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Super Síofra aims to have sixth sense

Síofra Cléirigh-Buttner of Coláiste íosagáin and Aaron Hanlon from St Mary's Drogheda aim to make it a Leinster double at Saturday's Aviva All Ireland Schools Cross-Country Championships in Cork IT (12.0).

The pair start as favourites after emphatic victories at the Aviva Leinster Schools Cross-Country Championships in Santry last month.

Cléirigh-Buttner, unbeaten at schools level since she started her athletics career, will target a historic sixth straight schools title, as well as team victory for Coláiste íosagáin.

With her speed over shorter distances, the 2500m distance will hold no fears, although her biggest rival could prove to be team-mate Sarah Ní Mhaolmhuire, who won the national junior title over 4000m in some style last Sunday. Others sure to be in contention include Linda Conroy of Mercy Kilbeggan and Munster champion Niamh Cotter, of Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí.

Hanlon will start as marginal favourite for the boy's title after his powerful display at the Leinster championships, where he won a sixth consecutive title.

Last year, a sick Hanlon finished outside the medals at the All-Irelands and he is determined to make amends. It won't be easy; among his rivals are his great rival and school-mate Andrew Coscoran, and Munster champion Kyle Larkin of Ard Scoil Rís Limerick, who was third last year.


In the team competition, St Fintan's Sutton are travelling in force with a squad including Cillian Kirwan and Eoin Strutt.

Hanlon lost to Kevin Mulcaire of St Flannan's Ennis at Sunday's National Junior championships and Mulcaire is the hottest of favourites to retain the inter boys' title. Last year, the result was marginal, but Mulcaire has impressed at every outing this season.

He will take on Ferghal Curtin of Midleton CBS along with Shane Hughes of Coláiste Mhuire Mullingar and James Edgar of Friends School Lisburn.