was really happy. I really want to go to Edinburgh University,” said the 17-year-old student from Coláiste Mhuire Co-Ed in the Co Tipperary town.

Now that is all but certain. He plans to study Middle Eastern Studies, a “lovely mix” of culture, language and religion that will prime him for a career in humanitarian aid.

Scott easily surpassed the required three H1s and three H2s to get there. And the secret to his studious success? “First knowing why you want to do it,” he considers of his regime which included eight hours of study a day over the weekend, punctuated with runs and walking his dog.

“I didn’t just want to get a university place; I did it because I knew that I could be good at working with people and helping refugees. I was going to do it no matter what.”

Dáire Byrne’s eight H1s will propel him straight to a Masters in Mathematics at Edinburgh University and he does not even consider it his strong subject. The 18-year-old from Lucan sat his Leaving Cert at Coláiste Pádraig CBS and says the secret to his stunning results is embracing the education system throughout secondary school, and a dismissal of rote learning.

“As if learning is a light that you can turn on and off,” he says of the notion. “To have a love of education...I feel is necessary to truly enjoy it and excel.”

Dáire hopes his four-year course in mathematics will help him carve out a career in finance or tech, probably the latter.

“Google need mathematicians, as do Apple,” he says, considering the options that right now appear laid out before him. “It is the universal language.”

Scott Beaton with his results outside Coláiste Mhuire Co-Ed in Thurles
Scott Beaton with his results outside Coláiste Mhuire Co-Ed in Thurles


A young Sandymount, Co Dublin, man is in the happy position of being able to accept a place at Pembroke College, University of Oxford after he achieved eight Ard 1s in his Leaving Certificate.

Harry Deacon (18) will now study economics and management systems. A former pupil at St Andrew’s College in Booterstown, Dublin, Mr Deacon said his parents were “obviously very, very proud. My mum drove me in for the results and she was probably more nervous than I was”.

For himself “it was definitely a surprise” he said although he does admit to working very hard. “I worked through the year with the offer from Oxford so I knew what I had to get but I still was in the school musical and took part in the Model United Nations”. He also kept up his sports, cricket and hockey and remarked; “they kept me sane during the year”.

Mr Deacon said his family “had a very quiet house this year” as his sister was studying for her Junior Certificate, the results of which are out in a matter of weeks. “Credit to her there was not a sound out of her,” he said, adding that he hoped he would be celebrating her results with her when they come out.