Joe Sweeney has secured victory in the Woodie’s DIY National Inter County Cross Country Championships men's race, with Ava Hutchinson winning the women's race in Tattersalls, Ratoath, Co Meath.

The senior men were tasked with the challenge of running five circuits of the 2km course.

Michael Mulhare of Laois took an early lead on the first lap with defending champion Sweeney of Dublin in hot pursuit.

Sean Hehir, Brian Maher and Stephen Scullion made up the chasing pack.

Sweeney then moved up a gear on the second lap and swept past Mulhare, with Hehir now establishing himself in a clear third.

It was clear that Sweeney was in cruise control at this point as he pulled away from the field to take the title in a time of 33:27.

Mulhare and Hehir battled it out for the podium positions, with Mulhare having enough strength to hang on for second place (34:06), ten seconds clear of Hehir in third (34:16).

Commenting afterwards, Sweeney said: “I ran that conservatively, I wanted to save myself for two weeks' time. I'm really looking forward to the Europeans now.”

Ava Hutchinson takes women's title

The senior women’s race produced a tremendous battle between Dublin’s Ava Hutchinson and Cork’s Lizzie Lee.

Olympic marathon representative Hutchinson dueled with Lee for the majority of the 8km race. At one point it looked like Lee would break Hutchinson as she made a move on the final circuit.

However, it wasn’t to be and Hutchinson propelled herself to victory in a time of 31:06, ahead of second-place Lee in a time of 31:10.

On a good day for Dublin, Sarah McCormack finished an excellent third position (31:27), just ahead of Louth’s Fiona Roche (31:34).

Commenting afterwards, Hutchinson said: “That was really hard, it was one of the toughest races I've had in a long time.

"I'm really looking forward to the Europeans now and I believe we can do very well as a team there.”