Teenage brainbox Eoin Monaghan is putting the Down into cult TV quiz show Countdown after six successive wins, thrashing opponents more than three times his age.
The 14-year-old from Banbridge has been on the Channel 4 show all week and is on course to reach the maximum eight days before he has to bow out undefeated.
The popular quiz show tests literacy and numeracy skills, pitting two contestants against each other and the famous Countdown clock. The boy from Banbridge has sailed through six days of the show, barely breaking a sweat.
In 2006, 14-year-old Conor Travers from Luton became the youngest player to win eight back to back contests and claim the Richard Whiteley Memorial Trophy.
The diminutive, freckle-faced teenager Monaghan can just about be seen over the desk, scribbling the answers to the number and word challenges, but his performance has had a big impact. A spokesman for ITV Studios, which produces the programme, said the top-scoring teen will definitely be back for the Countdown finals before Christmas.
“He is certainly a whizz on the show,” the spokesman said. “Eoin has won six games so far, once you get eight wins we make the player stand down, but we bring back the best eight for the finals.”
Eoin is back home in Banbridge as the shows were filmed a number of weeks ago, but the wordsmith was lost for words when the Belfast Telegraph contacted him last night.
His architect father Peter said he would prefer to wait until his run on the show is complete.
“He would prefer to keep a low profile,” his dad said. “No one knew he was going on the show until he appeared. We kept it pretty quiet.”
His father travelled with him for the filming at ITV Studios in Manchester. His mother Edel, a district nurse, remained at home with his two sisters, 16-year-old Claire and 12-year-old Helen. “We are all very proud of him and very pleased with how he gets on,” Peter said. “I don’t watch the show myself, but Eoin has watched it for years. He is a pupil at Abbey Christian Brothers Grammar School in Newry — the whole school has been rooting for him, they are very proud of him too.”
One of Eoin’s defeated opponents revealed perhaps the secret of his success. On Monday’s show the teen whizz stumped serial game show competitor Dave Rudd (58) from Hertfordshire.
Afterwards he found out Eoin is a keen player of an online version of Countdown, playing more than 10 games a day.
Tune in to see Eoin today at 3.25pm on Channel 4, or the later time of 4.30pm on Channel 4 +1.
Eoin dazzled the Countdown audience by solving yesterday’s Conundrum GODMOTHER within two seconds.
During letter rounds he made the following words:
I A E S N D T U N |(Ans: INUNDATES)
R S N I E I D T Y |(Ans: INSIDER)
E A O N M S P A N |(Ans: MOPANES — a type of tree)