The June bank holiday saw Orwell riders in action both on the track and on the road, in racing and leisure, with two standout performances in Isabel Cogan's excellent victory at the Boyne GP, and Brian McArdle's superb stage win in the Rás Dhún na nGall. Plenty of other Orwell riders scooped prizes, most notably Orla Hendron who was second overall at the Duane Delaney GP.

The weekend's racing started in Donegal on Friday - a warm dry evening giving plenty of temptation for riders to sit back and enjoy some pleasant racing. Olympian triathlete Gavin Noble (Lakelands CC) wasn't for hanging around though - he set a ferocious pace throughout most of the weekend, resulting in constant 50kmph line-outs.

The Orwell contingent of Brian McArdle, Neal Hudson and Patrick O'Brien mingled in the bunch for the most part, saving their legs for Sunday. O'Brien was first in action that afternoon, sent up the road to get into the move of the day. This allowed McArdle and Hudson to sit in, though neither was far from the pointy end of the bunch at any time.

As the race neared Ardara, McArdle sensed an opportunity and jumped along with UCD's Sean McKenna, formerly of this parish. The pair chased hard to catch another two-man break, but it was only when the yellow jersey holder Mark Downey (Cycling Ulster) and Noble (then #2 on GC) bridged that McArdle made it to the lead group. Then it was all aboard the Noble express, assisted when possible by O'Brien amongst others, though the Olympian's huge speed meant few could match his driving force.

At the bottom of Glengesh, McArdle jumped away after local man Cormac Keeney (Errigal), hoping his climbing ability would be enough to get him to the line while the top GC men hesitated, watching each other. He dug deep to solo to the finish with 11" to spare, triumphant, before falling unceremoniously into the ditch. His finish was enough to propel him into 5th place on GC, from 29th.

Hudson pushed hard to finish an excellent 16th on the stage after marking the moves in the latter half of the stage, while O'Brien fought a rear derailleur issue to limit his losses. Overall they finished 20th and 47th respectively. Solid performances from each, and one that Hudson should be especially happy with as 7th A3 finisher. Such were their magnificent efforts that DTC Orwell Wheelers overtook Western Lakes to finish third place on the team GC - a placing made all the more impressive by the fact that Orwell had only the minimum three riders.

The long overdue maiden win marked McArdle's first race as an A2, having slipped up from A3 after a fifth spot at the Dunsany GP in May. Based on the final GC, he was 2" away from earning an upgrade to an A1 licence on his A2 debut, but he is content to wallow in the A2 category for a while longer. With the Rás in his sights for next year, he'll be selecting his races carefully over the summer, with his next port of call likely to be the Newry 3 Day.

McArdle crossing the line on Glengesh (courtesy of Dean Cullen)

On Sunday, the women of Orwell took the lion's share of the results at the Boyne GP. Indeed, such was the turnout and the quality of the riders representing the club that four of the six placings went to Orwell, nearly a clean sweep!

The first attack of note came from Monica Marconi, who was only reeled in after she'd completed half a lap on her own. Around the halfway mark, Bronagh Rogers (LCRC) then clipped away, and Isabel Cogan and Lucy Soden repeated their recent club league tactics, bridging across to create a three-woman break.

However, while last Thursday a rider from the bunch came past the break to take the win, this time the trio kept the chasers at bay all the way to the close. There Cogan broke away on the final drag to snatch a glorious maiden open win, hands aloft in celebration. Rogers took second, while Lucy Soden replicated her Thursday night spot, again grabbing a fine third.

Orla Hendron must be singled out for taking second in the bunch sprint, the day after her trojan efforts on the track. She took fifth place while leading out U16 Champ Rachel Kaye-Mellor, who had also been in action at Sundrive, but completed the hefty Orwell haul with her sixth spot.

Cogan's win was a well-deserved one, but no surprise to anyone who's followed her progress through the competitive ranks of women's cycling. Starting in 2012 with the Wheelworx Orwell Ladies Crit League, she topped the B division and took a win on the way. This year she fought it out in the A division, placing in the top ten nearly every race, showing remarkable consistency. She finished 7th overall in the final standings, a proud result for the sophomore, especially considering her rivals include a World Champ and a National Champ!

She's building her form ahead of September's Rás na mBan in Co Clare. She claims to only be targetting a solid performance, but we think she'll surprise herself with a glittering result. Watch this space!

Cogan pictured with the winners of the other events: Paul Coffey, Aaron Buggle and Ben Delaney (courtesy of Marie Byrne)

For the menfolk, Diarmuid Collins picked up the second unplaced A2 prize with his Rás-hardened legs. He was again facing off against professional Rapha Condor rider Aaron Buggle, who won the A1/A2 event.

The A4s were also successful, with three men in the top ten. Thursday night's league winner Jules Cantwell was boxed in for the sprint, managing only to snag tenth, while Paul Brosnan grabbed 7th, and John Twomey nipped in to grab the last of the prizes in 8th. Twomey is now only two points away from his A3 upgrade, and Brosnan only three. We reckon they'll get those remaining points before the end of the month.

Back to the Orwell women for Saturday's track action, the Duane Delaney GP. Hugh Byrne organised a unique event at the Sundrive track, using a points system that allowed riders of varying abilities to compete on a level playing field across a variety of racing formats.

Top finisher for the club was World Masters Champion Orla Hendron, who narrowly lost out on the top spot to an in-form Susie Mitchell (Sundrive) by a mere two points. Hendron won the final points race, took second in the 200m TT, and third in the 500m TT. She placed highly in every other event, but was pipped by Mitchell for the overall.

As well as taking second place overall for the day, she brought home the second woman prize. Combined with her Sunday placing, and her recent silver in the Orwell Wheelworx crit league, it's clear that Hendron is carrying some impressive form, and we'll be seeing a win from her soon no doubt.

Hendron leading Mitchell (courtesy of Paddy Troy, Adamstown CT)

Also in action were Fionn Sheridan and Rachel Kaye-Mellor, the two juniors pushing hard to take points in nearly all events.

The Orwell junior star of the day though, was standing just below Hendron on the women's podium - Naoise Sheridan. She earned the third woman prize with a stunning second place in the 500m TT against both junior and senior riders. She also placed third in the Scratch, the Kilo, and the 200m TT events, a sure sign that Sheridan is a rider to watch for the future. With Hendron on hand with advice, she could soon be unstoppable on the track!

The women's podium - Mitchell, Hendron (not pictured), and Sheridan, with Anthony Moran (courtesy of Paddy Troy, Adamstown CT)


On the leisure scene, last week we missed out the Tour de Connemara, which was a wet outing, but the Orwell participants reported that it was a great day out nonetheless. A headwind and some made the first leg a tough one, but after a foodstop things were easier. Barring one minor crash, everyone got home in reasonable shape.

The Badger came out of his hole and was spotted skulking around Clifden at the start line, but rumour had it that he mysteriously found his way back in Cliften a few hours later. Either he's still a Tour contender or some mechanised vehicle was used!

Some of the TdC finishers celebrate (courtesy of John Twomey)


For the bank holiday, a horde of 11 club members descended upon Kerry to partake in the Kingdom Alliance Sportive, a three day affair covering nearly 500km around the mountainous terrain of the south-west. While the weather luckily stayed dry the entire weekend, a strong wind made Saturday a tough day.

The Orwell crew battled through each day together, and many compliments were paid on heir teamwork and generosity in pulling along many strays throughout the weekend. That club spirit helped Nicole Bork to clock the fastest time in her category and coming away with a winner's jersey for her efforts.

Day one of the Kingdom Alliance Sportive (courtesy of Sinéad Kennedy)

Atop Conor's Pass (courtesy of Sinéad Kennedy)

This one's got the whole gang!
Standing (L-R): Sinéad Kennedy, Celeste Marin, Louise Nicholls, Sarah Buckley, Nicole Bork, Kathryn Keogh, Diane Crean
Seated (L-R): David Maher, Gertrude Fitzpatrick, Siobhan Moloney, Diarmuid Donnelly
(courtesy of Diarmuid Donnelly)


Rás Dhún na nGall
Stage 4

1 McArdle, Brian DTC Orwell Wheelers 2h41'12"
2 Downey, Mark Cycling Ulster @11"
3 Noble, Gavin Lakeland B @24"
16 Hudson, Neal DTC Orwell Wheelers @01'17"
50 O'Brien, Patrick DTC Orwell Wheelers @02'35"
59 McKenna, Sean UCD @03'36"
64 Long, Darragh NRPT @04'49"

Final General Classification

1 Downey, Mark Cycling Ulster 6h11'10"
2 Noble, Gavin Lakeland B @16"
3 Stanley, Andrew DUCC @48"
5 McArdle, Brian DTC Orwell Wheelers @01'04"
20 Hudson,Neal DTC Orwell Wheelers @02'27"
47 O'Brien, Patrick DTC Orwell Wheelers @04'11"
63 McKenna, Sean UCD @12'54"
66 Long, Darragh NRPT @14'24"

Team General Classification

1 Cycling Ulster 18h38'30"
2 Phoenix CC A @19"
3 DTC Orwell Wheelers @02'42"

Mountains Competition

1 McCauley, C 14 points
5 McArdle, B 8
10 O'Brien, P 4

U/23 Overall

1 Stanley, A DUCC 6h11'58"
3 McKenna, S UCD @12'06"

Full results available at


Boyne GP - Women’s Race

1 Isabel Cogan (DTC Orwell Wheelers)
2 Brona Rogers (Lucan CRC)
3 Lucy Soden (DTC Orwell Wheelers)
4 Emily Birchall (U/A)
5 Orla Hendron (DTC Orwell Wheelers)
6 Rachel Kaye Mellor (DTC Orwell Wheelers)


A1/A2 Race

1 Aaron Buggle (Rapha Condor)
2 Stephen Halpin (Polygon Sweet Nice)
3 Eoin Morton (UCD)
4 Javan Nulty (DID Dunboyne)
5 Tony Brady (Franco Racing)
6 Alasdair Mc Auley (Phoenix)
7 David Peelo (Murphy Surveyors Kilcullen)
8 Daniel Kirwan (Lucan CRC)

Unplaced A2s

1 Shaun Rigley (South Dublin CC)
2 Diarmuid Collins (DTC Orwell Wheelers)
3 John Dorris (EPIC)


A3 Race

1 Ben Delaney (Wexford Wheelers)
2 Fintan Ryan (NRPT)
3 Michael Aherne (Dungarvan CC)
4 Luke Maguire (Wexford Wheelers)
5 Adam Swirydowicz (Swords CC)
6 Ciaran Campbell (Drogheda Wheelers)
7 Shane Foley (Carlow)
8 Colm Mc Garvey (EPIC)

Unplaced Juniors

1 Daire Feeley (Donamon Dynamos)
2 Ben Dunne (Tullamore)
3 Daragh Campbell (Drogheda Wheelers)


A4 Race

1 Paul Coffey (Blanch Wheelies)
2 Stephen Mc Govern (Navan RC)
3 Simon Gerrard (U/A)
4 Ciaran Handley (Swords CC)
5 Dermot Cooney (DUCC)
6 Paul Mc Kenna (Murphy Surv Kilcullen)
7 Paul Brosnan (DTC Orwell Wheelers)
8 John Twomey (DTC Orwell Wheelers)


Kingdom Alliance Sportive

Times and results available at