Brady best of bunch in slog
While Fionnuala McCormack of Kilcoole AC proved the undisputed queen of Irish cross-country when racing away from the rest of the field to win her ninth national title at the All Ireland Senior Cross Country Championships in Abbotstown, many others struggled.
Having it especially tough were the senior men who faced a 10km slog on a course already comprehensively churned up by the long spikes of runners in the ten previous races.
Among the drop-outs were defending champion Kevin Dooney and Donore's John Travers, both of whom are recovering from injury.
On a day when anyone less than fully fit would suffer, Liam Brady of Tullamore Harriers held on for his first senior victory, having won at junior and U23 level in the past.
Brady had clearly learned from his outing at the Autumn Open where he led early on only to be swallowed up in the later stages of the race.
This time, he made his break midway through and gutted it out when Brian Fay of Raheny Shamrock AC and Sean Tobin from Clonmel AC tried to chase him down on the final lap.
For Clonliffe Harriers, their memorable team victory underlined the club's strength in depth. Only three weeks earlier, the club had won the national marathon title.
Their first man home was Efrem Gidey in a creditable ninth place. Following him nest was steeplechase specialist Jayme Rossiter (11th), with Cathal Doyle 14th and Colm Rooney 18th. Of those, Gidey is still a junior and Doyle is U23.
Not far off the pace were Sergiu Ciobanu and Mark Kennealy, while the Clonliffe B team, led by Eoin Taggart 43rd, won their division.
Earlier in the day, Clonliffe, led by Aaron Cullen (12th), took the junior men's title. It was a good day for the Santry-based club
There was an encouraging performance in the senior men's race for Dundrum South Dublin AC, who finished runners-up, having filled the same position in both junior men and women's races earlier on.
DSD's first finisher was Hiko Tonosa (12th), with Emmet Jennings, Matthew Bergin and Killian Mooney packing well behind him.
Defending champions Raheny, with Fay second and marathon man Mick Clohisey 10th, made it a Dublin treble when they finished third, despite missing key athletes.
A lot closer was the women's team competition where Leevale took a third consecutive title by nine points from North Down AC.
Michelle Finn led them home in fifth place, followed by Niamh Moore, Michelle Kenny and Carol Finn. First for North Down was Jessica Craig in tenth place. Dublin, led by DSD's Fiona Clinton in seventh place, was the winning county.
Leading home 13 teams in the junior women's race was Waterford AC, with Waterford also first county team. With DSD and DCH second and third club teams, Dublin was the second county team ahead of Kilkenny. An impressive winner of the girls' U18 title was Eimear Maher, who led DSD to team victory. St Malachy's Belfast won the boys' U18 title.