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'I know that mum would have been proud of me'

By Nevin Farrell

Published 14/08/2015

Oliver McDowell
Oliver McDowell

Oliver McDowell, the last ever head boy of Coleraine Academical Institution, has dedicated his A-level results to the memory of his mother Grace, who tragically died of cancer.

As he secured straight As in chemistry, maths and physics, the 18-year-old rugby star said: "I know she would have been proud of me and I was proud of her."

He is the last head boy as Coleraine Inst - as it is better known - ends 155 years of history in September by merging with Coleraine High School to become Coleraine Grammar School.

Inst opened in 1860 and was an all-boys school, while Coleraine High is the second oldest girls' school in Ulster, having started in 1874. Coleraine Inst had a proud rugby pedigree, often wrestling the rugby Schools Cup title out of Belfast, although this year they were beaten in the semi-finals.

Oliver, a blind-side flanker in rugby, is due to go to Bristol University to study physics and admits the fact that it is close to rugby strongholds like Bath really attracted him.

"The rugby set-up in that area is really good.

If I want to play rugby I will be in a good place and that was behind a little bit of my thinking in choosing Bristol, although my brother also studied there and sold it to me as well," he said.

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