Friday 24 October 2014

Megan (19) gets 8A1s despite cancer diagnosis

Geraldine Gittens, Claire McCormack, Ralph Riegel and Frank Whelan

Published 13/08/2014 | 11:23

A YOUNG woman who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last year and forced to re-sit her Leaving Cert has scored an incredible 8A1s.

Megan Ross (19) has also secured a position at the prestigious Harvard University in the US, and begins her third level studies on Monday.

“It’s just an incredible story,” her headmaster at St Joseph of Cluny secondary school in Dun Laoghaire in Dublin, Mary White, told this afternoon.

“She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the end of September (2012) and with the chemotherapy and the various tests and hospital visits it meant she was unable to sit her Leaving Cert as normal.

“But she is an extraordinarily talented student and she sat the exams this year – and has managed to secure an incredible result.”

Even more importantly, Megan’s health is now described as “very good”, with her principal saying her “prognosis is excellent”.

Megan Ross, 19, a student in St Joseph of Cluny Secondary School in Killiney, Megan got eight A1'S in her Leaving cert results. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 13/8/2014
Megan Ross, 19, a student in St Joseph of Cluny Secondary School in Killiney, Megan got eight A1s in her Leaving Cert results. Photo: Damien Eagers

The 19-year-old has already secured a place at Harvard.

She is one of 13 students who secured 8A1s – or more – in this year’s Leaving Cert.

Fee-paying St Michael’s College in Ballsbridge topped the list as pupil Conor Gallagher(18), also from Ballsbridge, received nine higher level A1s. The other 12 got 8A1s.

“I wasn’t really expecting it – not at all,” a delighted Conor told

From left to right: Triplets Oisin, Daire, and Tristan as they collected their Leaving Cert results in Blackrock College Dublin.

“I was happy with how I did on the day, but I didn’t expect to get anything like this. It’s a bit surreal.”

Conor opted to take the old-fashioned route when obtaining his results, heading to his school and receiving a ‘hard copy’ as opposed to checking them online.

Proud principal Tim Kelleher was on hand to meet Conor and hand him his results.

“I was shocked and delighted [when I opened them] – it was a mixture of the two.”

13/8/14 REPRO FREE
Cistercian College Roscrea student Matthew Kavanagh from Urlingford, County Kilkenny centre, receiving top honours, 1 of 12 in the country to achieve the highest results in the Leaving Cert, 8 A1 grades.
.  Pic Sean Curtin Photo.
Cistercian College Roscrea student Matthew Kavanagh from Urlingford, County Kilkenny centre, receiving top honours. Photo: Sean Curtin

Not surprisingly, he then contacted his parents Paul and Blathna to tell them the good news.

“They’re obviously over the moon.

“I tried to be the calm one to be honest – they couldn’t believe it.”

Conor is the youngest of three sons – his two older brothers are currently studying in UCD.

“[My brothers] were delighted. They were a bit taken aback. And I think they were kind of annoyed that I beat them,” he laughed.

Carl Whelan who got 8A1s in CBC Monkstown with the principal Dr. G. Berry Principal
Anrai O Braonain, 18, a student from Colaiste Eoin in Stillorgan holds his Leaving cert results up. Anrai got 8 AI's in his leaving cert exam, his mobile is 087 0652593.. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 13/8/2014
Anrai O Braonain, 18, a student from Colaiste Eoin in Stillorgan holds his incredible results. Photo: Damien Eagers

Conor is planning on studying Business and Law in UCD.

For now, he’s planning on enjoying the remainder of his summer break.

And when asked if he had any tips for the Leaving Cert, he offered some common sense.

“There’s no secret really. It’s just to work hard all year round.

“Also maintain a balance – and to not over work. I played football and rugby during the year. It’s equally important.

Proud principal Tim Kelleher said they knew earlier this morning that Conor was Ireland’s top student.

“We expected him to do exceptionally well. He’s been an outstanding student.

“We had an exceptionally bright group of students this year. In the last number of years, we’ve had eight A1s on several occasions – but this is the first time we’ve got nine A1s so we’re delighted to go one better this year. To have nine A1s is very special,” he said.

Two students from the same school scored an incredible 8A1s.

They are Tim Fannon and Jack Hartnett, who are both 18 and who both attend the Christian Brothers College in Sidney Hill, Wellington in Cork.

We are hoping to speak to them shortly.

Also in Cork, Kevin Ryan secured 8A1s for Colaiste Chroi Naofa in Carraig Na Bhfear.

Christopher McMahon (17) at Castleknock Community College secured eight A1s today.

Christopher, who plans to study French and Politics at Trinity College Dublin, has been described as a “gifted” student and a “future leader” of this country.

The student also acquired top results in his junior certificate according to his principal John Cronin.

Provision 130814
Jack Hartnett, Montenotte, and Tim Fannon, Cobh, who received 8 A1s (Higher),  in their Leaving Cert at Christian Brothers College, Cork.
Pic: Provision
Jack Hartnett, Montenotte, and Tim Fannon, Cobh, who received 8 A1s (Higher), in their Leaving Cert at Christian Brothers College, Cork. Pic: Provision

“He has been an extremely talented student. He had self-taught himself some languages, and he has a great command of languages like Latin, French and Spanish.”

“He has a great grá for languages.”

“He is a modest, level-headed student and today he took it in his stride but also he appreciated and recognised that he has a gift, which is unusual.”

Christopher won an award last year when he was selected by the Spanish government to take part in a 45-day trip to Europe and South America, on the back of an essay he wrote in Spanish and an interview at the Spanish embassy.

Triplets Daire, Oisin, and Tristan Brady (18) from Blackrock College plan to hit the town to celebrate their excellent results tonight.

Daire secured eight A1s in Maths, Geography, Spanish, Applied Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Accounting, and Economics.

All three brothers plan to study at UCD.  Daire plans to study Economics and Finance in UCD, while Oisin will study Business and Law, and Tristan will study Economics and Geography.

Daire told “I’m just thrilled. I was quite surprised to be honest, I didn’t expect to do that well.”

The top student secured his excellent result, even while recovering from a rugby-related shoulder injury this year.

“I played a lot of rugby but I had to give it up because of a recurring shoulder injury and I had a few operations as well. It was never really a struggle to balance the two and I was very disappointed when I had to give up rugby. But it gave me more time to work.”

“They (Oisin and Tristan) were big rugby players as well. They were playing all the way to March.”

While the brothers are competitive in rugby and golf, they were a solid support to each other academically this year.

“We gave each other a lot of help, and interchanged notes from a teacher that may have been really good, or notes from grinds if one of us was getting them. We’d just help each other out in any area that we needed.”

“We’ve just been supportive of each other. We’d say ‘come on, let’s do some work’ if one of us wasn’t working.”

“I’m competitive on the pitch and off the pitch. We were just supportive of each other with study, but we’re very competitive with each other with rugby and golf.”

School principal Alan McGinnity praised Daire as an exceptional student.

“This is an exceptional result in both an Irish context and a Blackrock context. We expected him to do well.”

“He plays rugby and he got a shoulder injury at Christmas and he wasn’t able to play. So at least this is some consolation for that.”

Also in Dublin, Anrai O Braonain plans to go to UCD to study Economics and Finance after getting 8A1s. He attended Colaiste Eoin in Stillorgan.

"“I was pretty surprised because I found Applied Maths tough," he said.

"To be honest I couldn’t have asked for better teachers

“I think that Applied Maths was a bit lenient – people expected a C but ended up with an A."

In nearby Monkstown, Carl Whelan secured 8A1s for the Christian Brothers College.

He plans to do Science in UCD.

"Getting an A1 in Applied Maths was weird, and English was a shock," he laughed.

Among the others who scored 8A1s are James McAllister, who attends Colaiste Cholmcille in Ballyshannon in Donegal. His principal said he plans to go to Queens in Belfast.

Matthew Kavanagh (18) from Urlingford Kilkenny, hopes to do medicine in UCC after he secured 8A1s for the Cistercian College in Roscrea.

Taya Keating (18) from Galway City got the same amazing result for Dominican College in Taylors Hill in the city.

Paul Gallagher from Summerhill College on College Road, Co Sligo also got the incredible result.

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