Powerhouse Nulty prevails in a sprint finish
As is the case most summer weeks, local cyclists had plenty of events to choose from over the last seven days, including both weekend days.
The racing kicked off on Monday evening, with round 2 of the Mark Mullen League in Donore, which is promoted by Drogheda Wheelers. The number of partakers grew from the opening week, and with just one lap remaining, all the groups came together and set up a huge sprint finish. There was no stopping local powerhouse Javan Nulty who rides as part of the North Down team.
Navan native Liam Hanley matched his result from last week to take second and overall leadership of the standings. Two finishers from the Drogheda Wheelers Rás team, Arek Kluz (Stamullen RC) and Barry Hughes (Drogheda Wheelers) finished 5th and 7th respectively with Hughes teammate James McMorrow in 8th, just ahead of Stamullen veteran Gary Gorman in 9th.
While the following evening in the Ardee Ferdia League saw all the local clubs represented when Richard McMullen from the host club claimed victory in a brilliant sprint finish, Paul O'Donnell from Drogheda Wheelers in 6th, ahead of Darren McCann (Cuchulainn CC) and Emmett Gorman (Stamullen RC) in 7th and 8th.
Just in case two midweek evenings wasn't enough, round 11 of the Cuchulainn Bike Station League took place on Thursday, with Tomas McCabe (Ardee) claiming victory ahead of Dundalk man, Alan Bingham who is a member of Newry Wheelers CC. One of the promoters of the league, Liam Dolan was 4th ahead of fellow Cuchulainn man Peter Tomany in 6th. Drogheda Wheelers powerhouse Eoin Ferriter was 7th with teammate Gavin Byrne in 9th, with them being split by Garry Marron (Ardee).
Then came the biggest weekend of the Irish Cycling calendar as the Irish National Championships took place in Co. Sligo. Most competitors set off on their journey on Thursday as the time-trial event took place. It was here that Eve McCrystal, a native of Dundalk who rides for Garda CC as per her occupation, took bronze in the elite woman's category.
Then on Saturday saw both the woman's elite and junior men races take place. James McMorrow from Drogheda Wheelers battled his way around the junior race, showing his strength before taking on a six-day consecutive race next week. However, the real local success came in the women's race as McCyrstal, a pilot for the Irish Paralympian team and mother of two, claimed victory in a 4-way sprint in front of huge crowds of supporters in Sligo.
Speaking after her victory, McCrystal exclaimed how difficult the race was and how she "simply couldn't finish fourth", before making tribute to her late Father who passed away less than a year ago, stating her thoughts were with him as she exited the final corner and onto the finish straight.
McCrystal finished with saying that becoming the Irish Champion was as special to her as the gold medal she claimed at the Paralympics in Rio and that she looks forward to "wearing the jersey with pride".