Bantry schoolboy Darragh McElhinney (right) underlined his star potential by defeating the best of Britain at the International Schools Cross-Country in Port Talbot.
The 17-year-old was the sole Irish athlete to win an individual medal, and from midway through the 6,250m race he left his rivals trailing, eventually coming home in 19:05, a whopping 14 seconds clear of England's Lachlan Wellington. McElhinney also led his nation to silver in the team event.
The next best individual performer for the Irish was Aimee Hayde, who finished fifth in the junior girls' race, while Sarah Healy was first Irish athlete home in the intermediate girls' event, finishing seventh in 16:27 in a race won by England's Olivia Mason.
Sean Donoghue led the Irish team to second in the junior boys' race, the St Declan's student finishing ninth.
Meanwhile, Ireland had no representatives at the World Cross-Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda yesterday, where Kenyans Geoffrey Kamworor and Irene Cheptai took the individual titles.
While for many that proved a depressing reflection on the state of Irish distance running, the National Juvenile Indoors Championships in Athlone provided ample hope for the future, with a raft of talent emerging in the sprints.
Chief among them was Cabinteely's Shane Gevero, who blitzed the under-14 boys' 60m record with a clocking of 7.47. Tallaght's Rhasidat Adeleke did likewise in the girls' under-16 60m, her time of 7.55 carving 0.12 off the previous record.
Olympian Mick Clohisey was fastest at the Dunboyne 4-mile road race, clocking 18:46 to win by nine seconds from Brian Maher.
Shauna Bocquet took the women's title in 21:30.