Wednesday 16 January 2019

Devins wins double Gold at Nationals

Matthew Devins's expanding trophy cabinet got even bigger recently when the teenage cycling sensation won double Gold at the All-Ireland National Youth Championships. The event took place in Dunloy and Ballymoney Co. Antrim.

The 2 Day competition consisted of the individual Time Trial of 7.6kms in the morning and the Road Race of 55kms on the Saturday afternoon with the Criterium on the Sunday morning.

First up was the time trial over 7.6km or just a fraction under 5 miles in old money.

The various age groups from U11,U12 right up to U16 competed for the 3 medals on offer with boys and girls riding the same distance in the individual test against the clock.

Yeats Country Cycling Club had 2 riders from Sligo both competing in the Championships over the weekend with Marcus Devins riding the U13 events with older brother Matthew riding the U16 events.

Marcus was the first of the Yeats boys to start the time trial recording a solid time of 11 minutes 50 seconds to take 7th place in the All Ireland race against the clock, gaining valuable experience for the years ahead.

In fact some of Marcus's information from the course was to prove valuable to older brother Matthew's race later on that morning.

Matthew started the time trial 3rd from last because of the club name with riders starting alphabetically.

Tom Moriarty the reigning national TT champion was the first rider to go under 10 minutes with a great time of 9 minutes and 50 seconds.

The first guy to beat that was Johnny Foster of the Bohermeen club in Meath beating Tom's time by 1 second.

Matthew was chasing local Connacht rider Keith Mulroy Westport who started 1 minute in front of him, which was a help as Matthew and Keith are both friends and rivals in Connacht.

Keith put in a great time of 10 minutes and 2 seconds to take 5th on the day, but as Keith finished hot on his heels Matthew was flying up the finishing straight and taking the All-Ireland Title by 3 seconds from Johnny Foster with Tom in third a further second behind.

Talking to Matthew after he said he had a close call on the 2nd last corner about 3 kms before the finish where he misjudged the bend losing the back wheel and ending up on the grass verge ceding valuable time but luckily not crashing and loosing the race altogether.

It was a remarkable recovery by him and a new national title for Sligo.

The road race was next up with 2 laps for U13s and U14s with 5 laps for the U16 riders on a hilly 11km course with 3 major hills and long 400 metre climb to the finish line from the last corner.

Marcus's race was fast and furious from the drop of the flag with 2 riders breaking away with Quillan Donnelly and Sean Tarrant getting a small gap over an exploding field.

In what was an exciting race to watch with Quillan Donnelly looking the strongest. As the pair took the bell lap Donnelly dropped Tarrant with the main field chasing hard behind they were 1 minute back with Marcus leading the field through the finish line.

Donnelly proved a convincing winner with Tarrant caught in site of the line by a fragmented main field with Marcus taking 5th on the line and 6th overall which was a fantastic result for the Yeats Country rider.

Next up was Matthew Devins with all eyes on him after taking the morning TT title.

This race proved a much cagier affair with Matthew being closely marked any time he moved off the front.

It was to cause a very negative race with Matthew being left to do all the chasing anytime a small group got away.

Tom Moriarty was always in close attendance to Matthew not letting him out of his site.

This was a circuit that should have suited Matthew but it proved not to be.

The race basically stayed together with Tom Moriarty taking the win on the up hill finish with Donal Walsh AAA Donegal in 2nd and Chris Donald team Madigan Belfast in 3rd.

Matthew was 10th siting a touch of cramp on the sprint for the line as reason why he under performed on the day.

On Sunday the U16 Criterium race was to be held first. Because 6 riders representing Ireland had to get their bikes and bags loaded for the up coming trip to represent Ireland and the forthcoming Youth tour of Austria, which Matthew is also selected for.

This race was to be held in Ballymoney but due to new traffic laws the police decided it would not go ahead through the streets of Ballymoney so instead a 2.2 km road circuit was to be used instead in Dunloy.

The race consisted of 30 minutes + 3 laps with a slightly up hill finish in the centre of Dunloy village.

The race started off very fast with numerous riders trying to break away with out success. Matthew was first to break away but was reeled back in after 2 laps out in front.

This race was looking more and more like it would come down to a sprint. As the time ticked down and with just over 2 laps to go Tom Moriarty attacked hard instantly getting a ten second gap.

As the lap went on some of the other teams along with Matthew started to chase Tom and just as Tom took the bell lap Matthew took off attacking passed Tom just as he was getting caught by the main field.

This time Matthew was gone soloing in on his own to a huge round of applause from the large cycling community gathered to watch the fantastic racing.

Chris Donald team Madigan led in a small group just ahead of the main field with Ciaran Dixon Team McConvey Cycles 3rd rounding out the podium.

This has been a fantastic season for Matthew with over 20 victories and 3 National titles road and track. With The Youth Tour of Austria to come.

Matthew would like to thank his personal sponsors Gary Rooney of Gary's Cycles Sligo and Jarlath Kelly of Fleet Plan Truck Leasing Dublin and club sponsor Riverside Hotel Sligo and Sligo Sport and Recreation Partnership and to the local media for their support.

Sligo Champion