Talented Portlaoise singer Cian McGearailt, a 6th year pupil of St Mary's CBS, has turned his hand to poetry reading to great success.
He is the first student from the Portlaoise school to make it to the final of the prestigious national Poetry Aloud competition, which takes place in the National Library this Friday December 2.
He has to read two poems, 'Genius' by Moya Cannon in the compulsary section, and his own choice, Connolly by Liam McGowan.
“Connolly is about James Connolly, narrated by the soldier who shot him in the prison, and his regret,” he said.
“They are looking for a poem that is easy to listen to and expressed well, but if you miss a word you lose,” he said.
His parents Seamus and Margaret and sister Clíodhna are coming along for support.
“Im very happy to have got through to the final, I can't wait, they only choose about 30 out of all the entries,” said Cian, thanking his English teacher Ms Carroll who spurred him on to apply for the competition.
Stage fright should not pose a problem for him.
Well known for singing Irish hits with Coláiste Lurgan such as Cheerleader, he has plenty of experience in drama.
“ I was a member of Orlagh McCrory's Chatter box in primary school and now I go to Frances Harney's school,” he said.
Principal Maura Murphy wished him luck.
“Cian has done himself and our school proud so far by reaching the Semifinal and being chosen out of the 66 semifinalists to go forward to the last 28 finalists.
“I am sure he will excel as he has done so far and we wish him luck,” she said.
Poetry Aloud is an annual poetry speaking competition open to all post-primary students on the island of Ireland, this year supported by Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol.
Each category winner receives €300 and book tokens to the value of €300 for the winner’s school library. An overall winner will be chosen from the three category winners and will receive a further €200, the Seamus Heaney perpetual trophy and a signed book of poetry.