Wednesday 16 January 2019

String of success for North East cyclists


There was a string of local success over the last week, with the North East's clubs thriving in races north and south of the border.

After his impressive sixth place finish last Sunday week, Drogheda Wheelers' Gavin Byrne managed to match it on Tuesday in a criterium race around Mondello Race Park.

Byrne, just a few points off an A3 upgrade, was beaten by some of the country's highest ranked cyclists, including Conn McDunphy who is part of the professional Holdsworth Team.

The region's riders kept up the good work in both local leagues - Swords and Dundalk.

The success began with Arek Klus from Stamullen RC who won in a very tight sprint finish in Swords, with his teammate and another up and coming star, Sean Landers, just behind him when rounding off the podium places.

Then in the Cuchulainn Bike Station League on Thursday, one of the organisers, Liam Dolan from the host club, managed to climb his way into second place, with Ardee man Tomas McCabe in third.

Wheelers powerhouse Eoin Ferriter continued his good form, taking sixth, with Cuchulainn man Alan Grey in eighth.

With the mid-week action over, some of the region's cyclists set off to the May bank holiday stage races, held annually in Ulster and Munster.

There was huge celebration in the Stamullen club when it was announced that Cian Delaney's continuous success hadn't gone unnoticed as he was to join some of the very best in the province as part of the Cycling Leinster Team.

They set off for the challenging Tour of Ulster, which bring the competitors over three stages, including an opening 180km race on Saturday which starts and finishes in Banbridge.

Delaney was an essential team rider, offering all his support to assist his teammate Mark Dowling to a very strong top-10 finish on Sunday.

The weekend will be an incredible benefit to Delaney who will set off as part of the Drogheda Wheelers Rás team in two weeks' time.

As some headed North, many of the Drogheda Wheelers club riders headed to the Kanturk three-day in Co Cork, with the region being represented in both the senior and youth events.

After his success during the week, Gavin Byrne opened his account with a strong eighth-place finish on stage one, after an amazing team effort along with fellow Wheelers man Neil Flanagan.

Both Byrne and Flanagan put in very strong performances in the time trial on Sunday morning, finishing 12th and 10th respectively, which left them both in high overall positions as they progressed into the latter part of the race.

The Connor brothers from Tullyallen, who both finished in the top 10 in Dungarvan the previous weekend, set off for the youth stage race in Kanturk also.

Ciaran Connor put in an extremely strong performance to finish in 10th position in stage 3 on Sunday, surely being helped by the brilliant efforts of his younger brother Seamus.

Drogheda Wheelers are promoting the Dunsany GP next Saturday morning, with the races commencing at 10:30am from the Dunsany GAA grounds.

The Drogheda Wheelers Rás team and Drogheda Rás start will be launched in the Thatch Pub this Thursday at 8pm.

Drogheda Independent