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o'Neill heads inter mission

After winning the Dublin Cross-Country title comfortably, Breandan O'Neill of Dundrum South Dublin is one of the favourites for the National Intercounty title later this month in Dundalk.

O'Neill ran a smart race to win the men's senior title at the Dublin Senior and Junior Cross-Country Championships in Santry and will face many of the same athletes in Co Louth.

On a perfect day for cross-country at Santry, current national champion Mick Clohisey and his Raheny team-mate Conor Dooney pushed the pace early in the six-lap race. Colm Rooney of Clonliffe and Raheny's Paolo Ciappa were on their heels, with O'Neill and John Travers of Donore content to watch and wait 10 metres off the pace.

By the third lap, Clohisey and Dooney still led, but O'Neill and Travers were looking dangerous and it was no surprise when the group of two became a group of four on the fourth lap.

On the fifth, O'Neill, who had run an equally smart race to win the Autumn Open Cross-Country a fortnight earlier, made his move. Only Travers attempted to stick with him as he built up an unbeatable lead for his first Dublin title.

DSD also took team gold.

O'Neill, who featured on Dragon's Den a few months ago, returned from the USA during the summer. After taking team gold with the Irish U23 team and with a DCU degree in his pocket, he headed for the USA in 2011.

There he competed with Florida State University finishing 9th in the 5000m at the NCAA and worked with Nike.

Back in Dublin, his routine revolves around his business and two training sessions a day supervised by coach Chris Jones. While the intercounties and a place on the Irish team for the European Cross-Country are his immediate targets, he hopes to focus on his track speed next summer.


In the women's race, Ciara Durkan of Skerries broke the challenge of DSD's Sarah Mulligan about half-way through the four-lap race. With the finish in sight, Mulligan was pipped by the fast-finishing Orla Drumm, who led Crusaders to team victory.

After an initial tussle with Killian Mooney of DSD, Pierre Murchan of Celtic DCH won the junior men's race. In the junior women's race, Hope Saunders of Clonliffe sprinted away from the field early on. DSD pair Sarah FitzPatrick and Nicole Kenny were second and third.

DSD took the team titles in both junior races, also winning seven team titles in the Juvenile Uneven Ages Championships. Impressive winners of the under 17 titles were Isabel Carron of Skerries and Adam O'Brien of Clonliffe.