Saturday 23 March 2019

Dennis edged out in decider


With a mere five points separating the top seven, including joint first place Austin Dennis from Swords, fierce competition lay ahead as the riders set off on last week's final round of the Mark Mullen Summer League, promoted by Drogheda Wheelers.

The league ran consecutively for six Monday nights and each round saw the competitors complete six laps of the Donore-Kellystown-Mullaghcrone block, a 40km challenge where the top 10 on each round received points.

The final round commenced with a fast pace, as Terence Diehl from Drogheda Wheelers and Dennis both attempted to break clear and bring home the honours for this year.

But with just 2km remaining the groups came back together, which meant a large bunch sprint lay ahead where James McMorrow, a junior from the promoting club, claimed victory.

In second, third and fourth finished the first three riders overall, with Diehl beating Dennis and Adrial Pretorius (Blanch Wheelies) to the line. This second-place result for Diehl was enough for him to take the overall victory of the league, ahead of Swords clubman Dennis and Pretorius as they each finished with an equal 39 points.

Liam Hanley, a Navan native, claimed fourth, with Julianstown's Javan Nulty in fifth and Simon Jones - who rides with the UCD team - in sixth. Round winner James McMorrow finished seventh with 20 points, ahead of Mark Heather (Clontarf), Mindaughas Butkus (Blanch) and Patrick Carolan (Drogheda) who rounded out the top 10.

In the underage section of the league Drogheda Wheelers managed to claim the first three spots across the line, with Pearce Gorman from Stamullen fourth.

At the prize presentation club secretary Ger Campbell was quick to thank all the competitors and volunteers involved in the race and paid a special mention to St John's Ambulance for their tremendous work each week.

He concluded by paying tribute to the late Mark Mullen who the league is in memory of, and said he was thankful to everyone for continuing to remember the former clubman through the league.

Although the league came to an end on Monday, this was not the end of promoting for Drogheda Wheelers as they hosted the 22nd edition of the Brendan Campbell Memorial on Sunday.

This race remembers one of the leading figures into the formation of the club over 30 years ago.

Speaking ahead of the event, Race Director Ger Campbell, son of the late Brendan, conveyed his worries after losing the title sponsor of the race after 21 years, but he was highly appreciative of all those who came on board to back the event and ensure one the country's oldest races stayed on the road.

A full set of youth and senior events could be viewed racing around Donore, which followed the same circuit as the summer league, with the minor difference of the start/finish line being at Donore National School.

It looked like James Willett from Swords RC was going to take home the cup in the Under-16 race, but he was narrowly beaten into second.

However, Austin Dennis continued his successful week with second in the A4 race.

Then, as the rain moved away and the roads began to dry up, the main race started and after 13 laps and a distance of 87km, Sean Landers from Stamullen RC sprinted to third A2.

Fingal Independent