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Incredible achievements and smiles all around after a tough Leaving Cert year

September 16th, 2021 10:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Leaving Cert student Ernie McCarthy who got eight H1s in his exams, plays the trombone in the Clonakilty Brass Band. He is planning to study medicine at UCC. (Photo: Andy Gibson)

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BY JACKIE KEOGH AND

KIERAN O’MAHONY

AS a trombone player with the Clonakilty Brass Band, Ernie McCarthy is used to hitting the high notes, but he hit highs of a different kind when he received 8 H1 grades in his Leaving Cert results.

The 18-year-old student from Simon’s Cove, who attended Clonakilty Community College, said he was thrilled with the results, having sat seven subjects, scoring an impressive H1 in English, Irish, maths, engineering, French, chemistry, and physics, along with music – which he sat outside of school and opted for a predicted grade.

‘I knew I was going to do well as I had put in some good work, but I definitely wasn’t expecting to get a H1 in all eight subjects,’ a delighted Ernie said.

‘I went out with my friends that night to celebrate the results and I’m hoping to study medicine in UCC as I have 625 points now.’

School principal Anne Dunne said they are ‘incredibly proud’ of Ernie’s amazing results, and also of all their Leaving Cert students this year.

Meanwhile, in Bandon, Eugene O’Brien, principal of Hamilton High School, said they were absolutely delighted with the results from the Leaving Cert class of 2021.

‘A remarkable 86% of our students achieved over 400 points, 40% achieved over 500 points and six students scored over 600 points,’ said Eugene.

Four students – Conor Brennan from Kilbrittain, Ciaran Fogarty from Bandon, Sean Henchion from Timoleague and Barry O’Donovan from Bandon– achieved 625 points.

‘We would like to wish them the very best as they move on to the next chapter in their lives,’ he said.

Students in nearby St Brogan’s College also celebrated some great results with four students – Laoise Markey, Jake Bean, Ross Power and Tomás Fadian – achieving 600 points.

At Bandon Grammar School, two boys and two girls received the maximum 625 points, while seven students got 6 H1s or more.

‘We want to congratulate all of our students and across the board the results seemed to be very good and our students were delighted with them,’ said principal Ian Coombes.

Two students from Coláiste na Toirbhirte, Laura Barr and Amy O’Donoghue, achieved the maximum 625 points, while 15% of the Leaving Cert years achieved 600 points or over.

School principal Mary Galvin congratulated all their students.

‘Every student achieved results that were a credit to the effort and hard work they put into their Leaving Cert programme in a very difficult year,’ she said.

Skibbereen Community School had 130 students taking the Leaving Cert this year.

‘Three of them secured maximum points, but we are extremely proud of them all,’ said Anton O’Mahony, principal.

‘It has been a rough 18 months and the fact that they have gone through it and come out the other end is an incredible achievement.

‘The stress and uncertainty that they had to endure was unprecedented,’ he added, ‘but the coping skills they showed was a credit to them and will stand to them in the future.’

Castletownbere’s Scoil Phobail Bheara careers guidance counsellor Noralene Ní Urdail said they had ‘exceptional results in extraordinary circumstances’.

‘Some students secured more than 600, points while a very high percentage got between 500 and 600 points,’ said Noralene, who welcomed the fact that there are many new educational and career routes for students.

‘There are lots of new apprenticeships this year, including an advanced health practitioner apprenticeship that is attracting a lot of interest,’ she said.

Of the 67 students who did the exam at Schull Community College, principal Sarah Buckley said 27% got more than 500 points, of which 6% got over 600 points, and one person actually achieved eight H1s.

‘A total of 63% got over 400 points, which is indicative of the fact that they did exceptionally well, considering it was a tough two years,’ she said

‘Everyone’s waiting to see what the CAO will bring, but we are very hopeful that the majority of our students will get their first or second preference,’ Sarah added.

Principal of Colaiste Pobail Bheanntraí, Marian Carey, said their students were very happy with their results.

Of the 112 students who did the exam, she said one student got seven H1s, while several students achieved more than 600 points.

In the coming days, she said the school’s careers guidance and pastoral team will be available to support students as they make their decisions following the CAO offers.

Bart Kerrisk, principal of Mount St Michael in Rosscarbery, said the 43 students who did the exam did so ‘excellently.’

‘For the fifth year running, we had three students getting maximum points, including one who got 725 points, but all did well,’ said the principal, who acknowledged the equally excellent teaching staff and supportive parents.

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