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McCanns boost family fortunes at Blackrock

JODIE and Luke McCann make it a family double at the Blackrock College Schools Cross-Country, held in cold and windy conditions last week.

First up was Jodie representing Rathdown in the girls' junior race. She led from the start, beating athletics newcomer Aoife Colleran of Loreto Foxrock and Alisha De-Alker from Holy Child Killiney. Winning the team category was a High School team that packed exceptionally well to beat Holy Child and Loreto Dalkey.

About half an hour later, big brother Luke was running in the intermediate boys' race for Blackrock. With schoolmate Christian McKenna forcing the pace early on, Luke kept his head and only pushed to the front in the later stages of the race. For third place, Cillian ó Dochartaigh of Coláiste Eoin, made a determined break midway through the race, taking some notable scalps.

At inter level, Niamh Ní Chiarraigh of Coláiste íosagáin was another athlete running a smart race. She sat on the shoulder of Helen Hynes from St Mary's Wexford for much of the race and timed her break for the line to perfection.

With her twin sister, Michelle, well up among the scorers, íosagáin also took the team title beating Loreto St Stephen's Green and Muckross.

The toughest and longest race of the day was left to the senior boys, where Adam Foley of Ard Scoil Rís built up a solid lead over the four laps.

For second place Aengus Mellon sprinted home ahead of his Blackrock teammate Mark Condon.

Rís, a school that dominated athletics over a decade ago, is clearly making a comeback and won the team category ahead of Salesian College, Celbridge and Templeogue College.

The biggest races of the day were at minor level with 180 turning out for the girls race alone. For most, simply making the finish line was a victory, although up front, Sarah Healy of Holy Child had a good win despite the best efforts of Natasha Twomey from Mount Anville, who finished second.

In third place, Molly Brown led Castleknock Community College to team victory.

Almost as many – a total of 162 – lined out for the boys' race, where Pádraig Purcell of Coláiste Eoin led them home with the Booterstown boys also winning the team category. Mark Fitzgibbon from Willow Park was second, while Mark O'Connor, from Castleknock Community College, finished a fighting third.