McCabe's home win in Ardee League opener
AS the dust settles after the local success in the 2018 Rás Tailteann, secondary schools close their doors for the holidays and the country is overwhelmed in a Mediterranean-style heatwave. That means only one thing for the cyclists of the North East region - the league season is back!
Although the Cuchulainn Cycling Club league, sponsored by the Bike Station, has been in full flow for well over a month, last week saw the commencement of the Ardee League for the second year.
The relatively new club commenced their league last summer, and after high levels of interest they chose to undertake the running of it again.
Large numbers of local cyclists flocked to Ardee on Wednesday night last to open their account in the 'Ferdia League' on the Tallanstown circuit, which the club used last year.
The interest of local clubs is shown strongly in the results, with the first four places being taken by members of the four major local clubs.
It was Tomas McCabe from the host club who sprinted to victory, followed by local powerhouse Gary Gorman (Stamullen RC), Liam Dolan (Cuchulainn CC) and Drogheda Wheelers junior James McMorrow in second, third and fourth places respectively.
This league will move to a Tuesday evening from now on, starting at 7pm tonight, with competitors on a new circuit from Dromin to the link road via Dorians, starting from Ardee Business Park.
In week seven of the Thursday night Cuchulainn League, it was the boys from Newry who took most of the success, taking three of the first four spots. Just further afield in fifth was James McMorrow from Drogheda Wheelers, continuing his strong form after his fourth place in Ardee the night before.
Garry Marron (Ardee CC) and Gavin Byrne (Drogheda Wheelers) rolled across in sixth and eighth places to continue the local success story, with John Molloy - also from the Wheelers - rounding out the top 10 on the night. The host club managed to grab eight of the following nine spots.
Just in case two weekdays' racing wasn't enough for the region's cyclists, large numbers made the journey to Mondello motorbike track on Tuesday last for the fast hours racing, and amongst some of the strongest riders in the country Wheelers' Ben McCourt Lenehan took home the first unplaced junior prize on the night.
This brings the 17-year-old's prize tally to three in the space of just six weeks and he is continuously proving to be one to watch at the finish.
With a stage race in Wicklow taking the majority of cyclists in Leinster, anyone else who wished to race had to make the journey to Bishopscourt in Downpatrick on Saturday and it was there that Stamullen RC veteran Craig Sweetman took his place on the podium, sprinting to third place in the A2/3 race.
In the youth races earlier on Saturday, Ciaran Connor from Drogheda Wheelers tried to make a break for victory with two laps remaining before being reeled back with just a few kilometres remaining, but Connor - who is an Under-14 from Tullyallen - managed to hang on to finish in ninth place.
Drogheda Wheelers' Mark Mullen Summer League will commence on June 18th, offering local riders three mid-week racing options.