Magical Maeve races to glory

June 11th, 2018 9:00 AM

By Kieran McCarthy

That winning feeling: Maeve O'Neill of MICC Dunmanway celebrates winning the junior girls' 1500m at the Irish Life Health All-Ireland Schools Track and Field Championships at Tullamore Harriers Stadium in Tullamore, Co Offaly. (Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile)

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Like mother, like daughter. There was always a good chance that Maeve O'Neill (14) would inherit her mother Anna's athletics genes.

LIKE mother, like daughter.

There was always a good chance that Maeve O’Neill (14) would inherit her mother Anna’s athletics genes – but even Anna in her prime would struggle to live with the final 200m sprint that took her daughter to All-Ireland schools’ championships gold in Tullamore.

In the last lap of the junior girls’ 1500m, it looked like Maeve was in a battle for bronze with the two leaders, Ava O’Connor (Laois) and Cara Laverty (Derry), well ahead of the chasing pack.

But the Ballinacarriga bullet had different ideas.

Stepping on the accelerator, the first year MICC student upped the gears in the closing 200 metres, reeled in the top two and on the home straight, with less than 100 metres to go, she sprinted to glory with a sensational finish.

‘She’s storming home, from nowhere, Maeve O’Neill has paced this perfectly,’ said the Athletics Ireland commentator as the West Cork teenager crossed the line in 4:42.91, two seconds ahead of O’Connor in second.

Maeve’s mother Anna is a former Irish cross-country athlete who competed in the 1994 European Cross-Country Championships and she is still bringing home the medals and smashing records.

Glengarriff’s Darragh McElhinney had to settle for silver in the senior boys’ 1500m, just missing out on gold by over a second.

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