Bike racers from Cork will be among those to miss out on one of the top stage races events in the country if Ras Mumhan doesn't find a new home and backer for 2021 and beyond.
The four-day international road race has been a firm favourite for Munster's bike riders, including North Cork riders such as Paidi O'Brien and Eddie Dunbar, but the organising committee announced earlier this week that they will no longer host the event in Kerry and West Limerick.
Due to be staged in Kerry and West Limerick over last Easter weekend, the four-day event was initially postponed until later this year due to Covid-19.
On Monday last the organising committee of Rás Mumhan announced that they will not promote the event in 2021.
According to Tadhg Moriarty, Race Director, the committee was disappointed to have been unable to host the 2020 edition of the race.
"The decision to withdraw from event promotion was taken early in 2020. The intention of the organising committee was to announce the decision at the conclusion of the 2020 race, events however overtook the plan," Mr. Moriarty said.
"Given the complexity of organising the event, the committee felt it necessary to provide clarity regarding the future promotion of the race. It is hoped that this announcement will provide Cycling Munster with sufficient time to find an alternative promoter for Rás Mumhan for 2021."
In a statement announcing the cancellation of the event, Tadhg Moriarty said the committee wished to sincerely thank all those involved in the promotion of the event that has been based in Killorglin since 2001.
The committee also wishes to acknowledge the longstanding support of all sponsors, especially the title sponsor of the event, Kerry Group. The developments of recent years would not have been possible without Kerry Group's support and, in particular, the encouragement of Mr. Frank Hayes.
"The committee feels fortunate to have been the custodians of the event, which has a long tradition within Irish cycling. We wish Cycling Munster every success with the event in the future," the statement added.
The race, which attracts more than 180 cyclists and up to 40 teams, takes place over the Easter weekend with Killorglin as its base. While Killorglin Cycling Club, which is celebrating 125 years in cycling, hosts the event, it is run by Cycling Munster and over the four days passes through some of the most stunning scenery in Kerry.
From the cyclists' point of view, the superb route has some of the most demanding and scenic terrains in Ireland. The event has been based successfully in Killorglin since 1998, having been originally run in the 1950s.
"The race has traditionally attracted the cream of Irish amateur cyclists," Race Secretary Mary Concannon said last Easter.
"Over recent years the event has attracted cyclists from England, Scotland, and Holland. This has added immensely to the competitive nature and the profile of the race. Ras Mumhan is organised thanks to a massive volunteer effort which results in more than 200 people on duty each day. It is a major community event and in addition to our dedicated volunteers many community groups in the towns through which the races passes also assist us in ensuring safety and comfort for the spectators."
Apart from the sporting nature of the event, the race also injects a major financial boost into the region at the start of the tourism season. More than 1,300 bed nights are occupied over the weekend with cash injections to other business operators in the region including shops, restaurants and filling stations.
Ras Mumhan in the early years, which was mostly organised in Cork, was first run off in 1957.