Wednesday 18 September 2019

25 years of Three Counties cycle

Cyclists from all over the North West will get an opportunity to take part in a very special event on Saturday August 31st when the Innisfree Wheelers celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Three Counties Leisure Cycle.

This event is unique in so far as it is one of the longest standing leisure cycling events on the national cycling calendar, and for this reason it is a massive day for the local Innisfree Wheelers Cycling Club who also at this time celebrate their fifteenth anniversary of the club.

The Three Counties event was started locally 25 ago by a number of local sports people from different backgrounds, cycling, triathlon, athletics and more.

The event was regularly staged on Sundays on an 80km approx. course that started in Sligo and took a route to Bundoran and back to Sligo via Manorhamilton.

Some of the local sports people who have taken part in the event over the years and are synonymous with sport in Sligo are Mark Scanlon, Martin O Hara, Paul Flynn, Seamus Mc Gowan, Susan Pugh, Joe Garaghy, Lucy Brennan, Rosemary Walsh ,Terry Mc Gowan, Declan Byrne, Tim Mc Carthy , Brian Mullan, Brendan Brogan, Marty Probst, Brendan Leahey ,Sean Muldoon, Alan Watters to name but a few, along with one other sporting character who is no longer with us Joe Hennigan who would have taken part in the event numerous times and will be remembered by all who have taken part over those years.

The event has been carried for many of these years by a current member of the Innisfree Wheelers John Greene who always worked towards linking it to a local charity and in doing so giving local cyclists an opportunity to take part in an organised event to raise money for these various local charities. Over the 25 years the Three Counties event has raised thousands of pounds/euros for some very worthy local charities, Children for Chernobyl, St John's Hospital, Sligo Social Services, Sligo General Hospital, Samaritans to name but a few.

This years local charity who will benefit from a contribution from the event is the local "Night Riders Special Olympics Riding Club" based at McGarry Riding Stables at Ransboro and who do excellent work to provide horse riding for participants of their group which is linked with the Special Olympics.

In 1994 when the Three Counties event started there was no other event of its type annually and it provided the stepping stone for cyclists to participate in an event year on year which was always looked forward to, and out of which other weekend group cycle tours to various locations in the west of Ireland took place, over a number of years by those who from year to year would participate in the Three Counties event.

Also, as a result of the Three Counties event in 2004 a group of the regular cyclists that would have taken part in the event, the Innisfree Wheelers Cycling Club was formed and this year celebrates its 15th anniversary in conjunction with the Three Counties 25th year event.

It was said the Three Counties event provided over the years an opportunity to give a huge number of local cyclists who would not have taken part in competitive cycling their first taste of cycling with a group, and to this day twenty five years later quite a number of the original participants of the event still cycle on a regular basis whether it is with Innisfree Wheelers or other clubs, or for that matter there are still the few who are linked with no club, but will always appear on the day of the Three Counties event, it holds such an attraction and in doing so provides financial benefits to a large number of deserving causes.

This year's event takes place on Saturday August 31st from Sligo Tennis Club on the Old Bundoran Road with Registration from 9.00am and a start time of 10.00am with a cost per person of 20euros payable at registration on the morning of the event

This year as in previous years the event will stick to an 80km template but the route has changed slightly for safety reasons but still will head from Sligo and follow a route around Lough Melvin taking in Kinlough, Garrison, Rossinver where there is a food stop into Manorhamilton and back to Sligo via Murragh and Calry. A very scenic and challenging route that will suit all levels of cyclist to do at their own pace.

On the night of the event in order to celebrate both the 25th year of the Three Counties and the 15th year of the Innisfree Wheelers there will be a social event in the Glasshouse Hotel with a buffet meal followed by music starting at 8.00pm with a cost per person of 20euro.Tickets for this event are available from Innisfree Wheelers committee members or by calling 087-1005219 to book prior to event.

To keep updated on the lead up to the event you can log on to either the Innisfree Wheelers website or Facebook page.

Sligo Champion