Local cycling club in a spin after claiming top national award
Cuchulainn Cycling Club was celebrating at the Cycling Ireland Awards on Friday night after securing the coveted Cycling Club of the Year title for the third time in 10 years.
The Dundalk outfit was one of 10 nominees for the prestigious national award and club members officers Sé Weston, Pat O'Shaughnessy, Karl Dolan and Philip Kerley attended the annual awards ceremony in the Crowne Plaza in Dublin.
The award, is voted for by members of Cycling Ireland and is the highest accolade a club can achieve in Ireland.
Before the event, club chairman Sé Weston was cautiously optimistic, and he felt the award was well deserved: 'With 400 members from all over Louth, we cater for cyclists of all ages and abilities. This year our members and volunteers organised and ran children's and adults beginners classes for road and mountain bikers, weekly training and leisure spins on and off road, one of the best sportive's in the country, The Tour of Louth, and The Lap of Louth, a fundraiser for SOSAD. These non competitive and training events were complemented by our competitive leagues, on and off road, for those who like greater cycling challenges.
'Many of our cyclists entered and were successful in all Ireland competitive events with Jimmy Flynn winning a national title and Ann Duffy (Newry), Alan Bingham (Hilltown), Liam Dolan (Dundalk) and David Holland (Blackrock) making their mark with podium and gold medal finishes in national races. The club also had a Rás team that which featured prominently.
'It's a well run club that is dependent on volunteers to project manage, coordinate and marshal all it's events. We have become an integral part of the community in Louth and provide sporting opportunities for all cyclists.'
There was great anticipation in the room in the build-up to the announcement and there was great applause and cheers in the hall when the verdict came.
A delighted Pat O'Shaughnessy said: 'This is a great reward for the efforts of all club members and in particular those who took part in new initiatives in 2017 which included, children's safe-cycling programmes, a new cyclocross league and mountain bike training for beginners. The club is on the up.'
Club Secretary Karl Dolan was ecstatic with the evening's drama as he also accepted The Bike Shop of the year award as co-proprietor of the The Bike Station, the newest bike shop in Louth and sponsor of the club's hugely successful Summer Cycling League.
On the club award he said: 'Our overall objective is to introduce everyone to cycling as a sport for life. In the long run Cuchulainn CC wants to provide some form of permanent safe venue for cycle sport.'
Speaking about The Bike Station, which he manages with business partner Ray Fedigan, he suspected it was their personal service, well trained staff and professional approach that gave them an edge.
The night could not have gone better for Louth and Dundalk with Eve McCrystal, no stranger to cycling podiums, receiving the prestigious award for best female cyclist 2017. Philip Kerley the clubs CPO noted: 'Cuchulainn is very proud of Eve, a former member, who continues to have a very successful international career. She is an inspiration to all with her dedication and commitment.'
Cuchulainn CC hopes to use this award to attract more people to cycling and to develop a strategy to provide a permanent, safe venue for cyclists of all disciplines to enjoy.