Orwell secured a fine two-in-a-row when Isabel Cogan cruised to victory on Thursday night in the Leinster Hill Climb, happily keeping the title in the club. Aidan Collins also scored gold on the night in the A2 category, with bronze for Neal Hudson and Brian McArdle. And the final Corkagh Park race earlier in the week saw Rachael Kaye-Mellor clinch second place behind strongwoman Anne Dalton.

We'll start there, as Corkagh Park has been the scene for countless Orwell placings and prizes. This week was Rachael Kaye-Mellor's turn, the youngster having recently returned from some hard racing in the Junior Track World Champs in Glasgow. As a first year junior road cyclist it was always going to be a learning curve going from Sundrive's tarmac to the velodrome's 45° wooden banks. While she didn't make a podium, she will have taken away valuable lessons from the experience, and along the way she set a new Irish 500m junior girls' record!

While we're looking forward to seeing what she'll do in the future - she has been described as now 'hooked on track' - all eyes this week were on her sprinting in Corkagh Park when she challenged for the win. Ex-Orwell Anne Dalton (DID Electrical) turned the screws on a whittled-down bunch in the final phases of the race, with Kaye-Mellor best of the rest in second. Next week both will compete in the An Post Rás na mBan, and Kaye-Mellor can be confident in her capabilities after Tuesday's placing.

Monica Marconi on the hunt (courtesy Brendan Culleton)

The sprint to the line (courtesy Brendan Culleton)

This week was the final race, but the women's series of summer racing in Corkagh Park, including skills sessions like team time trialling with Orwell's Paddy Doran, has been a massive success this year. It's a timely indication of how the women's cycling scene in Ireland is going from strength to strength, and the collaborative spirit of the organising clubs is truly admirable and inspirational. In no particular order, the efforts of the following clubs should be recognised and appreciated: Orwell, Naas CC, Adamstown CT, Lucan CRC, 3D Tri, DID Electrical RT, Lakeside Wheelers, Bray Wheelers, MadMTB and Bespoke Cycles, Sundrive and UCD CC. We hope the event and all involved will be back next year!

Two days later on Thursday, another Orwellian woman notched up a remarkable victory - Isabel Cogan blasted up Jenkinstown Hill near Carlingford to seize the title of Leinster Hill Climb Champion! Out of a sizeable start list of 14 women, Cogan was fastest up in six minutes flat. That eclipsed Rachel Glendon's winning time last year, when she took the overall in 6'14", though she was not present to defend the title this year after her exertions last Sunday.

Cogan has been building steadily throughout the season - from her Boyne GP victory to her National Champs top ten finish, and overall victory in the club champs road race. The provincial title will surely be a shot in the arm to her hopes of securing a decent result on the Leinster team in the imminent Rás na mBan, especially around the hilly roads of county Clare. The combination of her road racing experience and her obvious talent and form will be an immense credit to Cogan, and we can't wait to witness her performance next week.

After that, her thoughts might turn to the National Hill Climb Champs in Tralee in October, but plenty of time for considering that after the Rás.

The other gold medallist from the club was Aidan Collins, the only entrant in the A2 category. Before the event, Collins spoke of his fears of crashing - the only thing that stood between him and his seemingly inevitable triumph. In the end, he wasn't the only one to go home with an A2 medal, as Brian McArdle received that as a result of his joint 3rd place in the A1 category. That's a repeat of last year's placing, but two categories higher for the Glengesh winner.

McArdle and David Wherity (Stamullen RC) tied on 4'43", with silver going to local man Ray O'Shaugnessy only a second ahead. Overall winner James Davenport (SDCC) was a mere 7" in front.

Things were even tighter for the A3s, with the podium being spread across only 5". Neal Hudson rode an excellent 5'10" to grab bronze behind gold medallist ex-Swords man Kevin Donagher, who rode the Rás with Orwell in 2007. Hudson had already shown his flying form with a strong 4th in the club hill climb (behind three A1 riders), and can end his season on a note of satisfaction.

Defending men's champ Brian Ahern made an appearance, despite a belief that his current fitness would see him relinquish the title. He was first off of the A1s on the night, and actually managed to knock a few seconds off his winning time from last year. However there were faster times this year, and Ahern finished 6th - a result with which he was disappointed, but we reckon he'll be back again next year. Peter Gerrard and David Swift also produced respectable times to finish in the top 20 of a field that included several A1s, and one single, solitary, gold medal-winning A2.

Cogan with 2nd placed Ger Gill, and 3rd Claire McEntee (courtesy Cuchulainn CC)

Collins cuts a lonely figure on the A2 podium (courtesy Cuchulainn CC)

We had two events of significance on the track this week, both taking place at Sundrive Road. Firstly, the Autumn League finished up, with our own Fionn Sheridan rolling away with the first Junior prize. Sheridan was 10th overall, a great result in itself, but the fact that he was the top placed Junior is verification of his abilities and form. His sister Naoise Sheridan won a second woman prize, finishing well up in the C group, while the youngest Sheridan in action was recognised with a special prize for his sheer indomitability. Uisneach Sheridan's grit and determination every week should be a lesson to any senior riders who think racing is just about results.

Two of our other younger members also had solid performances over the course of the league. Conor Murnane was 5th overall in the C group, and brother Sean Murnane was also in the top half, just ahead of Jack Rice. All thre have been improving every week on the track, and we expect them to be raking in the placings next year. For comparison, each of the three ended the league with more points than any other Orwell senior entrant!

As the season comes to a close, it's probably an appropriate time for all of the youth or junior riders, and indeed the whole club, to say a huge thank you to the parents who support them week in, week out. Soigneurs, managers, mechanics, coaches, chauffeurs, cheerleaders - on the track or on the road, the parents have done it all! Chapeau to their tireless efforts, and for helping the club to be so well represented in the youth arena.

Though she's been focussing more on the road this season, Orla Hendron showed her track class is never too far away at the National Track Champs at the weekend. She took 5th in the pursuit, as well as 6th in the sprint.

On the leisure side, Garret Connolly's informal Da Beast event attracted 15 riders, while a sizeable contingent of Orwell riders headed south for the Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford. You can read about Billy Parker's exploits here.

Last, but not least, one of our members has been active in Spain in a little race known as La Vuelta a Espana. After a superb stage win last week to take the points, mountains and combined jerseys, Nicolas Roche went one further on Saturday's eighth stage to Alto Peñas Blancas and took the overall leader's red jersey, becoming the first Irishman to wear it - or indeed any grand tour leader's jersey - since Sean Kelly won the Vuelta in 1988.

Though he lost it the following day by a single second, it was truly inspirational to see how well Orwell riders can do in the professional scene. Roche started as a member of Orwell as an U14 rider, but back then he says he "was dropped in almost every race". He's come a long way since then, and was presented with a lifetime membership of the club after riding the Tour de France in 2009. We wish him continued success in La Vuelta, and the Worlds!

A young Nicolas Roche (left) with another Orwell legend (courtesy Declan Quigley)

Corkagh Park Ladies Racing - R12

A race
1 Anne Dalton (DID Electrical)
2 Rachael Kaye-Mellor (DTC Orwell Wheelers)
3 Roisin Kennedy (Adamstown Cycling Team)

B race
Nicole Evans (SERC)

2013 Leinster Hill Climb Championship

Women’s Leinster Championship
1 Isabel Cogan (DTC Orwell Wheelers) 06:00
2 Geraldine Gill (Bohermeen) 06:13
3 Claire McEntee (base2race/Bray Wheelers) 06:14

A1 Leinster Championship
1 James Davenport (South Dublin CC) 04:35
2 Raymond O’Shaughnessy (Cuchulainn CC) 04:42
=3 Brian McArdle (DTC Orwell Wheelers) 04:43
=3 David Wherity (Stamullen RC) 04:43

A2 Leinster Championship
1 Aidan Collins (DTC Orwell Wheelers) 05:20

A3 Leinster Championship
1 Kevin Donagher (u/a)05:05
2 Paul O’Reilly (Fixx Roleurs) 05:07
3 Neal Hudson (DTC Orwell Wheelers) 05:10

Veteran’s Leinster Championship
1 Phil O’Flaherty (Swords CC) 05:33
2 Paul English (Bohermeen CC) 05:43
3 Johnny McCabe (Cuchulainn CC) 06:04

Junior Leinster Championship
1 Aimhirghin O’Brannagain (Cuchulainn CC) 05:53
2 Nathan McGreehan (Cuchulainn CC) 06:14
3 Ultan Stokes (Cuchulainn CC) 06:26

All times available at cuchulainncc.com.

Sundrive Autumn league results are available at cyclingireland.ie.

Track champs results available at trackcycling.ie.