SHEER determination and will to win has led to a gifted young Sacred Heart College athlete winning her first and last All Ireland Schools’ title in Tullamore the weekend before last.
Toni Moore came from behind to win the Senior Girls 1500m steeplechase on the line and, in doing so, signed off on a remarkable schools athletics career in style.
That victory, a third All Ireland gold for the Omagh school in the past decade, means Toni, who ran 5.22 mins, now has a total of twelve Ulster and three All Ireland club and school titles to her name.
Her previous two All Ireland wins were national club victories in the 2000m steeplechase and it was Toni’s desire and determination to end her school career on a high which proved the winning of a thrilling race in County Offaly.
Going into the home straight, the Sacred Heart girl trailed race leader Shona Dalken O’Shea by some three metres but, after clearing the final hurdle, Toni found another gear to pip her opponent on the line.
She explained it had been the race of her life.
“We were both together from the gun to the line,” recalled Toni, who is coached by brother Conor.
“With 300 metres to go she had opened up a gap but I was determined not to give up.
“My legs were screaming to stop but I couldn’t. This was my last opportunity to win an All Ireland Schools’ title and I was using that as my motivation, I knew I wasn’t going to get another chance.
“I didn’t think I had a sprint finish left in me but I wasn’t for giving up.
“My opponent had nudged me out to Lane 3 but I managed to get around her and won it on a dip finish.”
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