Leaving Cert: Castlebar student secures nine A1 grades

David Glynn gets country’s top marks while eight students earn eight A1s each

David Glynn, a student of St Gerard’s College, Castlebar, Co Mayo has achieved nine higher level A1s in his Leaving Certificate, including maths, physics, chemistry and Japanese. He intends to study mathematics in TCD. Video: Keith Heneghan


With his blonde hair, an orange hoodie, blue jeans and maroon sneakers, David Glynn looked more like a boyband star than the country’s brightest Leaving Certificate student on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old, who has completed his studies at St Gerald’s College, Castlebar, with an unbelievable flourish – 925 points if you added all nine subjects – shyly took part in a photoshoot at his school with other classmates who scored highly in the exam.

Modestly, he explained to reporters that he never expected to land the best Leaving Cert results in the nation and had no special plans for celebrating that achievement.

As his proud parents, Peter and Bertha, and an equally delighted school principal Daniel Hyland, looked on, David, explained that he now hopes to study maths at Trinity College Dublin.

Seemingly insatiable when it comes to learning, David took on a number of extra subjects for his Leaving including Japanese.

“Why Japanese?”, one reporter wondered aloud. The answer was a bit surprising. “I love Japanese video games. That’s how I became interested in the language.”

Certainly modest

David was certainly modest and taciturn when it came to answering media questions and it was left to school principal, Daniel Hyland and his parents, David and Bertha, to provide fuller background on his sucecss.

Mr Hyland, head of the 548 pupil school, where an impressive 20 per cent of Leaving Cert stduents got over 500 points, said: “David’s a lovely, quiet, unassuming, young man, well rounded and a very talented musician.

“He’s very modest as well. We’re probably more excited than him”.

Mr Glynn, a retired bank manager, remarked: “David did work hard. He obviously has ability and is able to apply himself as well.”

His mother said David is also passionate about music and “loves playing the piano”.

The Glynn family live at Maryland on the outskirts of Castlebar. David has one sibling, a brother James, who is studying commerce at UCD.

He was joined on Wednesday by other high achievers from the college: Conor Murray (615 points), Cian Ruane (610), Ammar Janjua (625), Martin Gallagher (605) and Barry Lawless (600).

Gesturing towards David reporters asked the lads what they thought of the country’s best student.

“We all hate him”, they chorused, before adding: “just joking”.

In Co Clare, Conall Ó hAiniféin, said he was “delighted, thrilled” with his eight A1s.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all, whatsoever. There were a couple of subjects I was a bit apprehensive about. I just wanted to get my points for my course and everything else after that was a bonus,” said the Gaelcholáiste an Chláir student. “When I opened the envelope I was stunned.”

Keep listening

He said his approach to study was to keep listening and learning o ver the two year senior cycle instead of trying to cram it all in the last few weeks. “It wasn’t hectic, full on study as you might think. it was just more over the course of two years constantly doing a bit. I was big into hurling and football and I didn’t have to give up any of that during the year, I kept that up almost to the end.”

The 18-year-old will now go on to study maths science in University College Cork.

Mount Mercy College in Cork city had two students who achieved eight A1s. Kate Henry arrived early at the school to pick up her results while Meabh Allen logged onto the internet from Germany to see how she did.

“We’re delighted,” said principal Padraigín Uí Riordáin. “We had great examination results right across the board this morning. We’re very happy with them.”

She said the two girls have applied to study medicine at UCC. “I don’t think they’ll have any difficulty getting their first choice.”

The other schools to boast Leaving Cert candidates with eight A1s this year are Loreto College; Loreto Abbey and Jesus and Mary College – all in Dublin; Sacred Heart Secondary School, Co Offaly and St Fachtnas High School, Co Cork.