The June bank holiday marks the first long weekend of the summer, and this year marked the first edition of the Deenside Cup in Kilkenny. Ciara Kinch, Aideen Keenan, Rachael Kaye-Mellor and Bryan Geary all came away with prizes, while in the north-west of the country, an Orwell contingent was ripping up Glengesh, with a star turn from newly minted sprinter Fionn Sheridan.

The Orwell women were as active as ever in the fourth round of the Joe Daly’s Cycles Women’s National League in Kilkenny, with Margaret Donnelly and Sandra Telford initiating attacks and counter-attacks from the gun. Eight of the 27 signed on were from the club, and those not making the moves were able to sit in and rest their legs. When the break of the day went, it was the fresh and consistently strong pair of Ciara Kinch and Aideen Keenan who made the cut.

A four woman move, it also featured Anne Dalton (DID Electrical) and Michelle O’Halloran of Lakeside Wheelers. The number swelled briefly to six before it was reeled back in, and a whittled down bunch of 15 contested the sprint for the win.

The two Orwell members of the break were the ones that kept their momentum to the line, with Kinch taking a fine 5th, and Keenan nabbing a great 7th. Rachael Kaye-Mellor also repeated her success from Laois, taking home the Junior Prize.

In the A3 race, Bryan Geary came in behind a Wexford Wheelers pairing to earn 3rd and some petrol money for the trip home.

In Donegal, a powerful Orwell contingent of Aidan Collins, Diarmuid Collins, Odhrán Connors, Neal Hudson, Fionn Sheridan and Nick Watson were taking on the Rás Dhún na nGall, ably supported by Pat O'Brien and his girlfriend Eileen McLoughlin. Everyone survived Friday’s stage despite several crashes throughout, and the following morning the traditional ordeal of the hill climb TT stage hit everyone hard.

Sheridan’s legs obviously recovered well for the afternoon’s road stage - with a break of eight men (including the yellow jersey) gone up the road, the bunch were approaching the line fighting for 9th. In a near carbon copy of his final attack in Blessington at the end of the Gorey 3 Day, Sheridan launched himself off the front of the bunch. The difference was that this time he succeeded, getting far enough of the swift-moving peloton to be awarded an extra second for the GC competition.

He took the time yesterday to write this account:

Right, stage 3 - around 85kms of road, with a flat one nowhere in sight. With the TT having been in the morning, everyone who had lost time was eager to get into a break and hoping to make it to the final with an advantage. All of the lads had a go at some point and spent time up the road. With all this ambition the pace was nearly always high. There was constant attacking until a small group got up the road and the pace settled down for a few mins but then that too was caught, then the yellow got away with a few others and pulled out a small gap that eventually pulled out and sat at over a minute for most of the stage.

Odhrán, Diarmuid, Aidan and Neal all spent time in respective chase groups but ultimately nobody got across to what became the winning break. Coming back towards Ardara the pace was high on the rolling roads, the surface sometimes quite rough, but for the most part better than we had imagined. As we charged towards the final categorised climb of the day - 'only' a Cat 3 - I wasn't sure about how I was feeling about the finish. I hadn't had much in the way of food on the bike only having had time for an energy bar eaten over 15k with the pace having been tough.

With about 10kms to go I was feeling that if I was still in the mix coming to the sprint I'd definitely have a go. So naïvely sitting down the back, not really thinking about moving up for the finish, I found myself next to someone who was more cheerful than anyone should be that late in the race - the one and only Diarmuid. With no computer on my bike I was guessing as to how far was exactly left in the race so I asked him and he replied, "about five and a bit, thought you'd have a go for the sprint?", to which I replied, "ah sure I'll win it how hard can it be?" That really cracked him up!

So as we passed the 5km to go mark I put the visor down on my helmet and entered the 'sprinter mindset', moving up and fighting for wheels coming into the finish. As I began my moving up the road was completely packed and I found myself frequently with nowhere to go. Eventually as the pace picked up I was able to keep hopping up the pace line as the kms counted down. Coming into the last kilometre I was sitting in about 20th place when a group of about 10 attacked and got a gap and swung across to the right side of the road. I was able to jump after them and as they drove towards the line with about 350-400m to go the group started to slow down and after a quick look to my left and saw there was a gap between the group and another rider I thought to myself I'd easily get a bike through there, it's now or never I stamped on the pedals as hard as I could up the final kick before the 250m or so of the almost flat run-in and as I crossed the line I realised that with only a few up the road I had just sprinted to my first top 10 placing in an open race and a stage of Rás Dhún na nGall nonetheless!

As I turned around to head for the house and the car I saw Diarmuid and exclaimed 'I got the bunch gallop!' He cracked into a huge smile and congratulated me profusely. We headed back and met Pat who was ecstatic and congratulated me as well as we laughed, "that should bump us up the cavalcade!"

That extra second, combined with a fearsome battle up Glengesh, put the youngster into 3rd place in the U23 GC at the end of the weekend. While everyone put in strong rides to finish in the top half of the field on the final stage, Orwell's awarding of 3rd prize for team GC at the prize-giving was apparently incorrect. But there should be no doubt about Sheridan’s class, and his 3rd place among the espoirs is only an indication of things to come. Due to a mix-up in registering, Sheridan was not listed in the official classification, so the team's accidental GC prize was some consolation!

The suffering is evident on Sheridan's face as he ascends Glengesh (photo thanks to Jen Sheridan)


Rás Dhún na nGall, Ardara, Co. Donegal (30/5-1/6/2014)

Stage 1
1 Joseph Breheny (UCD) 1.13'21"
23 Neal Hudson s/t
33 Fionn Sheridan s/t
41 Aidan Collins s/t
62 Diarmuid Collins s/t
63 Nick Watson s/t
86 Odhrán Connors s/t

Stage 2 TT
1 Daire Feeley (SeeNG) 07'41.07"
51 Neal Hudson 8'57.90" @1'16"
57 Aidan Collins 9'00.08" @1'19"
62 Diarmuid Collins 9'01.87" @1'20"
63 Fionn Sheridan 9'02.14" @1'21"
79 Odhrán Connors 9'09.93" @1'28"
85 Nick Watson 9'12.46" @1'31"

GC after Stage 2
1 Daire Feeley (SeeNG) 1.21'02"
48 Neal Hudson @1'16"
54 Aidan Collins @1'19"
59 Diarmuid Collins @1'20"
60 Fionn Sheridan @1'21"
75 Odhrán Connors @1'28"
80 Nick Watson @1'31"

Stage 3
1 Paul Vaughan (Sportactive) 2.04'48"
9 Fionn Sheridan @26"
46 Neal Hudson @27"
71 Diarmuid Collins s/t
77 Odhrán Connors s/t
80 Aidan Collins s/t
91 Nick Watson @10'44"

GC after Stage 3
1 Daire Feeley (SeeNG) 3.25'53"
44 Neal Hudson @1'40"
48 Aidan Collins @1'43"
51 Fionn Sheridan @1'44"
53 Diarmuid Collins s/t
63 Odhrán Connors @1'52"
89 Nick Watson @12'12"

Stage 4
1 Gary Scully (Nenagh CC) 2.42'24"
16 Fionn Sheridan @25"
22 Neal Hudson @1'01"
40 Diarmuid Collins @1'36"
52 Odhrán Connors @1'46"
56 Aidan Collins @1'55"

Final GC
1 Daire Feeley (SeeNG) 6.08'46"
25 Fionn Sheridan @2'11"
26 Neal Hudson @2'12"
41 Diarmuid Collins @2'51"
48 Aidan Collins @3'09"
49 Odhrán Connors @3'09"

Final U23 GC
1 Michael McBride (The Belgian Project) 6h10’46″
2 Ryan Shaw (Ballymena) @08″
3 Fionn Sheridan (Orwell Wheelers) @11″


Deenside Cup, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny (1/6/2014)

A1 – A2 Race
1 Greg Swinand (UCD CC)
2 Damien Shaw (Aquablue CC)
3 Sean McKenna (UCD CC)
4 John Mason (DID Dunboyne CC)
5 Colm Cassidy (UCD CC)
6 Martin O’Loughlin (Iverk Produce Carrick Wheelers)
7 Javan Nulty (DID Dunboyne)
8 Andrew Stanley (trinity CC)
9 Derek Cunningham (Bray Wheelers)
10 Craig Sweetnam (Stamullen)

Unplaced A2s
Ken Tobin (McNally Swords CC)
Ronan Killeen (Lucan CRC)
John Dorris (Epic MTB)

A3 Race
1 Seamus Sinnott (Wexford Wheelers)
2 Anthony Harpur (Wexford Wheelers)
3 Bryan Geary (Orwell Wheelers)
4 John Hodge (Dungarvan)
5 Martin Caddow (St Tiernan’s)
6 Shem Cullen (Iverk produce Carrick Wheelers)
= 7 Keith Finn (Laois CC)
=7 Karl Stafford (WRH)

Unplaced Veteran
Gerry Byrne (Wexford Wheelers)

Unplaced Junior
Dermot White (Lucan CC)

A4 Race
1 Darragh Byrne (Bray Wheelers)
2 Graham Prendergast (Nenagh CC)
3 Iwan Harmsen (Dublin Wheelers)
4 Joe Ryan (Marble City Cyclers)
5 Matt Burke (Lakeside Wheelers)
6 Sean Moore (Barrow Wheelers) 

Joe Daly Cycles Women’s National League R4

1 Sarah Piner (DID Racing Team)
2 Amy Brice (Chainreaction)
3 Michelle O’Halloran (Lakeside Wheelers)
4 Francine Meehan (Aquablue CC)
5 Ciara Kinch (Orwell Wheelers)
6 Sonja O’Mahoney (Lakeside Wheelers)
7 Aideen Keenan (Orwell Wheelers)
8 Lisa Darley Ronan (Towers CC) Junior Prize
Rachael Kaye-Mellor (Orwell Wheelers)