Irish Cycling season

Barely three weeks into the Irish season, and, by far the major item on the agenda is the weather! The fact also that there have been no bunch finishes south of the border.

It has been all solo wins!

Starting with Martin O’Loughlin who blazed a trail in the ‘Kingdom’ when he won the Lacey Memorial at the tail end of February. The following week, options were available to participate in Broadford or Navan. Brian Quinn delivered the goods in Co. Limerick and in Navan Peter Hawkins showed the way.

Of course last weekend, ‘Mother Nature’ came into her own when the competitors at Warrenstown and Newbridge getting a taste of all seasons. And! if you need proof, the pictures told the tales courtesy of

Again, it was Sean Lacey winning in Warrenstown and Paul Healion showing the way home on the plains of Kildare.

Last Sunday,the mountainbikers in Kilruddery Estate in Co. Wicklow were also in the frame as far as a solo win in the Elite event. Dealing out the cards was none other other than the Champion of Britain and selected to compete in the Olympic Games in Beijing, Oli Beckingsale.

But all the focus of attention was on Robin Seymour and Niall Davis who are locked in a titanic battle as who will get the nod to represent Ireland in China.

After Sunday’s event, Seymour holds the advantage on the ever improving Davis. Also the IMBRC competitor was just back fom new Zealand. So, in the second round of the K-Capital Cup on Easter Sunday things may change for the young pretender.

But, back to this weekend when the gear levels go up another notch when it comes to competition.

Limerick CC under the chairmanship of Bob Murray, Ras Luimini heads the bill. Well, Bob will give a sigh of relief when he arrives in Fedamore on Saturday after his travels in South Africa.

The ‘A’ team! Oh yes! There is also one in Munster. His troops have been eager beavers in the preparation of this event.
According to a spokesman for the club, Martin Philips, ‘prior to his departure, Bob spelt it out what needed to be done. And to a man, everything is in place. Admittedly it was difficult with all the rain getting the roads marked. But, by divine intervention that was succesful also.

‘All we need now is for the lads and lassies to turn up and put their feet to the metal and give it stick around Fedamore,’ said Martin who also advised me that he is giving it a lash in the combined race.

The combined entrants are doing 5 laps of 14kms circuit which by all accounts takes in Clohessys Hill and it is no mean hiil. Especially when you have to negoiate it five and seven times. It was named after Peadar Clohessy who was a Progressive Democrats TD in the days when Dessie O’Malley.

The A’s and B’s have 7 laps to contend with. Defending champion is Michael Hennessy of the Fermoy CC.
The start and finish is in Fedamore and the HQ is at the Community Centre. where everybody will come under starters order on the stroke of one o’clock.

Carlow will not be for the fainthearted on Sunday.

One of the best races on the cycing calendar take place in Carlow this Sunday.
Certainly it has been billed in years’ gone by as one of the great classics. Year in year out the billing has lived up to expectations!

It is extra special this year as the timing of Easter has caught everybody on the hop when it came to preparation for the Easter stage races.

Not since the year 1913 has the Easter time been so early.

So! Des Hanlon will have that extra special ingredient and will give a clear indicator as how we can expect things to shape up for the Easter stage racing in Munster (Ras Mumhan), Leinster (Bertoni Gorey Three Day) and Ulster (PO Tour of the North).

Discussing the event with Ray McKenna of the promoting club Carlow Road Club, and the likely outcome.

“The main event is over 80 miles and takes in three laps of a course which has all the attributes  of a classic. Of course the weather could be a factor! As a bikie myself, I know it is tough and udulating and with two climbs on the course, it’ll make for interesting comments.

“The defending champion is Ciaran Power, but unfortunately he will be an absentee because of committments with his Pezula Racing Team abroad.

“Together with our sponsor Dan Morrissey, we are also catering for the Ladies and the C’s who will do one lap and for the Veterans and Juniors, two laps will be on the menu for them.

“As always, we have a comprehensive prize list,” said Ray.

Des Hanlon Memorial Classic Road Race

1981 – Paddy Flanagan 1991 – Stephen Spratt 2001 – Eddie O’Donoghue
1982 – R. Kimmage 1992 – Stephen Maher 2002 – Brian Kenneally
1983 – B. Kerr 1993 – Tommy Evans 2003 – Adrian Hedderman
1984 – G. Costello 1994 – Robert Power / P. Buckley 2004 – Rory Wyley
1985 – Joe Barr 1995 – Eddie McMahon 2005 – Rory Wyley
1986 – Stephen Spratt 1996 – Paul Griffin 2006 – Paul Griffin
1987 – Bobby Power 1997 – Ian Chivers 2007 – Ciarán Power
1988 – Ian Chivers 1998 – Tommy Evans 2008 –
1989 – John Sheehan 1999 – Ciarán Power 2009 –
1990 – Robert Power 2000 – Eddie O’Donoghue 2010 –

In the absence of Ciaran Power, it is an event where former winners do exceptionally well.

Two of the current crop of dual winners, Rory Wyley of Dan Morrissey/Carrick Wheelers and Paul Griffin of the Giant Asia Team have the opportunity to set the bar higher by adding a third win.

Brian Kenneally made a welcome return to racing last Sunday and as a former winner, the competitor has to be given due recognition.

Final word from the organiser, Ray McKenna, “racing gets under way from the Cattle Mart at 11.30.”


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