Morning is the GARVEYS SUPER VALU Stage , which will see the race depart Killorglin at 10am for the 100 mile loop to finish outside the sponsors premises in CASTLEISLAND around 2.30pm. This will be an epic stage taking the riders through the roads of Kerry, Limerick & Cork.

WATERVILLE is the venue for Stage 3, the new PAULINE SUGRUE PROPERTY SALES Stage on Sunday at 12 noon. The stage commerates former Iveragh Cyclist Eamon Scully, who lived for many years in London and the stage sponsor is his sister. The cup in his honour was won by Paidi O Brien last year and he will return in the Murphy & Gunn colours this year . The stage starts and finishes in the South Kerry town after a punishing route that will again take the race onto Valentia Island.

The traditional finish to the race on Easter Monday Morning in KILLORGLIN, at 10am, is 3 laps of the Beaufort circuit and on to the smaller Donal McKenna circuit for the finale, a total of 58 miles.

All the top Irish teams will go to the line, and they will have 2 foreign squads for company. Leading the foreign challenge will be the new Murphy & Gunn Professional team, based in Belgium , that will include winners for the last 2 years John Dempsey and Paul Healion. This team come to the race with 2 Stage races abroad in their legs.

The Surrey League team are regular visitors for the race and they will add to the foreign flavour of the race again.

The team has 3 former winners , Eugene Moriarty, Stephen O Sullivan and Brian Kenneally who is setting the pace at the moment.

Fermoy rider Michael Hennessy winner of Ras Luimini will lead the Cork challenge that will have the Kanturk Lynch Brothers also. Limericks Tom Shanahan is going well at the moment as is Vincent Gleeson from the Banner, who won the points jersey here a few years ago.

The Dan Morrissey Carrick Wheelers are one of the form teams’ of the moment and bring all their big guns including Rory Wyley and Martin O Loughlin and double winner this year John O Brien.
The Earl of Desmond team will lead the Kerry challenge or in my neck of the woods the ‘Kingdom’ with Niall Brosnan, the Concannon brothers Eoin and Miceal will be in colours and Sean Lacey will be in the firing line also.

It is a hard ask, but of all the competitors in the event, Paul Griffin from Tralee has the most aeronautical miles clocked up and it would be fair to say the most racing miles. He is back for Taiwan and subject to recovery from jet lag has to be taken as a lively candidate for the overall honours.

‘I only made up my mind to compete in the event yesterday evening. The second stage is 80% familiar to me, but the roads will be very hard as I feel they are very dead,’ said Paul Twelve months ago, Eugene Moriarty crashed in this event and more or less never recovered in the sense that he was seldom competitive for the rest of the season, when he got going again. I caught up with him early this afternoon and teased out his feelings about the race. ‘As you are aware and the rest of the cycling community that the squad have been in the winners enclosure seven times since March. That is an enviable amount of success for any team so early in the season. Yes! We’ll be up there to be shot down, but there is tremendous amount of spirit in the team and hopefully we can do the business. Do I need to be reminded that last year in this event. my whole year was more or less finished before it started.

‘We are going over a lot of new ground which will make the event interesting and I am keeping my council to myself as to where the trophy will rest come Monday afternoon,’ said Eugene.

As an honest broker it would be hard despite the pros and the visitors to look beyond Kenneally with John O’Brien of Dan Morrissey/Carrick Wheelers RC and Griffin being in the shake up!