We had a fantastic summer league race yesterday evening. The standard of racing was extremely high with only a select few lasting all the way to the line after 1:15 of racing. It was attack after attack in the scratch group and this allowed the first group to stay away for most of the race. It all came together on the tough Ballyhane circuit and out of a final group of 7 coming to the line, it was Darren Allison from Raparee who got up in the sprint for the win.
Don’t forget – Tipp Champs: Tuesday, August 1st at 7:00pm at Birdhill – the Premier A1, A2, A3, A4, Woman and Junior cyclist in the county will be decided. Also a team prize (top 3 to score). Nenagh CC are the defending team and individual champions from 2016. Come up and beat us if you think your club is hard enough!! As Kenneth Kennedy says “those other Tipp clubs are pure soft and couldn’t even pedal drugs”. Truer words have never been spoken.
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We were delighted to see 30 cyclists on the start line for this race. This meant we could have 3 groups on the road at handicaps of 0, 5 and 9. There was a lot of quality on the start line and that meant that the first two bunches were actually quite small and the scratch bunch was very big. This led to a ferocious pace being set all the way in to Nenagh with speeds close to averaging 50km per hour. Group 2 were caught just before the roundabout but group 1 still had a sizeable gap.
After the turn at the roundabout, the co-operation in the scratch bunch stopped. Few people were rolling so the break away attempts started. Alan Buckley, Aichlinn O’Reilly, Con Doherty, Matty Kennedy, Shane Scully and Ronan Costelloe were all heavily involved in the breakaway attempts but every time these breaks were reeled in. There was a short ceasefire as the group neared Birdhill. Most in the bunch had now turned their attention to the upcoming Ballyhane circuit and the hill at Boland’s pub. This allowed Matty Kennedy and Ronan Costelloe to slip off the front and build up a good lead going on to the first lap, but they too would be swallowed up before long.
Group 1 were still out of sight but the Ballyhane circuit can be quite draining so large gaps can be reduced quite quickly on it. Going up the hill for the first time, the race split to bits. Lots of cyclists went out the back and ended up pulling in after just 1 lap. The scratch group were motoring now and they soon caught what was left of group 1 on the Newport rd. Break after break was being thrown in and people were getting more and more tired. It was a war of attrition and with 1 lap to go there was about 10 left.
Video: final ascent of the hill at Ballyhane
The final time up Boland’s Hill saw Aichlinn O’Reilly turn at the roundabout first followed by Con Doherty, Darren Allison, Ronan Costelloe, Daniel Bresnan, Shane Scully, Daniel Yon Hin and Matty Kennedy. Just before Birdhill, Shane and Con put in a big dig and got a gap but with the finish line only over 1km away they were reeled back in. Next to go for glory was Aichlinn and he was soon joined by Darren. This looked like a winning move but Ronan, Matty, Con, Daniel and Shane managed to bring them back to set-up a final sprint finish. Tired legs meant it wasn’t the fastest sprint finish you will ever see from most but fair play to Darren for getting up for a fine win. He was followed by Con Doherty in 2nd and Ronan Costelloe in 3rd.
Next Up: the last Thursday evening Summer League Race is next week. Next Thursday will be a dry rehearsal of the Tipp Champs route = in and out to Nenagh – 2 Ballyhane circuits – Montpelier / Daly’s Cross route – sprint finish outside Cooper’s pub in Birdhill.
Sign on and race start is from the Nenagh side of BIRDHILL roundabout at 7:00pm SHARP.
Thank you to our 3 Kennedy marshals!
Video Sprint Finish