With 336 riders signing on for the three card race in Caherconlish last Sunday, the tone was set for an exciting days racing at the first meeting of this years National Series Cycling league. The numbers contesting Rás Luimní in recent years have been growing as riders have come to respect what is a relentless and battering circuit that demands honesty and effort from every competing rider.
As riders signed on in the Millennium Centre in Caherconlish, resplendent in its newly finished décor and facilities, the weather Gods were just about deciding in favour of the race after a few light showers gave way to magnificent spring day. Without any unfavourable weather conditions it became a contest of each rider and team facing each other down over the 30km hard man circuit. The new status of 1st race on the Cycling Ireland National League as expected attracted a fine turnout in the top billing A1/A2 race with almost 70 riders clipping in for the start of their 4 lap race. A massive 120 A3 field took off after them for their 3 laps, and a record 140 riders then started their assault of their 2 laps.
There was much pre race local interest in all 3 categorized races and the riders duly lived up to the challenge. A bunch gallop decided the A4 race and Martin Waters of Limerick CC showed great form, building on two top tens already this season, placing himself ideally going into the last corner in Caherconlish and emerging in good shape for the approach to the final dash. Despite his efforts with 200 to go he couldn’t quite catch the wheel ahead but held on gamely to place a gritty third behind strong opposition from Cork and Waterford.
In the A3 race Mark O’Callaghan, Eoin O’Donoghue, Henry Cooke and Dave Bourke were all to the fore after the hills to Ballyneety at the end of lap 1. An early attack looked menacing and a gap that proved to be the winning escape was carved open. Bourke bridged to the chase group that caught the early leaders and had up to 40 seconds on the bunch to which he eventually retreated. Mark O’Callaghan soon attacked from the bunch and made the bridge to the leaders which swelled to some 14 riders by the time he joined it. He showed great resilience to last the pace after his bridge effort and scrapped it out for 9th and his third top ten in as many weeks. Michael O’Loughlin of the Nicholas Roche Performance Team claimed the win from Dion McCarthy of Lotto and Paul O’Connell of Tipperary Wheelers. Local man Sean Yelverton took 5th for the Limerick based team Mego.
Declan Fagan took over as Race Director this year and with a strong Race Committee in situ and a steadfast army of marshals and volunteers, they duly delivered a race that stands at the top of the national calendar in terms of safety, competition and facilities for riders. Long time organiser Pat Spaight was there ever the helping hand and a great day of sport was had by all, culminating in Simon Ryan of Team Mego scooping a long awaited and hard fought win in the top billing A1/A2 race, attacking as he did early on lap 4 and laying his cards on the table. The ‘Team Aqua Blue’ dominated chase group weren’t able to close him down and the Tipp Town man fisted the air as he crossed the line in delight to the applause of the large crowd gathered outside the tennis club.
The race committee would like to thank the locals in Caherconlish, Ballyneety and Herbertstown for their patience and cooperation, The Bike Shop for its sponsorship of the race, all the marshals and volunteers who so generously gave of their time, the Gardaí, outriders, ambulance crew and all the staff at the Millennium centre who helped make Rás Luimní 2015 a great success.
- Simon Ryan Team Mego
- Paidi O’Brien Osbourne Meats/McCarthy Solicitors
- Conor Henebry, Carrick Whlrs
- John Hodge Dungarvan CC
- Stephen Murray, Strata 3 Velo
- Sean Lacey Aqua Blue
- Cathal Moynihan Aqua Blue
- Patrick Clarke, Fitzscience
- Greg Swinand, Aqua Blue
- Keith Gater, Waterford R.C.
- Michael O’Loughlin, NRPT
- Dion McCarthy, Lotto
- Paul O’Connell, Tipperary
- Daragh O’Mahony, O’Leary Stone/Kanturk
- Sean Yelverton, Mego
- Martin O’Loughlin, Carrick
- Richard Gibbons, 7 Springs
- Charles O’Mahony, WCCC
- Mark O’Callaghan, Limerick CC
- Ray Madden, Kingdom Modo
- Don Rapele, Cork Tri Club
- Don Fegehiry, Waterford R.C.
- Martin Waters, Limerick CC
- David O’Sullivan, I Bike
- David Kyle, North Tipp Whlrs
- Keith Barry, Carrick
- Ciaran Moore, DeRonde Van Cork
- David Guerin, Clarina
- Daniel Brown, Coachford
- Richard Quinn, Club Rothaiocht no Sionanne
1st unplaced Lady, Grace Young, DeRonde Van Cork