MITCHELL BYRNE (pictured) of Templeogue made the breakthrough he has always promised when he won the senior boy's race at the annual DCU Invitational Cross-Country in confident style.
On a cold, wet day at the St Clare's grounds in Glasnevin, the course was well ploughed up by the time the senior boys lined out. Eoin Taggart of Rathcoole led on the first of four laps but Byrne was right on his shoulder and once he took over in front, there was no catching him.
Taggart finished a solid second, with Liam Ashton in third place leading St Aidan's CBS to the narrowest of team victories. St Aidan's and St Kieran's Kilkenny were tied on 46 points, but St Aidan's with their four runners finishing in the top 16, won on countback.
Louise McPhillips of Alexandra College was a clear winner of the girls' senior race, with Sophie Courtney of St Mary's Naas beating Rathdown's Nicole Kenny and Holy Faith Clontarf's Ellen O'Hanlon for second place.
A new look team from Colaiste Iosagain, led by Richeal Ní Laoghaire in fifth place, finished best of the teams. St Mary's Naas dominated the girls' inter race, led by Siobhan Delaney who finished second behind Isabelle Odlum of Rathdown. In the inter boys' race, Cathal Doyle of St Aidan's and Brian McGrath from St Pat's Navan battled it out from the start, with Doyle holding on for victory. St Kieran's Kilkenny led by Cormac Buggy in third place beat St Aidan's and St Malachy's Belfast for the team honours.
Runaway victory of the day came in the boys' junior race, where Kevin McGrath of St Pat's Navan stormed into the lead from the gun. After 200m, McGrath was out on his own and continued to pull away, winning by a large margin. Finishing second was Donal Lynam from St Michael's Enniskillen. Hannah Byrne of Holy Faith Clontarf won the girls' junior race. Over 400 boys and girls took part in the minor races, with Laura Ward of Pres Carlow and James Maguire from St Benildus the winners.
DCU Schools Cross-Country Invitational, St Clare's, Glasnevin
Girls - Minor: 1 Laura Ward (Pres Carlow, 2 Jodie McCann (Rathdown), 3 Sinead Reynolds (St Dominic's Cabra). Teams - 1 St Dominic's Cabra 33, 2 Loreto Dalkey 41, 3 St Mary's Naas 53. Junior: 1 Hannah Byrne (HF Clontarf), 2 Hannah Ni Dhea (Col Iosagain), 3 Grainne Ni Freighil (Col Iosagain).
Teams - 1 Colaiste Iosagain 16, 2 Loreto Dalkey 69, 3 Alexandra College 74. Inter: 1 Isabelle Odlum (Rathdown), 2 Siobhan Delaney (St Mary's Naas), 3 Helena Murphy (St Dominic's). Teams - 1 St Mary's Naas 32, 2 St Wolstan's Celbridge 52, 3 Rathdown 57. Senior: 1 Louise McPhillips (Alexandra), 2 Sophie Courtney (King's Hospital), 3 Nicole Kenny (Rathdown). Teams - 1 Col Iosagain 35, 2 Rathdown 52, 3 Alexandra 52.
Boys - Minor: 1 James Maguire (St Benildus), 2 Peter Fagan (St Colmcille's), 3 Niall Harvey (Pres Carlow). Teams - 1 St Colmcille's 32, 2 St Patrick's Navan 76, 3 Willow Park 89. Junior: 1 Kevin McGrath (St Pat's Navan), 2 Donal Lynam (St Michael's Enniskillen), 3 Alan Monaghan (St Pat's Navan). Teams - 1 St Michael's Enniskillen 25, 2 Knockbeg College 41, 3 St Patrick's Navan 53. Inter: 1 Cathal Doyle (St Aidan's), 2 Brian McGrath (St Pat's Navan), 3 Cormac Buggy (St Kieran's Kilkenny). Teams - 1 St Kieran's Kilkenny 43, 2 St Aidan's 48, 3 St Malachy's Belfast 65. Senior: 1 Mitchell Byrne (Templeogue College); 2 Eoin Taggart (Rathcoole VS); 3 Liam Ashton (St Aidan's). Teams - 1 St Aidan's 46, 2 St Kieran's Kilkenny 46, 3 Belvedere 83.