Despite going slightly off course on the opening lap, Ian Guiden of St Aidan's Whitehall won his second schools race of the season at the 25th St Joseph's CBS Cross-Country in Drogheda.
In perfect conditions for running, Guiden, who had won the senior race at the Brother Clonliffe Cross-Country a week earlier, took an early lead in the U19 boys' 4km race. Taking in four laps of the St Joseph's playing fields, including a detour into a section of muddy scrubland, the course proved to be a test of stamina and endurance.
Battling it out for second place were Guiden's St Aidan's team-mate Jonathan Brady and Ian Reynolds of St Fintan's High School, Sutton. They finished in that order, with St Aidan's taking the team trophy from St Fintan's.
Best of the girls was Amy McEntaggart from Greenhills. Her victory in the over 15 girls' race, her fifth consecutive victory at this level, didn't come easily. Early leader Sarah Haak, also from Greenhills, pushed her hard, while Eimear Murray, from Scoil Uí Mhuirí in Dunleer, finished a fighting third.
With two in the top three, Greenhills proved the best of the teams, beating Dundalk Grammar and Scoil Ui Mhuiri.
A strong field lined out for the boys' U17 race.
Leading the pack was last year's Leinster U17 cross-country champion, Aaron Hanlon, and his great rival and school-mate Andrew Coscoran, both from local school St Mary's.
Hanlon controlled the race from the start, with Coscoran battling hard to catch up, but he was forced to settle for second place, with fast finishing Cillian Kirwan from St Fintan's a solid third.
In the team competition, St Mary's beat St Fintan's and Gormanston.
Putting in a great performance to win the girls' U15 race was Aoife Fay from Dundalk Grammar, with Greenhills again best of the teams, ahead of Dundalk Grammar. Winning a fiercely contested boys' U15 race was Adam O'Brien from St Aidan's, with the Dublin school also finishing best of the teams.
Cathal Doyle of Confrey College came home second with Oisin Martin from St Pat's Navan completing the top three.
A packed day of racing featured at U14 level, with the boys' race alone attracting a record 140 entries -- the biggest race of a busy day. From the start, the yellow vests of St Pat's Navan were to the fore and, as the race unfolded, Alan Martin held out for victory over Martin Byrne from St Fintan's, with St Pat's packing well to take the team prize.
In the equally competitive girls' U14 race, Niamh Kelly from Sacred Heart got the better of Eleanor Garvey from St Oliver's and Malahide's Helen Moore. Sacred Heart won the team trophy.
More than 1,000 athletes and their enthusiastic supporters from schools all over Dublin and Meath helped St Joseph's celebrate the race's quarter-century. To mark the occasion, the race's co-founder Jim Mooney received a special presentation from the St Joseph's athletics captain Emmett Brogan.