SARAH McCarthy of Maryfield College proved the star of the day at the AVIVA All-Ireland Schools' Combined Events Championships, held in glorious autumn sunshine at Santry.
Only 10 days after they had met at the Leinster Championships, McCarthy was again pushed hard by Nessa Millett from Kilkenny College.
Millet started well with a time of 12.40 seconds in the hurdles, the first of the five disciplines to be completed. McCarthy was nearly as fast and then produced a mighty throw of 8.61m in the shot to move her into the lead.
In her specialist long jump, McCarthy proved the class of the field with a jump of 7.56 and also did well in the high jump, where, along with Maria McNamara of Pres Athenry and Amy McTeggart from Our Lady's Greenhills, she soared over 1.57m. Millett was just behind on 1.54.
Now all that was left was the 800m. Sinead Gaffney of Pres Athenry proved fastest, finishing just ahead of McTeggart and Millet in 2:33.43.
McCarthy's solid fourth place was enough to give her the title. Her total of 3,146 points put her 194 ahead of Millett, with McNamara third and McTeggart fourth.
Lauren Dwyer, of St Leo's Carlow, produced the run of her life in the 800m to beat a strong field for the girls' junior title. With only the 800m left, Dwyer was lying second, behind Deirbhile Ni Riain of Gaelcholáiste Luimni and ahead of Grace McKenzie from Scoil Mhuire Crosshaven.
Kelly Anne Doyle of Scoil Mhuire Carrick-on-Suir, set the pace in the 800m, followed by Elizabeth Moreland of Dunshaughlin CC and Niamh Quinn from Scoil Chriost Ri Portlaoise.
Behind them came the top three and when Dwyer finished best in 2:43.29, it put her top of the table, followed by McKenzie and Ni Riain. A close fourth was Quinn. Just 185 points separated the top four.
In a day of hard-fought competition, Munster champion Eric Stam of Coachford College Cork, scored 3,620 points to take the inter boys' title from Evan McGuire of St Joseph's Galway. Stam picked up a vital 679 points for his 13.19 shot put effort -- his specialist event.
Finishing third was Leinster champion Colin Nolan, of Enniscorthy VS, on 3,424 points.
Junior boys' winner Sam Healy, from Carrigaline CS, soared over 1.86 in the high jump.
With strong efforts also in the hurdles and long jump, he won the title ahead of Andrew Hutchinson from Methodist College Belfast and Leinster champion Ciaran Corrigan of Nobber CS.
Winning the senior boys' title was David McGeary of CBS Kilkenny.
Junior and intermediate athletes now prepare for December's AVIVA Schools' Combined Events International in Glasgow.
RESULTS: Girls -- Jun: 1 L Dwyer, St Leo's Carlow, 2,820 pts; 2 G McKenzie, Scoil Mhuire Crosshaven, 2,786; 3 D Ní Riain, Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh, 2,772. Inter: 1 S McCarthy, Maryfield, 3,146 pts; 2 N Millett, Kilkenny Coll, 2,952; 3 M McNamara, Pres Athenry, 2,762. Sen: K O'Donoghue, Pres Athenry, 2,218 pts. Boys -- Junior: 1 S Healy, Carrigaline CS, 3,402 pts; 2 A Hutchinson, Methodist Belfast, 3,251; 3 C Corrigan, Nobber CS, 3,178. Inter: 1 E Stam, Coachford Coll, 3,620 pts; 2 E McGuire, St Joseph's Galway, 3,562; 3 C Nolan, Enniscorthy VS, 3,424. Sen: 1 D McGeary, CBS Kilkenny, 3,348 pts; 2 S Gill, St Louis CS, 3,253; 3 D Colbert, CBS Midleton, 2,884.