The 2015 edition of the Stephen Roche GP saw Fiona Meade and Jake Gray take the senior races, with victories in the youth races for Lucy O'Donnell, Will Ryan and Liam Curley.

Youth and novice racing

121 riders between the ages of 3 and 16 took part, the largest turnout ever for what is always a popular set of events. 

A variety of clubs took part in the youth races across the U12, U14 and U16 categories, travelling from as far as Limerick and Cork for the competitions. Limerick CC's Lucy O'Donnell won the U12 race ahead of Andrew Ryan (Orwell Wheelers), with local William Doherty of St. Tiernan's taking 3rd.

The U14 race was won by Will Ryan (O'Leary Stone Kanturk) who also topped the U12s in the Hammond Memorial TT the Saturday prior. A tight sprint saw Acorn RC's Padraic Doolan edge out Ryan Geraghty (Inspiration).

SERC savoured two spots on the podium in the U16 race, after their man Liam Curley took the top step, with Cian Keogh on the bottom. Sandwiched between them was Declan Maloney of O'Leary Stone Kanturk.

U16 Liam Curley enjoys his victory salutes (photo thanks to Ian Anderson)

The novice race was a hard fought yet fun affair, with many youngsters receiving last minute advice on the line from parents/coaches.

The intense startline of the novice race (photo thanks to Brian Ahern)


Lisney Orwell Wheelers Women's GP

Full report thanks to reproduced here. Many of the Orwell contingent found the fast pace from the start tough, but wisely opted to stick together in team time trial formation after being dropped.

World Champion Orla Hendron and fast finisher Sandra Telford were well able for the pace, and Hendron was characteristically aggressive throughout. They had to be content to finish just behind a Sundrive duo to take a fine 5th for Telford, and a solid 6th for Hendron.


Stephen Roche GP

About 70 men partook in the title race, 15-20 of whom were Junior riders - including the winner. That's the largest senior field we've had since 2007. It also marks the best junior turnout since the last century. 

The racing was - as ever - frenetic from the line, with the A2s quickly running down the A3s to create a large bunch, with the A1s in pursuit. A few moves came and went early on, with Barry Talt of Kilcullen and Orwell's Conor Murnane splitting the first three primes of the night between them.

A2s Bryan Keane (Lucan CRC) and Ronan Killeen (Aquablue) broke away with a bold move, one that seemed doomed given how much of the race was left at that point. But they committed fully, getting a 15sec gap on the bunch, and holding it well. Between them they divvied up the second three of the primes on offer.

Behind, the A1 chase was scrappy at best, and DID teammates Mark Dowling and James Davenport were the only pair to bridge to the bunch, with Dowling doing most of the work. The rest were left chasing until the final lap, when the gap to the bunch fell dramatically as panic ensued behind, and riders started to look at each other up front.

One rider who wasn't looking at anybody but the leaders was Jake Gray of NRPT With only a couple of laps to go, he made a magnificent effort to get across to Keane and Killeen, making it a trio to contest the sprint for the win.

It was Gray's momentum that got the better of Keane on the line, the Junior rider clearly showing his delight with his victory celebration.

Despite his young age, Gray has several notable results to his name, including a Belgian win last year, and most recently the Phoenix CC Crit in the Park. He is currently topping the CI national rankings for Junior riders, and came very close to winning the Lakeland Two Day overall earlier this year after taking two stages.

Keane and Killeen were unlucky not to make the top step, but did well to get on the podium, and were cheered on relentlessly by the large crowds throughout the race.

Gray takes the win with passion, with Keane in blue for 2nd, and Kileen just behind in 3rd (photo thanks to Ian Anderson)

Ex-Orwell Craig Arrigan was the next over the line to nab 4th for DID Dunboyne, getting the better of his breakaway partner Murt Rice (Sundrive). Bikeworx's Keith Hughes (Bikeworx) and Mehall Fitzgerald (Clonmel CC) were the last to cross the line ahead of the bunch for 6th and 7th. John Priest took the bunch gallop and the final placing.

The unplaced A2 prizes went to Fintan Ryan (DID Dunboyne) and another ex-Orwell, Darragh Long - now riding for UCD.

Promoting club Orwell Wheelers took both of the unplaced A3 prizes, thanks to two great rides from Bryan Geary and Fionn Sheridan.


Youth races (sponsored by Joe Daly cycles)

Under 12

1st, Lucy O'Donnell, Limerick CC;
2nd, Andrew Ryan, Orwell Wheelers;
3rd, William Doherty, St. Tiernans.

Under 14

1st, Will Ryan, Kanturk;
2nd, Padraic Doolan, Acorn RC;
3rd, Ryan Geraghty, Inspiration.

Under 16

1st, Liam Curley, SERC;
2nd, Declan Maloney, Kanturk;
3rd, Cian Keogh, SERC.


Stephen Roche GP (sponsored by Dundrum Credit Union)

1st, Jake Gray, Magnet;
2nd, Brian Keane, Aquablue;
3rd, Ronan Killeen, Lucan CRC;
4th, Craig Arrigan, DID Dunboyne;
5th, Murt Rice, Sundrive;
6th, Keith Hughes, Bikeworx;
7th, Mehall Fitzgerald, Clonmel CC;
8th, John Priest, Lucan CRC.

Unplaced A2:

1st, Fintan Ryan, DID Dunboyne;
2nd, Darragh Long, UCD.

Unplaced A3:

1st, Bryan Geary, Orwell;
2nd, Fionn Sheridan, Orwell. 


1: Barry Talt, Kilcullen;
2: Conor Murnane, Orwell;
3: Barry Talt, Kilcullen;
4: Brian Keane, Aquablue;
5: Ronan Kileen, Lucan CRC;
6: Brian Keane, Aquablue.


More photos at Ian Anderson's Flickr.


Stephen Roche GP 2015 from dancoulcher on Vimeo.