The final race of the Nenagh Summer League has come and gone. There was a fine turn out of 44 cyclists all looking to be the first past the post on the Birdhill ramp. The weather for this last race couldn’t have been any better; the race itself was great too with a rare breakaway win bringing to an end what has been a well supported and well contested series of races.
There were 3 groups on the road with a 9 minute and 3 minute handicap in between the groups. The middle group was very large so the handicap was kept small back to the scratch group. If the middle group worked well then they could stay away. Realising this, the scratch group took off at a ferocious pace in towards Birdhill. It was great to see a few new faces chancing the scratch group on the last evening. It was even better to see them hanging on the whole way.
It wasn’t too long before the scratch bunch had the middle bunch in sight. Coming in past Mulrooney’s garage the groups merged. However, it was now obvious that the middle group had in fact split and the other half of the group were still well up the road. Strong pulls at the front by Aichlinn O’Reilly, Mikey Browne and Kenneth Kennedy helped the scratch group narrow the gap. The rest of the middle group were absorbed just before the roundabout. Not long after, the first group were caught and the race proper could begin.
As always the pace at the front decreased and this allowed the first of the breakaways to get away. Shane Scully was first to go just after the nursery. He was joined soon after by two top Irish triathletes Aichlinn O’Reilly and Kieran Jackson, and Limerick CC junior Evan O’Donnell. This was a strong group and they quickly started to pull ahead of the bunch. At the top of the hill at the Yellowbridge the gap had been allowed to stretch out to 35 seconds. Could this be the first long range breakaway win of the year? It was looking good.
The breakaway was reduced to three when Kieran fell back a little on the hill. The others kept riding honestly and the gap stayed the same. The group behind was getting a little more organised but it was a case of too little, too late. Coming into Birdhill, the breakaway had a substantial lead and with strong climbers in the break it was clear that the winner was coming from the 3 lads.
The 1.5km final climb is a tough end to the race and it needs to be paced properly. Shane and Aichlinn shared the work for most of it and coming into the finish line Shane was just about able to pull away from Aichlinn in 2nd and Evan in 3rd. The much depleted bunch crossed the line soon after led out by Mikey Browne.
1. Shane Scully
2. Aichlinn O’Reilly
3. Evan O’Donnell
Thanks to our marshals today – Matty Kennedy, Sinnead Oakes and Bertie Sherlock.
A quick word from the girls……
We – Sinnead Oakes, Sinead Kennedy, Rachel Clancy & Majella Moyles, would like to give a huge thanks to all members of Nenagh CC who supported us race women over the last four months. It was great to see big numbers out training every Thursday evening. We not only enjoyed the tough training sessions but the encouragement and slagging along the way. Also, we would like to say thanks to both Shane & Gary for giving us the NSL as a means to raise funds for Ras na mBan…hugely appreciated. And thanks to all who helped us out marshalling, this has to be said was a great success. And last, but not least…thanks to all other cyclists from surrounding cycling clubs who supported our league, it was a pleasure to train with ye. So until next April…….pedal safely.
The club would like to wish the girls all the best in the upcoming Rás na mBan. With all this fundraising, we expect value for money. An overall victory and 4 top 10 finishes will be enough. No pressure!