Tour de East Meath to hit the roads
MEATH IN mid-August may not always conjure up images of summertime on the Côte d'Azur but on Sunday, August 18 in Stamullen, the GAA Club will turn from Gaelic to Gallic when it hosts its own version of the famous Tour de France, a one-day classic taking in some of the most scenic parts of the Royal County.
Hundreds of participants will descend on Stamullen GAA club to take part in the East Meath Cycle Tour, in aid of the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) which is the main organisation providing care for people with Motor Neurone Disease, their families, friends and carers.
The IMNDA provides home nursing support, financial assistance towards home care, the loan of specialist medical equipment, and supports research into the causes and treatment of the condition which affects the ability of cells in the body to communicate, making otherwise simple tasks, like swallowing and walking, almost impossible.
Members of St Mary's Gaelic Football Club in Donore are already signed up for the event, and are swapping their balls for bikes in aid of such a good cause.
'We are all keen to take part, and although 100km is tough, there is a 50km course which you opt for as well, so even if you are not super fit you can still take part,' says Paul Scanlon, Chairperson of St Mary's GFC, a Donore/Rosnaree native, who promises the club's red and green will be proudly flying on the day.
The footballers aren't the only sportsmen taking part.
Pedal Power is made up of eight cyclists who have raised over €50,000 for charity over the last three years, while the Drogheda Wheelers Cycling Club is also travelling to Meath, adding to the inter-county rivalry, and fun.
The event is being launched by a woman who knows all about hard fought races, recently elected TD Helen McEntee, who says she is delighted to lend her support.
'It really is a fantastic idea, and Motor Neurone Disease is a condition that really needs our support, so I am urging everyone to get involved, whether by cycling, by cheering on the participants, or sponsoring those who are on the bikes,' she told the Drogheda Independent.
The 50k and 100k loop tour leaves from Stamullen, moving through a scenic route departing Stamullen heading to the Boyne Valley, Donore, Oldbridge (Battle of the Boyne site) and Knowth all on route towards Slane, head south over the bridge and east along the Boyne Valley passing Rossnaree (Irish Mythology - Fionn Mac Cumhaill and the Salmon of Knowledge), Dowth, Newgrange, Bru na Boinne before finishing at the club.
Entry is only €34 per person, and tour organiser John Hynes confirms that a number of local and national businesses have already pledged support as sponsors, and says that the day-long event, and formal presentation of prizes afterward, offers businesses an opportunity not just to show their support for a good cause close to hearts of many in the community in these tough economic times, but also raise the profile of their own company in the process.
Further information on the East Meath Cycle Tour is available on the official Facebook page, or by telephoning John on 087-2105097.