Mullingar proved a happy hunting ground for several Orwell riders over the weekend with Anne Dalton, Eric Downey and Ed O’Mahony in the chase for overall honours and Barry Dunne finding his sprinting form for a breakthrough stage win in the Lakeside Wheelers’ 2-Day Stage Races.
In the women’s event Dalton finished a fine second overall to National Road Race Champion Mel Späth in what could well turn out to be a watershed moment in the Carlow-woman’s fledgling cycling odyssey. Dalton produced stage placings of third in each of the two road stages sandwiching a fine second to Späth in the stage two hilly 3km time trial in a confidence boosting result after a puncture robbed her of a chance to show her worth in the national championships.
Charlotte McDonald was next best of the Orwells in tenth overall having demonstrated growing confidence and strength by initiating a three-rider move that was away for a period inside the last ten km.
In the A4 race Ed O’Mahony showed attacking form in Saturday’s first road stage and was out front close to the finish only to meet his Waterloo on the long drag to the line. He showed no ill effects from his efforts, though, as he raced to fourth in Saturday evening’s short time trial, netting fourth place which would turn out to be the final overall finishing position for the triathlon convert from Cork. Ken McCullough was in fine form throughout was just edged out of the prizes with top ten finishes on the two road stages.
Eric Downey’s Saturn V-like ascent through the categories continues apace as the rapid rookie bagged third overall to go with second on stage one and third in the time trial in the A3 event. Downey made a brave bid for glory on the final stage but was reeled in with about ten kilometres to go having been out front for about 25km. Just about the only person who could threaten a top result for Eric last weekend was Eric himself who managed to lock his keys, bike and clothing in his car on Sunday morning. A fraught couple of hours ensued before his racing ‘iron’ was retrieved. Eric can now prepare for his first outing as an A2 rider.
Meanwhile another of Orwell’s stellar crop of raw recruits, Barry Dunne, scorched his way to the line in the final stage to take his first win as an A3 and move tantalisingly close to his A2 upgrade. Dunne’s coach Ryan Sherlock has identified some impressive 30 second power stats and Dunne lived up to the expectation by opening up a several bike lengths advantage in the run to the line. He was joined in the prize presentation by racing sophomore Peter Gerrard who showed fine attacking form throughout the two days while still retaining the strength to glide home fifth on the final stage. Craig Arrigan just missed out on a placing in the final stage but showed good form ahead of the Junior Tour.
Brian Ahern had gotten the Mullingar weekend off to a tremendous start for Orwell with fourth place in the National Criterium Championship in the town on Friday night. Ahern just missed a medal as he took second to Paidi O’Shea in the group sprint behind solo riders Felix English and local favourite Damien Shaw.
Elsewhere, Eddie Lynch was on fine form in the IVCA Track Championships in Sundrive Road, scoring gold medal wins in the 500m time trial, the 1km sprint, the Scratch race and the team pursuit to go with second in his age group 2km pursuit.
Masters track star Orla Hendron was on fine form in the same event, taking third in the 2km pursuit, silver in the scratch race and was a member of the + One team that took third in the team sprint.
The IVCA also ran a league road race in Kentstown on Sunday where Ian O’Keefe was third and Leslie Walpole sixth at the end of the 73km CP.
Up north, the Newry 3-Day provided rich pickings for Diarmuid Collins who scooped top prize in the club eight ball pool competition. Meanwhile out on the road Aidan Collins managed some hill points and Pat O’Brien finished a fine sixth in the dash for the line at the end of the fourth and final stage of the demanding event.