| 11.2°C Dublin

Storming Siofra leads the way as íosagáin shine

With two wins and a third place, the teams in bright yellow and blue from Coláiste íosagáin, on Dublin's Stillorgan Road, dominated the girls' races.

Individually, Siofra Cléirigh Buttner was again the star. At the weekend, she had helped the Irish Schools U16 team to victory at the Celtic International in Cardiff when she won the 1,500m.

Yesterday, her win meant that the Coláiste íosagáin junior team qualified for the All-Irelands in Cork on March 13.

Only the top three teams in each race qualified for Cork and many young athletes put in heroic efforts for their schools at the back of the field in tough conditions.

For Coláiste íosagáin, victory came only on count-back after Mount Sackville also finished on 32 points. Leading the Mount Sackville team was Sarah Hawkshaw, who finished third behind Cléirigh Buttner and Linda Conroy from Mercy Kilbeggan. Presentation Kilkenny were a close third in the team category.


Running the race of her life to finish best of the senior girls was Máire Áine Ní Shúilleabháin from Gael Coláiste Ceatharlach, second in the girls' inter race last year.

Ní Shúilleabháin, like the rest of the field, had to run one short 500m lap, followed by the long 2km lap. She led on the dreaded hill out of the 'jungle' stretch and then headed for home, holding off the challenge of Niamh Denny from Our Lady's Grove. In third place, Fiona McKenna was leading Loreto Dalkey to a solid win over St Dominic's Cabra and Loreto Foxrock.

Claire Brennan of Castleknock Community College and Ciara Hewson from Naas Post Primary splashed their way around the girls' intermediate course elbow to elbow, until Brennan pulled away for the win. In third place was Mary Ellen Doyle of Borris Vocational School. Coláiste íosagáin took their second team win of the day with 18 points, putting them well clear of Presentation Kilkenny and Castleknock Community College.

First winner of the day was Nicole Cuskelly of Killina Secondary School in the girls' minor race. She beat Rebecca Kennedy of Pres Kilkenny and Claire Healion from Newbidge College into the minor placings, with St Mary's Naas best of the teams ahead of Skerries Community College and Coláiste íosagáin.