After the juniors dominated last weekend, this time it was the turn of the A4s in the limelight! The weather was not kind to riders in any race, leaving them muddy and wet on Saturday, while Sunday was cold and windy in exposed sections. But the A4s proved themselves more than capable of rising to the challenge.

The Lucan GP took place in wet and windswept conditions on Saturday, doing laps of the Green Sheds course. The circuit will be familiar to anybody who has raced the inter-club league, and it was the A4 riders who have honed their skills in the league that were the most successful on the day.

The race ended in a bunch gallop, opened up by Ronan Foley, who was unlucky to be beaten to the chalk by Adamstown rider Michael Maher, but Foley held on for a fine second place. Also rubbing shoulders in the sprint was Paul Brosnan, who was hot on Foley's heels for fourth place. Close behind was Lucy Soden, well up in the sprinting group to grab the first woman title.

The A4 sprint - Foley with yellow/black sleeves, Brosnan partially hidden, Soden at far right

Muddy finishers

For all three riders, it was their first time in the prizes in an open race. The placings mean Foley and Brosnan could get their A3 upgrades with just one more good result. It's no surprise though, having been coached over the winter by ex-pro Scott McDonald, and the legendary Dave McLoughlin giving them tips and advice.

In the A3 race, ex-Orwell rider Seán McKenna (UCD) won by several bike lengths after a long solo effort. Darragh Long grabbed third place overall in his NRPT colours, coming in with the bunch. Michelle Geoghegan was the first woman home, riding unattached.

A3 finish
McKenna took the race well ahead of the sprint

More photos available on Facebook.

Despite the presence of a large contigent of club riders in Carlow on Sunday, all came away empty-handed. Near freezing temperatures combined with stiff cold winds to make this year's edition of the Des Hanlon one of the toughest, especially when remembering the sunburn some riders suffered last year.

Best of the Orwellians was Eric Downey in the A1/2 race, who finished a few seconds outside the prizes in a likely top 20 spot. Brian McArdle got in a break that stayed away until the 70km mark in the A3 race, and also came home in a top 20 place, but was distanced considerably by the finish line.

With the Easter weekend approaching, Orwell will have teams in the Rás Mumhan and the Gorey 3 Day, good luck to them all! There's also action in Laois on Sunday, with the first round of Joe Daly's Women's National League, and we hope to see Lucy Soden in the prizes yet again!

Lucan GP (A1/2)

1. Con Collis (UCD)
2 Craig Sweetman (Stamullen M Donnelly)
3 Paul Kennedy (Mcnally Swords)
4 David Walsh (Slaney CC)
5 Bryan McKinney (Duffin Transport)
6 Enda Connolly (Garda CC)

Unplaced A2

1 Sean Bracken (Usher IRC)
2 Keith Walls (Navan RC)

A3 Race

1 Sean McKenna (UCD)
2 Dave O Connor (Park Wheelers)
3 Darragh Long (NRPT)
4 Eoin O Donoghue (Limerick CC)
5 Ciaran Campbell (Drogheda Wheelers)
6 Aaron McBride (North Pole CC)
7 Richard McDonagh (Murphy Surveys)
8 Alan Brosnan (Dublin Wheelers)

Unplaced Junior

Darragh Campbell – Drogheda Wheelers

Unplaced Lady

Michelle Geoghegan

A4 Race

1 Michael Maher (Adamstown CC)
2 Ronan Foley (DTC Orwell Wheelers)
3 James McCusher (Orchard Shelbourne)
4 Paul Brosnan (DTC Orwell Wheelers)
5 Billy Purcell (Usher IRC)
6 Alan Andrews (Well Oiled Wheelers)
7 Stephen Kerr (Deenside Wheelers)
8 Paddy Delaney (Drogheda Wheelers)

Unplaced Lady

Lucy Soden (DTC Orwell Wheelers)