The field of National Series racing was split again at the weekend with a middle-distance race in Kenmare and a shorter sprint race in Lough Key.
Not even the five-minute penalty could put a stop to the biking skills of McCrystal as he emerged victorious (4:13.35), clear of Niall Somers (4:15.48) and Owen Martin (4:17.55). McCrystal's recent top-10 finish in the Dublin City Triathlon was noted for the fastest bike split on the day.
Trevor Woods, representing the home club Cork TC, finished a respectable seventh.
Meanwhile, the ladies were out to prove it was anyone's for the taking. With memories of DCT still fresh in their minds, the podium shuffle ended in favour of previous Lost Sheep winner Joyce Wolfe (4:42.50) with a convincing win over Katie Cooke (4:46.59) and Rachel Glendon (4:49.59), this year's National Olympic-Distance Champion.
The course was a 1.9k swim in Kenmare Bay, an 80k technical bike loop, followed by a 21k undulating run in challenging weather conditions.
In Lough Key, Kevin Thornton was loosening up the legs with one last National Series sprint win before departing for London World Age-Group Championships. "Today was the final piece of the jigsaw needed for the National Series. Hopefully I have done enough to get the overall title," he said, with a finishing time of 1:03.35. Second and third place went to Aichlinn O'Reilly (1:05.29) and Eamon McAndrew (1:07.44).
Dry and mild conditions at Lough Key on Sunday made for pleasant racing in the clear 750m lake swim, a slightly longer cycle of 22k and a 5k forest run over the line. A hotter contest was developing in the women's race with Jennifer O'Connell (1:14.21) just ahead of Katie Fitzgerald (1:14.54) and Derval Devaney (1:15.11).