While the sporting rivalry between Cork and Kerry is well-known, the academic stakes were also raised between the two counties yesterday.
Three bright students, two from Kerry and one from Cork, topped the bill of Leaving Certificate high achievers, getting nine higher level A1s apiece.
In Kerry, a brilliant student who never misses a Munster rugby game in Thomond Park and is also a keen swimmer, still found time to obtain top marks.
Caoimhe Normile, of Presentation Secondary School, Tralee, achieved nine straight A1s in Irish, English, French, maths, accounting, applied maths, physics, chemistry and biology and is to study medicine in UCC.
“Delighted. Over the moon. Ecstatic. I just can’t believe it,” was her reaction as she collected her results.
“I was just hoping to get enough points for medicine and definitely didn’t expect this at all. All my teachers were fantastic and it is thanks to them for most of it,” the 17-year-old added.
Caoimhe is the daughter of Department of Agriculture veterinary surgeon Chris Normile and Jacqueline, a teacher. Her sister Laura is studying law and French in UCC.
Mr Normile said the reason Caoimhe attended the Tralee school, 40km from her home, was to keep up her swimming with the Kingdom Club. “We knew she was a good student and expected her to do well, but her achievement has overshot expectations.”
Meanwhile, in Dublin, Kenmare native Joe O’Sullivan had a welcome surprise when he opened his brown envelope yesterday.
The 18-year-old Blackrock College student received A1s in maths, applied maths, French, Latin, Spanish, physics, biology, chemistry and music, and an A2 in English.
Joe has secured enough points to study medicine at Cambridge in September.
He said boarding in Blackrock College helped him to focus on the hard work he put into studying. “I couldn’t pick which subject I wanted to drop, and I was going to review the situation as I went along, but in the end I just decided to go for it and do the exams, and I am very happy I did.”
Conor Durkan from Cork was another Leaving Certificate student with nine higher level A1s on his results sheet but he didn’t have to wait go get to school to hear the good news.
“My mum got a call from the principal so she came in and told me, I couldn’t have expected it really,” said Conor, who should be receiving an offer to study maths science at University College Cork in the CAO first round offers next week.
But his real passion is for music, being a keen pianist and guitar player.
“I’d love to do something in music, I love music. My mum was always on to me to do a bit more study,” he laughed, after being lifted on the shoulders of some of his 100-plus fellow Leaving Certificate students at Christian Brothers College.
As well as his teachers there and at his primary school in Scoil Chríost Rí near home in Douglas, the 18-year-old attributes his success to the encouragement of his parents. His dad Jack is principal of Togher Boys’ National School and his mum Maria works is a special needs assistant at Deerpark CBS.
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