Irish Cycling Report

The cycling season certainly stepped up a gear last weekend, but unfortunately the conditions courtesy of Mother Nature were not to the liking for those involved with the sport.

Still, complements to all, the race organisers, stewards, competitors and the local authorities who made a safe passage for the events.

Peter Hawkins, Seamus Downey, Brian Kenneally, Ciaran Power, Michael Hennessy who were winners, but in essence the real winners’ were those who competed, Certainly, if you browsed the pictures on of the Des Hanlon Trophy in Carlow last Sunday! They told the real story of bike riders who just ther support. Rain didn’t stop play.

Organiser Ray McKenna said, ‘in all my years involved with the event, I have never known conditions like we witnessed. Talk about not putting a milk bottle out! Everybody associated with the event played a blinder. I promise them when they come back next year, I’ll organise better weather and that’s a promise,’ said Ray.
It was great to see one of our finest ambasaadors, Ciaran Power who is now based in America with the Navigators Insurance team based in new Jersey winning the ‘Hanlon’ ahead of one of the up and coming riders, Ryan Connor who will defending his ‘Tour of the North’ title at Easter.

Also, Martin o’Loughlin of the Dan Morrissey/Carrick Wheelers RC back in action after being laid low after his win in the opener in Tralee last month.

He may have scored a trio a trio of wins, but Brian Kenneally of came unstuck in the Hanlon.

The coming weekend is well loaded in preferences and destinations for the would-be competitors The first round of the inaugural Slane Cycles – Ulster Classic League takes place on Saturday when Ballymena Road Club promote the Wallace Caldwell Memorial at Galgorm.

Previous winners read like a list of who was who in Ulster cycling.

Peter Doyle (Bray Wheelers) back in 1971 was the only competitor south of the border to record a win this prestigious event. A great adversary of ‘Doyler,’ Joe Smyth was a double winner back in the seventies as was Gary Wilson Phoenix CC have produced 4 winners – Pat Shearer, Gary McKee, Conor Henry and David McCann. Gordon Scott lifted the title 20 years ago but will be on the start line as a veteran this Saturday.

It is indeed going to be a historic day as all attached to cycling will be there to t celebrate the recent coming together of Cycling Ulster and the NICF.

As well as the normal prize fund, points will be awarded to the first 20 finishers for the overall league plus league prizes for all categories. The winner will also be presented with a Yellow Race Leaders Jersey. Sign on is at Rex Bonnar House, Railway Street, Ballymena from 9-45 with the 110 kilometre loop scheduled for 11am.

The 2007 Christy McManus Memorial Road Race will take place in Roundwood on Saturday, 24th of March. Promoted by Bray Wheelers, racing will start at 11am, from Roundwood GAA Club. The course for the race will be circuits of the Roundwood, Rathdrum and Laragh roads, in total about 70 kilometres.

This handicapped race is open to Senior 2 & 3, Junior, Veterans and Ladies categories, with prizes up for grabs in all sections.

The Christy McManus is generously sponsored by Frank Duff’s Lounge Bar, Main Street, Bray. Duff’s Lounge is Bray’s cycling pub – virtually a museum to the exploits of Elliott, Roche, Kelly and others; a great venue for post race analysis.

Race organiser is Gillian Martin (086 362 8280).



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