A thrilling fifth/sixth year boys' race proved the highlight of the Leinster Post Primary Schools Orienteering Championships held at Djouce Woods, Co Wicklow last Wednesday.
Early leader Derek Kosowicki of Youthreach was caught at the fifth control point by Seán Kearns from Dunshaughlin Community College. On the tough and technical 4.1km course, Kearns then stretched away and by the finish had opened up a five minute gap. John Egan of Rockbrook finished five minutes adrift in third place, despite struggling at the ninth control.
A clear winner of the girls' fifth/sixth year title was Sarah McGrath of St Killian's who finished well clear of second placed Katie Brown from Castle.
In the first year boys' competition, just 28 seconds separated John Quinless of Rockbrook Park from Dunshaughlin's Ciarán Kearns.
A clear winner of the first year girls' title was Molly Brown of Castleknock Community College. Both Quinless and Brown had won the Schools League titles earlier in the season.
In the second/third year boys' category, Rockbrook team-mates Ruairi Long and Gavin Dooley have exchanged titles for the past couple of years. This year, Long had already nailed down the league title ahead of Dooley and he did it again at Djouce, keeping his concentration in the later stages of the 3.6km course to win by five minutes. Conall Whelan of St Kieran's Kilkenny finished third.
Castleknock Community College dominated the girls second/third year event, with Aoife Simm winning with a four-minute margin. Finishing second was the Mount Anville pairing of Holly Healy O'Connor and Kate Deegan, who were competing as guests. Third overall and taking the individual silver was Ailbhe Healy of Castleknock.
Arianna Harris of Wilson's Hospital Multyfarnham held off the challenge of Castleknock's Niamh O'Neill to win the transition year title, with Lucy Masterson from St Kilian's third.
It was St Killian's all the way in the transition year boys' race, where Jesse Lopez beat his team-mates Evan Williams and Abdallah Balasmeh.
3Corkagh Park in Clondalkin is the venue next Monday for the first ever Loreto Schools Orienteering Championships.