Wednesday 18 September 2019

Consistent study and 'Love Island' among secrets of success for five with top marks


Fiachra O’Farrell, from Ranelagh, Dublin
Fiachra O’Farrell, from Ranelagh, Dublin

Evie Kearney, Niamh Lynch and Aoife Walsh

Five students across the country hit the incredible heights of achieving eight H1 grades in this year's Leaving Cert.

As more than 59,000 students received their results yesterday morning, Michael O'Grady, MacDara Allison, Fiachra O'Farrell, Bill Fitzgerald and Ellen O'Carroll celebrated the impressive milestone with their families and friends.

Michael, from Christian Brothers College in Cork city, said that he was taken aback with his tally.

The 19-year-old, from Mallow, told the Irish Independent: "I didn't think I'd do poorly but I wasn't expecting to do as well as I did at all."

Michael now hopes to get a place studying medicine at University College Cork when CAO offers are released tomorrow. He advised that leaving time for his hobbies was crucial in helping him "keep the sanity" during the exams.

"I wouldn't say I'm a die-hard studier or anything but I kind of kept on top of my work the whole time," he said.

Ellen O’Carroll, from Kilkenny
Ellen O’Carroll, from Kilkenny

"Definitely from March, when the orals were on, to the exams - it was definitely a hard slog. Throughout the six years I just paid attention in class and did my work.

"I always left time for extra curriculars and stuff as well, like I used to swim a lot and I do music outside school."

Tipperary student Bill (18) said one secret to his success was watching 'Love Island' every night to unwind.

The Rockwell College pupil said being prepared for the exams meant that he didn't have to cram the books the night before.

MacDara Allison, from Galway
MacDara Allison, from Galway

"Since first year I've always been a hard worker," he said.

"I was prepared for the exams, I didn't need to do too much the night before.

"Actually, I was watching 'Love Island' with my sister at around 20 past nine each night, even in the midst of the exams, and that was a great way of turning off.

"It makes for a bit of mindless viewing and it was great to go in to the exams nowhere near too stressed out but still prepared."

Bill Fitzgerald from Tipperary
Bill Fitzgerald from Tipperary

Ellen, from Kildowney, Co Kilkenny, a student at Presentation College, an all-girls school in Kilkenny city, was another of the top-scoring students.

Ellen's principal, Shane Hallahan, said the school was "thrilled" with her results.

Speaking to KCLR radio yesterday, Ellen said: "I'm a bit shocked still, wasn't really expecting it at all.

"My mam started crying on the phone when I rang her."

Ellen, who wants to study science in UCD, said her "great love" was maths so she hopes to focus on that during her degree.

Michael O’Grady from Cork city
Michael O’Grady from Cork city

Meanwhile, Galway student MacDara was another who managed to get maximum grades, and he said putting in an extra half an hour studying each night paid off.

MacDara, from Coláiste na Coiribe, Galway, said he was "delighted" with his results, despite finding English and history "tricky".

The 18-year-old said: "I'm delighted. To be honest, it's mostly about consistency.

"So from fifth year, I just kinda made sure I understood everything and from the start of sixth year I just did like a half-hour study every night and kept it going the entire way along with homework.

"I did a bit extra towards the end then."

MacDara hopes to go on to do theoretical physics in Trinity College Dublin.

Fiachra said seeing the top grades was an "absolutely amazing feeling".

"I still can't really believe it. I wasn't expecting it at all," said the student from Gonzaga College in Dublin.

Fiachra, from Ranelagh, also picked up a H1 in physics - despite only starting the subject halfway through sixth year after realising it was a requirement for his preferred course, theoretical physics in Trinity College.

"I couldn't really tell you what the secret is," he said.

"Like, I probably studied the same amount in fifth year as in sixth year - that's not to say that I did an absurd amount of study in fifth year, I just kept it consistent."

Irish Independent

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