Everard key in UCD's win
CIARA EVERARD'S solid final mile gave the UCD women their first victory in 19 years at the Irish Universities Road Relays in NUI Maynooth, where the country's top young athletes were getting an early season blow-out.
UCD got off to the perfect start with a blistering 4 mins 58 secs mile leg by Ellie Hartnett, with the battle for second place between Katie Kirk for Queen's and DCU's Laura Behan.
Not far off the pace were Trinity's Irene Gorman and UCC's Niamh Walsh. Hartnett handed over to Fiona Roche, who maintained the UCD lead ahead of Deirdre Doyle, who had pulled DCU into second place, with Sinead O'Connor for UCC third ahead of Trinity's Clare McCarthy.
Next up for UCD was Meghan Ryan, running the second two-mile leg in her UCD debut. UCC's Orla Drumm did her best to close the gap after passing Mary Mulhare of DCU for second, with Maria O'Sullivan for Trinity holding on for fourth.
All that was left was for Everard to bring UCD home and this she did in style, beating Ciara Cronin for UCC by 16 seconds. Many-times winners DCU, anchored by Mary Anne O'Sullivan, held on for third, with Trinity's Sorcha Humphries fourth.
In the men's race, DCU came out on top, with Joe Warne, a mainstay of the DCU team since 2006, running the glory leg. UL's Niall Touhy, with a time of 4 mins 14 secs, had led on a fast first mile leg, followed closely by Darren McBrearty for DCU, UCD's Karl Griffin and Liam Brady for Athlone IT.
For DCU, John Coghlan then took over in front, battling it out with UCD's Ruairi Finnegan and Eoin Everard for AIT. On the decisive three-mile leg, David McCarthy increased the DCU lead, with John Travers keeping AIT into second, and Joe Sweeney of UCD holding on for third.
McCarthy passed on to Darragh Greene, who maintained the DCU lead on the second two-mile leg.
Darragh Rennicks kept his team AIT in second place, holding off Richard Owens, who had made up some ground for UCD.
It was left to Warne to bring DCU home, with AIT anchored by Vincent Connolly finishing second for their best ever position. For third place, Mark English brought UCD home just five seconds adrift.