There was a decent turnout for the latest round of the Nenagh Summer League. It must have been down to the fine weather this evening. We decided to just go with 3 groups with handicaps of 0, 6 and 8. The front group was quite small; that wasn’t helped by a few of the girls missing the start! The 2nd and 3rd groups were bigger than normal. The 3rd group in particular was very strong and they set a very strong pace from the gun.
It was clear, early in the race, that the 2nd group would be caught early. They were in sight going up Kilmastulla hill and were caught shortly after that. Once the groups merged the proper racing began. Paul Kennedy was the first man off the front. He was left hanging out the front by himself for a mile or two (no better man to go solo) before Darren Dunne and another dangerman Stephen Shanahan broke across to him. This break was looking strong and it soon swelled to 7 or 8 riders as they were joined by Con Kennedy, Eoin Woolley, Mike Browne and some Newcastle West lads.
As the bunch neared the roundabout the break seemed to stop working as well and the bunch closed the gap. There was a tough headwind on the way back to Birdhill and this made it hard for people out in front. The next break went at the nursery and was led by Denis Allen and Shane Scully. The two boys aren’t exactly known for their power so they really needed a big lump up there with them if they were to get away. This didn’t happen and they were reeled back in at Mulrooney’s garage.
The next break went straight away with Con Kennedy going away. He was left out by himself for a while before Eoin O’Donoghue, Eamon Kelly, Denis Allen and Mike Browne went across to him. They kept a decent tempo and the gap went out to around 20 seconds. The chase bunch split apart on the Yellowbridge hill as Stephen Shanahan launched an attack. He took Paul Kennedy, Shane Scully, Darren Dunne and Matty Kennedy across to the break. The bunch behind never got a good chase going, despite the efforts of Tommy Hanrahan, and that let the break get away.
Once a sizeable gap was established the Nenagh CC team tried to use their numerical advantage to take the win. Breaks from Con Kennedy, Mike Browne, Matty Kennedy and Darren Dunne were all reeled in by Paul Kennedy. It’s hard to match his sheer power on the flat. Paul reeled in the final break of Darren Dunne coming onto the ramp in Birdhill. He then put the hammer down on the hill and managed to drop a good few lads.
After doing so much work throughout the race it was always going to be hard for Paul to take the win. He had Shane Scully and Stephen Shanahan on his wheel for most of the run in. The two lads were able to go around him and fight it out for the victory. The finish was at the top and around the corner this evening and that allowed Shane enough time to get a winning gap on Stephen who came in second with Paul in third place. First woman home tonight was Cliodhna McGrath who stepped up to the middle bunch (inadvertently) for the first time and hung in there all the way to the line.
Thanks to our marshals – Bertie, Sinead and Patrick.
Next up – summer league race 15 – next Thursday