Six of the best lead Junior Cert celebrations countrywide
Six students who topped the class of 2015 with 12 As joined Junior Cert celebrations last night after results were released to almost 60,000 students.
Among those in the group of six with the top grades was Niamh Clarke (15), a pupil at St Kevin's Community College, Dunlavin, Co Wicklow, who admitted that even though she was hoping for a good result, she "was absolutely delighted" when she discovered her grades.
Niamh says her impressive outcome "was a culmination of a lot of hard work", although she also found time to play club camogie, and both club and inter county football.
The second eldest of five took some ribbing yesterday from her younger siblings, Eoin, Orla and Ciaran, for "setting the bar so ridiculously high".
There was also a bit of brotherly slagging in the Deasy home in Douglas, Cork, on Tuesday night as 15-year-old Cian awaited his results.
His older bother, Hugh enjoyed very good results in the exam last year and suggested to Cian that it would be hard to beat.
But beat it he did. "At most, I would have been happy to match it; not in my wildest dreams did I think I would get 12 As. I wasn't aiming for that, but I wanted to do my best," said Cian, a pupil at Douglas Community School.
He said his recipe for success was working steadily all the way from first year: "You don't have to kill yourself," he said.
School principal Jim Long called Cian aside to deliver the good news ahead of the general release of results in the school, and when Cian shared his news with his brother Hugh, he said they "had a good laugh".
Cian shared top honours in Cork with Anne O'Farrell (15), of Ballinlough - a pupil at Mount Mercy College, Model Farm Road.
"It was such a shock, I went in thinking it would be mostly Bs," said Anne.
Despite her clean sweep, Anne said she probably could have studied more, but then the keen sports fan had a busy year keeping up with her rowing, hockey and camogie.
Arron O'Connor, of Mercy Secondary School, Ballymahon in Co Longford, was "completely shocked - it's more than I ever could have imagined".
Despite not getting too nervous during June's exams, he admitted there were some nerves yesterday morning: "I just opened the envelope really slowly and revealed one result at a time".
He said when he saw the A in Irish he knew he had done well, as he hadn't got an A in the "mocks".
His father Colm said he was "overwhelmed and delighted" for him.
"He didn't work too hard, he wasn't beavering away for four hours every night at a desk - but he did work hard," he said.
School principal Josephine Donohue described Arron as a "fantastic student; maths is a hobby to him".
Another of the six star pupils, Miranda Faul of Colaiste Lorcain, Castledermot, Co Kildare "was hoping to do well and I was really happy with the results".
"I worked really hard studying, but I also made sure to take time out for other interests and fun with my friends" she added.
Ciara Kenny of St John Bosco Community College, Kildysart, Co Clare said while she did put in a lot of effort "I didn't think I would get that result".
"I tried to have a balance. Do an hour's study and then go off and play a bit of sport," said Ciara, who plays club football with Coolmeen GAA and basketball as well.