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Saturday 23 June 2018

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Rás set to remember race legend

Gabriel Howard with Des Cahill, accepting his Hall of Fame award from the Drogheda Independent. Photo: Paul Connor
Gabriel Howard with Des Cahill, accepting his Hall of Fame award from the Drogheda Independent. Photo: Paul Connor

Gerard Cromwell

The eight-day Rás Tailteann kicks off in Drogheda tomorrow with a 136km opening stage dedicated to one of the race’s best-known riders and volunteers.

The late Gabriel Howard rode his first of 21 Rásanna in 1963 and having taken up position of neutral service driver when he stopped racing was ever present on the race up until last year.

“He was a larger-than-life character,” said stage organiser Gerard Campbell yesterday. 

“He did 21 consecutive Rás Tailteanns, but his best years in the sport were still in front of him because after that the one thing he did more than anyone else was give back.

“He was always there to give back and I think it’s only right that we honour him this year.”

Tragically killed in a farming accident in February, the Meathman will be remembered in Drogheda tomorrow when the Rás takes off on its 1,180km odyssey around the country from West Street at 12.30.

This year’s edition features stage ends in Athlone, Tipperary, Listowel, Glengarrif, Mitchelstown, Carlow and Naas before the now traditional final stage to Skerries next Sunday.

This year, 19 county teams will fight it out against 11 international squads – including a strong Irish national team of Robert Jon McCarthy, Darnell Moore, Marc Potts, Jake Gray and James Curry, for overall honours.

Irish Independent

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