On a damp and dismal day in Dundalk, Monica Marconi netted herself a great third place in the women's race at the Trader's Cup.

The second race of the season took place while gale-force winds hit parts of the country, but in Dundalk the competitors also had to contend with persistent rainfall in addition to the strong breezes. It did nothing to dampen Cúchulainn CC's spirits though, with plenty of marshalls and a fine feed following the race.

The handicapped A1-3 and the A4 events were let off first, but the biggest Orwell presence was in the women's bunch. Of a total of about twenty riders, four Orwell females braved the conditions to sign up for the first dedicated women's race of 2014.

The race was off from the gun, as Eve McCrystal (Garda CC) attacked into the headwind and broke away solo, time trialling her way to an eventual victory.

About 10km in to the 40km affair, Monica Marconi and ex-Orwellian Anne Dalton (DID Electrical) made a bold effort to catch McCrystal, and jumped away from the bunch. They paired up to stay away to the close, with Dalton getting the jump on her former clubmate in the lead-in to the line.

Marconi has made the breakaway her own in recent years, consistently earning good results by leaving the bunch behind – most notably in Kilmessan last August, when she triumphed in a solo break.

Back in a dwindling bunch, the Orwell crew of Clare McEntee and open racing débutante Ann Horan disrupted the chase under the watchful eye of road captain Mags Donnelly, leading to a gallop for 4th. Donnelly was hot on the heels of Marie Gorman (Navan) to take 5th, with Horan in 8th and McEntee 10th. That means all the Orwell women finished in the top ten, a promising sign for the coming season.

Marconi accepting her prize

After her placing, Marconi had a second reason to celebrate when the winners of the men's race came across the chalk. In a similar fashion to his sister, Brian McCrystal (Aquablue) tore away from the A1 group and powered his way past the A2 and A3 bunches to reach the lead group of six A3 riders. When his strong riding began to disrupt the rhythm of the break, he once more accelerated away. Only one rider managed to hold his wheel – Marconi's partner Oriol Carbo (Henry J Lyons).

Carbo gained enough of a lead from sheltering behind McCrystal to earn 2nd place, crossing the finish line solo. The remnants of the break came across together, with that small sprint being won for St. Tiernan's by Martin Caddow, formerly of Orwell.

Next weekend the action is in Dunboyne for the Mick Lally and Ian Gallagher Memorials, Navan for the Cycleways Cup, where hopefully the weather will be a bit kinder, and we'll have plenty more Orwell results to report!


Trader’s Cup, Dundalk (23/2/2014)

A1/A2/A3 Race
1 Bryan McCrystal (Aquablue)
2 Oriol Carbo (Henry J Lyons)
3 Martin Caddow (St Tiernans)
4 John Walsh (Carlow)
5 Martin Doyle (South East RC)
6 Mickey Price (Shannonside)

A1 Prize
Chris Reilly (Liquidworx-Fitscience)

A2 Prize
Stephen Byrne (Irish Road Club)

A3 Prize
Barry Convey (Newry Wheelers)

Club Prize
Karl Dolan

Women’s Race
1 Eve McCrystal (Garda CC)
2 Ann Dalton (DID Racing Team)
3 Monica Marconi (Orwell Wheelers)
4 Marie Gorman (Navan RC)
5 Margaret Donnelly (Orwell Wheelers)
6 Sarah Gunn (Sundrive TT)
7 Fiona Rogers (Cúchulainn CC)
8 Ann Horan (Orwell Wheelers)
9 Roisin Kennedy (Adamstown RC)
10 Clare McEntee (Orwell Wheelers)

Club Prize
Fiona Rogers

A4 Race
1 Michael Stafford (Wexford Wheelers)
2 Gavin Duffy (Clontarf CC)
3 Stephen Carry (Cuchulainn CC)
4 Matt McCullough (u/a)
5 Emmett McGinley (Clougher Valley Wheelers)
6 Philip McCoubrey (Island Wheelers)

Club Prize
Gary Morton