Teen stars to shine bright in Tullamore
Teenage stars Sarah Healy and Rhasidat Adeleke will headline a loaded programme at the All Ireland Schools Track and Field Championships in Tullamore today, an annual reminder that the under-age talent pipeline continues to overrun.
It'll take more than nine hours to sift through the 122-event programme, now in its 102nd year.
At an event that always provides a reliable snapshot of the future, it will especially be the case in the senior girls' 1500m.
Healy, a student at Holy Child Killiney in Co Dublin, is by some distance the most exciting talent in Irish distance running - a gold medallist at last year's Youth Olympics who last week smashed Ciara Mageean's U-18 1500m record with a run of 4:13.32 in Belgium.
Barring an accident, the 17-year-old will coast to victory in the metric mile at 4:42pm.
In the sprints, Tallaght teenager Adeleke should have things all her own way at intermediate level.
The 15-year-old appears to be nailed-on for a 100m/200m double.
Limerick sprinter Ciara Neville should prove equally dominant in the senior girls' category and it will come as no surprise if she caps off a fine schools' career by anchoring Castletroy College to victory in the 4x100m.
Meanwhile, Darragh McElhinney will be a warm favourite in the senior boys' 1500m, fresh from a stellar performance over 5000m last week where the Bantry student clocked 14:11.80 in Belgium, though his Cork rival Charlie O'Donovan should give him plenty to think about.
Cian McPhillips will be one to watch in the intermediate boys' 1500m; the 15-year-old with a swift 3:49.85 to his name this season.
Davicia Patterson will top the bill in the senior girls' 400m where the Hunterhouse student will again clash with Ciara Deely of Loreto Kilkenny, both of whom clocked world U-20 standards last weekend.
David McDonald of CBS Wexford looks the favourite for the senior boys' sprints, though he will have to overcome Aaron Sexton of Bangor to take double gold.
Strabane student Sommer Lecky is the stand-out performer in the field events and should prove unbeatable in the senior girls' high jump.