Reigning women’s Premier champions, Dundrum South Dublin AC, will have their work cut out for them if they want to retain their title, with Leevale AC having dominated proceedings in the first two rounds – DSD having achieved automatic qualification into the final having competed at the European Club Championships earlier in the year. Leevale AC have a total of 251 points coming into the final, with Clonliffe Harriers and Kildare County in second and third with 221 and 212 points. 100m National Record holder, Ailis McSweeney, has been a key figure for Leevale AC thus far and will look to maximize her points tally this weekend when she goes in the 100m, 200m and 4×100m relay. 2013 400m World Championships competitor, Jennifer Carey, will compete for DSD AC and will play a vital role in counteracting McSweeney in the 100m and 200m.
The challenge of Ferrybank AC is one that other clubs should not discount. They will have the services of Kelly Proper, Jessie Barr, Niamh Whelan, and Cara Kennedy who are all capable of taking maximum points in each of the events they compete in.
Leevale AC also go into the men’s Premier final as leaders on 246 points in total, but, with last year’s champions, Clonliffe Harriers and rival Dublin club, Crusaders AC, both fielding full strength squads for the first time this National League campaign, it will be a tough ask to keep the two Dublin sides from snatching the honours. 400m World Championships Semi-finalist, Brian Gregan, will make the trip back from Moscow to feature for Clonliffe Harriers and will be a key figure to their title hopes, along with throws expert, Tomas Rautkys. National 200m champion, Steven Colvert, national 400m champion, Brian Murphy and Conor McCullough, who finished 6th at the European U/23 Championships in the Hammer, all make their 2013 National League debuts for Crusaders. Only two points separated 2012 champions Clonliffe Harriers from Crusaders and it looks as though 2013 will be a similar scenario, with Leevale AC and Menapians all in the mix too.
Wexford County go into the women’s Division 1 final as leaders of the first two rounds, on 222.5 points, with Portlaoise AC hot on their heels with 219.5. Athletics Louth and Meath County lie in third and fourth respectively, on 207 and 206 points, indicating a hotly contested battle for the title of Division 1 Champions is on the cards.
The battle for the men’s Division 1 title could be one of the most exciting of the day, with less than 20 points having separated pre-final leaders, Donore Harriers, from 6th placed Clare County. Kildare County, having made their first Division 1 final ever and captained by former 400m/800m international athlete, David McCarthy, lie in second with 240 points and will look to press for a historic first win for the County. Limerick AC and Sligo County will post serious challenges for the title, too – both of which finished less than ten points behind Donore Harriers after round two. National Senior Long Jump champion, Eamonn Fahey, will be a key figure for Donore Harriers, competing in the Long Jump, 100m and 4×100m, as well as World Youth Championship 200m semi-finalist, Zak Irwin, for Sligo County.