Top students toast Leaving Cert success

Full marks in this year's Leaving Certificate went to students in Kerry, Cork and Dublin.

Full marks in this year's Leaving Certificate went to students in Kerry, Cork and Dublin.

Top of the class of 2008 was Kerry student Orla Houlihan, from the Intermediate School, Killorglin, who achieved an astonishing nine A1s.

Another 13 high achieving students around the country were hot on her heels after scoring a hugely impressive eight A1s.

Cork students proved they were on winning form with six pupils getting the top grade in eight subjects.

Three pupils from Christian Brothers College (CBC), Sidney Hill, came up trumps with full marks in each of their eight subjects.

Three other schools in the rebel county - Mount Mercy College, Model Farm Road, Coláiste Chríost Rí, Turner's Cross, and St Aloysius College, Carrigtwohill - each boasted one student with eight A1s.

In Dublin, four pupils were celebrating their eight A1s at Templeogue College, Muckross Park College in Donnybrook, Skerries Community College, and Castleknock College.

Elsewhere in the country, Rice College CBS, Ennis, Mercy College, Sligo, and Coláiste na Coiribe, Galway all had eight A1 pupils.

Best pals and CBC Sidney Hill students Mark Moriarty, Ian Chisholm and Kevin O'Keefe were ecstatic after scoring eight A1s each.

Mark is no stranger to success having represented Ireland three times in the International Physics Olympiad, a competition for secondary school students, where he took home a bronze medal from Vietnam earlier this summer.

He is looking forward to learning more about physics when he studies the subject at University College Cork this autumn.

Brains clearly run in the family as Mark's two older sisters Clare and Jane both got maximum points in their Leaving Certs.

"It hasn't quite sunk in yet," said Mark, who turns 19 on Monday. "I had hoped for the eight A1s but I didn't really expect to get them."

He will be joined on the course by 18-year-old Kevin who admitted he feared that some of the exams hadn't gone as well as he hoped.

"I thought that English hadn't gone that well but when I looked down at my results I was so happy to see the A1.

"It's so satisfying to get the eight A1s because all the hard work over the nine months paid off."

Kevin said that he managed to get through the bulk of his schoolwork during the week while on the train into school from his hometown of Cobh.

This left plenty of time for him to have fun and play tennis at the weekend.

The key to success for eight A1 student Ian was not keeping the head in the books for the whole year.

He made sure to keep up other interests such as swimming and football, and also acted as president of the school debating team.

"You can't lock yourself away because you'd go insane," said the 18-year-old.

He said the worst part of the exams was the long build-up to results day.

"The more you think about, the worse you think you did.

"I was never confident in Irish and I left out a section of the letter in the German exam so I was very nervous about them. But now I'm just elated."

For those who do not feel they achieved what they expected, the Institute of Guidance Counsellors (IGC) will open its helplines for students and their parents and answer concerns and queries about their results and college offers.

The helpline - 1800 265 165 - will open from 10am to 8pm on Wednesday; 9am to 8am Thursday; 9am to 4pm on Friday and 10am to 8pm next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

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