Young scientist Ciara among the A team

Ciara Judge is taking it all in her stride, being one of the top young scientists and now one of Ireland’s top brains, after getting 12 A’s in her Junior Certificate.

The transition-year student at Kinsale Community School thought she had not done very well at English in June. So she found it hard to believe she was one of the lucky 13 with 11 higher level and one common level As.

“I’m still quite shocked. I’m over the moon,” said Ciara.

She also managed, along with classmates Emer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow, to submit a 20-page proposal for the forthcoming EU Young Scientist competition, just days before the exams started.

Their project scooped top prize at the BT Young Scientist in January but they had to come right back down to earth weeks later for their mocks. Now the trio, who all got great results yesterday, are planning the trip to the Czech Republic at the end of next week to represent Ireland.

Record numbers among the 60,000 who got Junior Certificate results yesterday took higher level maths. And there was delight for 12 other students who, just like Ciara, added up 12 A’s on their results sheets.

Among them was 15-year-old Sean Murray from De la Salle Secondary School in Dundalk, who pipped his twin despite Oisin’s 10 A’s and 2 B’s. The pair said their winning formula was down to studying together and quizzing each other — and insisted there was no rivalry between them.

There were two more Cork students with a dozen top grades, including Presentation Brothers College student Fiachra Kelleher, who hopes to do work experience in radio or newspaper during transition year to further his goals of a journalism career.

Laura Lynch was the toast of Coláiste Muire in Cobh with her 12 A’s, which included music, which she studied after school.

“The teachers told me to stay back afterwards when they were giving out the results, so I knew it was either really good or really bad,” said Laura.

“But I had no idea it was going to be as good as this.”

Others with 12 A’s — that included top marks in civic, social, and political education which is set at just ‘common’ level — were Limerick student Sarah McNamara, a boarder at Ursuline Convent in Thurles, whose favourite subject is maths and who is concentrating on a future in science.

One of two Clare students with top marks was Caoimhe Lyons, a student at Kilrush Community School, who said she was thrilled and shocked. Bethan Godber praised staff at St Joseph’s Secondary School in Tulla for their role in her success, which she put down to studying hard but also taking plenty of breaks.

Also celebrating 12 A’s were: Conall Hayes from Coláiste Ciaráin in Leixlip, Co Kildare; Cathal Darby from St Mary’s College in Rathmines, Dublin 6; Ciaran O’Hanlon, Convent of Mercy, Ballymahon, Co Longford; and students at Castlerea Community School in Roscommon, Dominican College in Dublin 9, and St Leo’s College in Carlow.

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