independent

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Hundreds hit road for Tour De 'Finnane

Mary Murphy

Published 09/04/2014 | 05:36

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Neil Daly, Noelle Scanlon, Carina O'Sullivan and Catherine Cronin.

A RAINY start to Saturday morning failed to dampen enthusiasm at Ballyfinnane as 722 cyclists took to the roads to raise funds for the local national school.

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A RAINY start to Saturday morning failed to dampen enthusiasm at Ballyfinnane as 722 cyclists took to the roads to raise funds for the local national school.

The first ever 'Tour de Ballyfinnane' left the school at 10am on Saturday morning with hundreds of cyclists taking on the challenge of either the 45km route or a tougher 70km trek.

As the sunshine broke through the clouds the cyclists were treated to some of the most stunning countryside that Kerry has to offer from Annascaul to Tralee.

The inaugural tour certainly captured the imagination of the local community with past pupils and residents on hand throughout the day to help with everything from freshly baked scones and water stops, to registration and manning the barbecue.

A large contingent also came outside their homes during the race to encourage all the cyclists, particularly around the Farmers Bridge area.

Anxious to get all of the cyclists home in one piece, Fr Luke Roche came out to give the cyclists and their mounts a special blessing and it obviously worked as there were no incidents or accidents reported. Once all the cyclists were home safely, the celebrations began in earnest at the nearby Shanty with live music from Brian Corbett.

Such was the response to the inaugural 'Tour de Ballyfinnane' that organisers are already planning for next year.

"We've had some excellent feedback and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves," said John Edwards, Chairperson of the Ballyfinnane NS Parents Council.

"Given the level of success we will organise the event again next year and we will welcome everyone back with open arms," he added.

The Parents Council has thanked all those who helped organise the day in particular Joan Collins who acted as DJ, Siobhan Driver and her family at The Shanty, the Civil Defence, the Gardaí, the many volunteers along the route and the staff at Ballyfinnane NS.

There was also word of thanks for the 90 local sponsors including O'Sullivans Cycles in Killarney who provided a support vehicle on the day.

Kerryman

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