Sta­mullen host feast of cy­cling

Drogheda Independent - - SPORT -

IT re­ally was a bril­liant week­end in ev­ery way for Sta­mullen Road Club as they hosted two ma­jor days of cy­cle races at Balscad­den and Sta­mullen, at­tract­ing over 500 cy­clists and their en­tourage from all over the coun­try.

At Balscad­den on Saturday the sec­ond run­ning of the John Reilly Memo­rial races were held. Rac­ing got un­der­way at 10.30 with the Un­der-12, 14 and 16 races. At the end of the short race for the Un­der 12s, it was Quil­lan Don­nelly from the Bikesworx team who claimed vic­tory and this is a young rider who has been to the fore in all of his races so far this sea­son.

In the Un­der 14 race, it was the cur­rent All-Ire­land cham­pion, Adam Gilse­nan from Bo­her­meen CC who pow­ered his way to a clas­sic win. Sean Nolan from Na­van Road club recorded his sec­ond win up the steep fin­ish­ing climb to claim the U-16 ti­tle, hav­ing won here as an Un­der 14 rider two years ago.

At 11:45 a mas­sive field of 93 rid­ers lined up for the Se­nior Race for the John Reilly Memo­rial Cup, and this year the club were very proud to an­nounce a new spon­sor for this race, Grimme In­ter­na­tional Ire­land.

The race was held on a hand­i­cap ba­sis over 50km with the A4 rid­ers get­ting a two minute start on the A3 rid­ers, with the Se­nior A1-A2 start­ing a fur­ther minute be­hind.

Right from the drop of the flag, this race was con­tested at an ex­tremely fast speed, blink and you would miss the show. There were six laps to be cov­ered and at the end of lap three, all groups had amal­ga­mated and with all eyes on the pot of gold at the end of the race, no one was al­lowed to es­cape up the road.

How­ever, en­ter­ing Balscad­den to the sound of the bell, sig­ni­fy­ing the start of the fi­nal lap, seven rid­ers did slip the field and it was through great team-work by the pow­er­ful UCD rid­ers, Cian O’Reilly dis­tanced him­self from the group and went solo, hold­ing on right to the fin­ish with a very slen­der lead over his ri­vals. Last year’s win­ner, Mat­teo Ci­gala from the Aqua Blue team, made a brave bid to re­claim the cup, fin­ish­ing in sec­ond place. Ja­van Nulty, now rid­ing with North Down CC came home in third place and pop­u­lar Swords man, Eoin Mor­ton from the UCD squad filled fourth place.

At the pre­sen­ta­tion in Balscad­den Com­mu­nity Hall, club Chair­man, Gay Howard thanked the new spon­sor for coming on board and he also in­cluded the Reilly fam­ily who put on a won­der­ful spread of great food and good­ies for all present and a spe­cial men­tion for all of the race stew­ards and all in­volved in mak­ing the race, once again, a truly won­der­ful suc­cess.

On Sun­day it was a lock, stock and bar­rel shift down the road to Sta­mullen for the an­nual Sta­mullen Grand Prix races. This year the sign-on was at the mag­nif­i­cent St. Pa­trick’s GAA Sports Com­plex.

As the mas­sive field of rid­ers as­sem­bled at the sports grounds in prepa­ra­tion for their race de­par­ture, the clubs’ Safety Of­fi­cer, Robert Moore called for a minute’s si­lence for the late Marie McKenna from Sta­mullen, whose fu­neral took place just one hour prior to the Sta­mullen GP races. As a mark of re­spect to the McKenna fam­ily, the rid­ers did not race through the vil­lage on the first lap and rac­ing of­fi­cially started ap­prox­i­mately 300 me­tres past the vil­lage.

The first race of the day to fin­ish was the Un­der-12 and here it was Quil­lan Don­nelly from Bike­worx, who won again, com­plet­ing a week­end dou­ble, hav­ing won at Balscad­den the pre­vi­ous day. It was a re­peat for the win­ner of the U-14 race too, when Adam Gilse­nan from Bo­her­meen CC claimed an­other fine win.

The U-16 win­ner was Keith Mul­roy from Covey Wheel­ers in West­port, Co. Mayo who en­sured the long jour­ney paid div­i­dends.

The first se­nior race to fin­ish was the Se­nior A4 race for the SafeLink Shield and th­ese rid­ers raced over three laps of a very tough cir­cuit. At the end of the race, al­most 100 rid­ers came into the fin­ish­ing straight to­gether, blasted their way up through the vil­lage to the fin­ish line, where there was tremen­dous joy and ex­cite­ment with Sta­mullen Road Club rider, Sean Lan­ders tak­ing vic­tory by inches from Brian Malone from Park Wheel­ers CC. Mi­ham Se­bas­tain from the Scott Or­well CC fin­ished in third place.

This was Lan­ders first win in an open com­pe­ti­tion and the plan for this young man to try to win this par­tic­u­lar race had been hatched three month’s ago between him­self and club boss, Gay Howard.

In an­other sport, they would say ‘gam­ble landed’. It was a great boost for the club to see one of their own rid­ers sprint­ing home to a mar­vel­lous vic­tory.

In the Se­nior A3 Junior race, over four laps of the cir­cuit, Zeno Young from the Pow­er­house Sports team in Belfast re­tained the Jimmy Gough Memo­rial Cup, hav­ing won the same cup in last year’s event. This is the first time ever that a Junior rider has come back the sec­ond year in a row to win this cup.

The first Se­nior A3 rider home was Paul For­ristal from the Or­well CC in Dun­drum and he was pre­sented with the Pat Howard Cup.

The Se­nior A1-A2 race, held over a to­tal dis­tance of 130.8km at­tracted most of the coun­tries top rid­ers and what a race it was! In the large group of rid­ers, there were many at­tempts to form breaks off the front of the race but each at­tempt failed and all rid­ers were hauled back into the fold.

With the se­vere climb up Snow­town on each lap, legs be­gan to get tired and suf­fered. It was here that a strong 9-man break did man­age to go clear. Th­ese rid­ers stayed out front to Sta­mullen, where they were then joined by four more rid­ers. This now 13-man group worked very well to­gether.

As the rid­ers got the bell go­ing out on the fi­nal lap, a group of three man­aged to ex­tract them­selves off the front, Sean Lacey from Aqua Blue, Philip Lav­ery (Dublin) and Chris McGlinchey from the Chain Re­ac­tion team in Belfast. Th­ese rid­ers now had a 35 sec­ond lead over the chas­ing group of five rid­ers, with a fur­ther half minute gap to the next group on the road. As the three rid­ers ap­proached Gor­manston on the fi­nal lap, and with just 3km to go, their lead was quickly di­min­ish­ing and at the 1km mark, their lead was now down to a mere 10 sec­onds which they mirac­u­lously held on to un­til the fin­ish. In the fi­nal sprint to the line, it was 22-year old McGlinchey who proved the strong­est in a pow­er­fully fast sprint, with Lav­ery fin­ish­ing sec­ond and Sean Lacey, third. Then, Eoin Mor­ton from the UCD team led in the chas­ing group for fourth place. An­other lo­cal man in this same group was Cian De­laney who fin­ished in eleventh place, just out­side of the prizes.

In the Se­nior A2 race for the Pa­trick Kennedy Memo­rial Cup, Shane Baker from the Ir­ish Road Club tookk the win to wrap up a great week­end of top class cy­cle rac­ing.

Most sport­ing clubs will read­ily ad­mit that their sport de­pends greatly on the gen­eros­ity of spon­sors and Sta­mullen Road Club is no dif­fer­ent. They sin­cerely want to ac­knowl­edge the fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance given an­nu­ally by their reg­u­lar spon­sors as well as some new com­pa­nies who have come on board. Ac­knowl­edge­ment and thanks go to Austin Walsh from Quay Cy­cles in Drogheda, Bren­dan & Liz Whyte, Grimme In­ter­na­tional Ire­land, Peleus Steel (Duleek), Tommy Dowd Oil, Drogheda Credit Union, Mat­tie An­drews (An­drews In­ter­na­tional Trans­port), Flo Gas, Drogheda, Le­in­ster Cy­cling, Dee’s Bar­bers (Sta­mullen), Sta­mullen Busi­ness man, John Hughes (SafeLink) and an ac­knowl­edge­ment for those who asked not to be named.

There is a host of peo­ple to thank, suf­fice to say, we are most thank­ful to ev­ery­body who came out to help make the week­end a great suc­cess. It could not be done with­out each and ev­ery one of you.

He re­served a spe­cial word of thanks for the McKenna fam­ily for their kind­ness to­wards the club, es­pe­cially in their time of deep sad­ness on the death of their Mother, Marie. The McKenna fam­ily con­veyed their wishes that the Sta­mullen GP races should go ahead in the Vil­lage as planned, and for this the club is ex­tremely thank­ful.

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