48 cyclists signed on for the latest round of our summer league. The evening was a fine one with sunny skies and an easterly wind, meaning a headwind for the first half. As usual there were 4 groups with gaps 0f 0, 6, 9 and 10.30. The usual two minute gap between bunch 3 and 4 was reduced by 30 seconds as we were looking for the bunches to merge a little earlier than on the final ramp like last week.
The headwind to Nenagh made the going slow for each group. The scratch group were reducing the deficit quickly. They were determined not to let the 3rd group stay away for too long. By the roundabout there was only 10 seconds between the two bunches and they both merged at the Five Alley. Bunches 2 and 3 had also merged at this stage so it left one group out front and one large group chasing.
The pace in the main bunch slowed and the ‘real’ racing began. The dangerman this evening was always going to be the inform Aaron O’Brien. With a strong tailwind behind, if he could get in a break then it would be hard to catch him. Kenneth Kennedy made the first strong breakaway attempt. He was allowed down the road and was soon joined by Aaron O’Brien. There was no chase from behind and the gap grew quickly.
The 1st group on the road were caught and passed before the flyover. The break continued to increase its lead with the bunch behind not knowing what to do. Breaks from Keith Butler and then Dan Hogan came to nothing. Up ahead the break of two became a break of 3 as the lads were joined by Paul Kennedy who had an earlier mechanical on the road so turned early. They pushed on hard and the pace forced Kenneth out the back. The two boys pushed on ahead and were building up an unassailable lead.
Back behind, Ronan Costelloe and Shane Scully got away from the bunch at the Yellowbridge. However they were caught again by the descent of Kilmastulla. The pace from the bunch was high coming into Birdhill but Aaron was in no danger of being caught. Paul peeled off at the ramp and let Aaron finish the race by himself; winning it easily in the end.
In the fight for 2nd place, Shane led the bunch up the hill. Near the top he was passed briefly by Alan Loftus but Shane managed to come around Alan again at the end, finishing a massive 28 seconds behind O’Brien. In the women’s race, Gillian Mounsey continues her fine form, recording her second victory in a row. The hill top finish seems to be suiting her! Daniel Yon Hin was the first junior over the line. Congrats to everyone who took part. Also thanks to our marshal: Gary Scully, Mark Dempsey and the Kennedy sisters.