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Clare clears all hurdles

ATHLETICS: Clare Ní Mhurchú of Gaelcoláiste Cheatherlach proved the star of the opening day at the Aviva Leinster Schools Track and Field Championships in Santry yesterday.

Racing to victory in the senior girls' 400m hurdles, Ní Mhurchú clocked a time of 61.30 seconds, knocking two-hundreths of a second off the 1989 record.

Just over an hour later, Ní Mhurchú made it a double when she won the 100m hurdles in 14.98. In the senior boys' hurdles, Eoin Power of Good Counsel was another double winner, winning both the 400m and 110m events.

Making history was Sarah Fitzpatrick of Our Lady's, Templeogue, who became the first Leinster women's steeplechase champion when she raced away from the field in the inter girls' 1,500m race. Her time of 5 mins 32.55 seconds put her comfortably clear of Sarah Armstrong from Eureka, Kells, and Nicole Cuskelly of Killina, Tullamore.

Not so clear cut was the senior boys' race over 2,000m. Patrick Fagan of Coláiste Mhuire, Mullingar, made most of the pace, but in the end, just held off Blackrock's fast finishing Andrew Cullen to win in 6 minutes 27.16 seconds, with Eoin McCulough of Belvedere a close third. Making it a steeplechase double for Colaiste Mhuire was Ryan Blundell, who cruised to victory in the inter boys 1,500m.

An impressive double winner among the sprinters was Sean Lawlor of Kylemore College (pictured left), who powered his way to victory in both the junior 100m and 200m. Taking the minor girls' 80m was Molly Scott from Coláiste Chonglas in Wicklow -- the only member of her school in action.

Winning the U16 200m in an impressive new record of 25.80 seconds was Newbridge's Katie Berney.

The third record of the day came in the minor girls' discus, won by Seodhna Hoey of Coláiste íosagáin with a mighty throw of 29.94m.

Nicky Roche of St Andrew's won both shot and discus at the East Leinster Championships.

Yesterday, he concentrated on the javelin, winning with a brilliant 41.21m effort.

In the middle distances, Jack Reid of St Joseph's, Rochfortbridge, ran an excellent tactical race to secure victory in the U16 mile.

The relays provided an exciting end to the day, Skerries Community College winning the U16 girls 4 x 300m in a new record time of 3:01.29.