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Ní Chiadhra finds an extra gear to sprint home at the finish

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Senior boys' winner Patrick Mac Gabhann (DLS Churchtown)

Senior boys' winner Patrick Mac Gabhann (DLS Churchtown)

Senior boys' winner Patrick Mac Gabhann (DLS Churchtown)

A last-minute sprint saw Niamh Ní Chiadhra of Coláiste íosagáin winning the inter girls' race at the East Leinster Cross-Country Championships held in Avondale, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow on Tuesday.

In a race stacked with talent, Emma O'Brien of Dominican Wicklow had taken over in front from the start. A pace or two behind was Ni Chiadhra, who was followed by a group of athletes, including Sophie Murphy of Mount Anville, Rathdown's Jodie McCann and Hanna Black of East Glendalough.

With less than 50 metres to go, Ní Chiardha found an extra gear and sprinted for home. It left O'Brien in second place with Murphy third. Dominican Wicklow finished best of the teams, followed by Muckross, with two runners in the top 15.

No such drama in the inter boys' race, where junior international James Maguire of St Benildus was in a class of his own and indeed will be favourite to take the Leinster title at Santry on February 11.

Winning the battle for second place was Rory Kelly of Newpark with John Guilfoyle from St Andrew's third. With Mark Dignan and Conor Halpin fourth and fifth, Blackrock had a comfortable victory over Coláiste Eoin for the team trophy.

Clear winners of the senior titles were Deirdre Healy of the Institute of Education and Patrick Mac Gabhann of DLS Churchtown.

In the boys' race, a large Blackrock squad dominated the team race with Luke McCann finishing second ahead of his Blackrock team-mate Christian McKenna and Aengus Meldon in third and fourth places.

Healy had made an early break in the girls' race, although Isabelle Odlum of Rathdown showed a return to form to finish second. With Eileen Ní Scanlain and Sorchra Ní Fhionnlaigh in fourth and fifth places, Coláiste íosagáin were the winning team ahead of the High School, led by Amy Byrne in eighth place.

Continuing her unbeaten streak in schools cross-country was Sarah Healy of Holy Child Killiney, a clear winner of the junior girls race ahead of Amy Rose Farrell of Mount Anville and Abbie Taylor of St Gerard's. Mount Anville was first team.

Naoise ó Bradaigh not only won the junior boys' race but led Colaiste Eoin to team victory, with Donnacha ó Chiadhra in third place.

Best of the minor boys was a delighted Patrick Tucker of St Michael's, who came home ahead of early leader Jack Corrigan of St Benildus. Gonzaga, led by Arthur Henry in eleventh place, packed well to win the team title. Even more delighted was Sarah O'Connor winner of the minor girls' race - a first for Temple Carrick Greystones, a school that only opened last September. With Megan O'Ronin ninth, the team also finished a fighting fourth.


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