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Guiden is a class apart

ATHLETICS: Clár Ní Chartaigh of Coláiste íosagáin and Ian Guiden of St Aidan's won the flagship senior races at the third annual Brother Clonliffe Schools Invitational Cross Country, held in perfect conditions at Santry last week.

After two primary schools races that attracted 300 young athletes from 20 schools, the secondary schools programme began with the minor girls' race, won by Rachel Dunne from St Colmcille's.



Leading

Coming home second was Hannah Byrne of Holy Faith, Clontarf, with Hannah Ní Dhea in third place leading Coláiste íosagáin to their first team title of the day. A close second was St Gerard's Bray.

A huge total of 180 lined up for the boys' minor 1000m race, led home by Niall O'Leary of Willow Park. Martin Byrne of St Fintan's finished second while Oisín Martin in third place helped his school, St Patrick's College Navan, to team victory over St Aidan's CBS and Willow Park.

St Pat's also dominated the junior boys' race, when Eoin Smith beat Blackrock's Luke McCann and Cathal Doyle of Coláiste Colm for individual victory. For their second team title of the day, the Navan school again beat St Aidan's.

Cassie Murphy of Jesus and Mary College proved best of the junior girls. Skerries Community College, led by third-placed Rhona Pierce, took the team trophy.

In the girls' inter race, Siofra Cleirigh Buttner of Coláiste íosagáin stormed to an emphatic victory. Coming second was Ella Fennelly of Mount Anville, up from the junior ranks this year.

With Sarah Ní Mhaolmhuire in third place, Coláiste íosagáin took the second of their three team victories.

The girls in yellow and blue were even more dominant in the senior race where Ní Chartaigh, Megan Ní Rhiain and Sorcha Nic Umfraidh were the top three and there were no surprises when the team result was announced.

Race of the day was the boys' inter, which produced a three-way battle between Killian Kirwin of St Fintan's High School, Liam Mac Giolla Phádraig of Coláiste Eoin and Liam Ashton of St Aidan's. Only on the final lap did Kirwan break away for victory with Mac Giolla Phádraig getting his head in front to beat Ashton for second place.

St Fintan's took the team victory, with CUS second on a countback after tying on 63 points with St Aidan's.

All that was left was the boys' senior race, and with Guiden quickly building up a comfortable lead, the battle was on for second place. Only his training partner, Fintan Doherty of Castleknock College, attempted to stay with Guiden.

When the pace proved too hot, he dropped back into a chasing pack that included Killian ó Maonaigh of Coláiste Eoin and Mitchell Byrne of Templeogue.

With the finish line approaching, Byrne moved into second place ahead of ó Maonaigh, with Doherty relegated to fourth.

St Aidan's proved best of the teams and were named as best overall boys' school. Coláiste íosagáin were the girls' winners and also went home with the Lar Byrne Memorial Shield as best overall school.