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Young guns prepare for titanic duels


NEXT week's Aviva Leinster Schools Track and Field Championships at Santry should see plenty of intriguing head to heads.

Two of the most promising young middle distance runners in the country are Paddy Maher of Dunshaughlin and James Maguire of St Benildus. At the annual schools international cross-country, Maher won the junior boys' race, with Maguire third. As North and East champions respectively, the pair will battle it out again next Wednesday in the junior 1500m.

Another great race at the North Leinsters saw Robert Tully of Gormanston beat Cillian Kirwan (pictured) of St Fintan's Sutton in the senior 800m. Kirwan will have something to prove when the pair meet again on Saturday May 17.

Tully also won the senior steeplechase at the North Leinsters and will take on Padraig Lennon of St David's, a runaway winner of the East Leinster title last week in Irishtown.

Winning both the inter 200m and 400m in the North Leinsters was Sean Dowling of St Fintan's. At the Leinsters, he will face Brian Masterson of Blackrock who managed the same double at the East Leinsters.

Making it an inter 100m and 80m hurdles double at the East Leinsters was Molly Scott of Scoil Conglais. Last year, as a junior, Scott won both titles at Leinster level, and looks like repeating that feat at inter level this year.

Another athlete aiming for a double is Maryfield's Megan Coomber, who won the senior 100m and the long jump at the East Leinsters. Expect St Mac Dara's athletes to dominate the girls' inter middle distances.

At the West Leinsters, Carla Sweeney lost to her team-mate Sarah Lahiff in the 300, but won the 800m, while Nadia Power won the 1500m and anchored the St Mac Dara's team to relay victory. They will take on, among others, Rhona Pierce of Skerries Community College.