The 4th round of the Appleby Orwell Women's League saw good numbers sign on in Corkagh Park despite the weather. It was Wet Wet Wet! After the previous rounds Orla Hendron had the measure of the groups and testing handicaps were set. Reports on tonight's racing are thanks to John Hammer who was on hand with his camera and took time after to do a write up.....


On arrival at Corkagh Park last evening we were greeted by dark skies and the threat of a down pour and it delivered just as the B race in the Appleby Orwell Women's Crit League got underway. The race saw two youth riders from Navan RC start with a 30 second lead over the B group who in turn had a 30 second lead over the B+ sextet .

Zoe Shakespeare stretched a lead over her club mate Aoife Mooney in the now very wet conditions and she extended the advantage to 15 seconds on lap 2 however the B group were making steady progress on both the leaders as the B 's were working well together and it was not long before they had caught the two Navan RC youths .

The B+ group on the other hand were not working well together from the get go they seemed a little lack luster perhaps feeling the efforts of last weekend with Katie Reilly U/14 who raced in Scotland on the Velodrome and the Arcane pair of Hannah Tilly and Keela Mc Hale who raced in the Deenside Cup on Sunday. Emma Smith (Navan RC) seemed to shadow Reilly 's every move and the remaining two racers though seniors would have less race experience they being Aisling Ui Neil (Scott Orwell Wheelers) and Roisin Mc Daid (Moynalty CC).

The B group was made up of 11 riders Jennifer O'Sullivan (Irish Cycle Sport), Grainne Reidy (St Tiernans CC), Mary Maher & Anne-Marie Cooke (DWCC), Toni Byrne & Laura Mc Munn (Scott Orwell Wheelers), Marijke Beltman & Joanna Doran (Belpark), Hannah Alley (Naas CC), Finnoula (Donadea Wheelers) and Rachel Staunton U/A

Rachel Staunton and Laura Mc Munn drove the B group for much of the race in the very wet conditions their advantage was never below 30 seconds over the B+ group and on occasions exceed 45 seconds - this in itself tells that the less experienced B group were gelling well and keeping their pace constant while the B+ group were riding below par on the night possibly the very wet conditions contributed and tired legs from their weekend racing .

The B 's having established the constant gap over the B+'s never looked like being caught Staunton and Mc Munn having contributed much to the group looked in slight trouble in the now smaller group as they had shed some of the less experienced riders nearing the final laps Maijke Beltman took lead and looked strong off the front for a lap or so but as the race came down to a sprint finish it was a close fought battle between Staunton and Mc Munn with the U/A Staunton just shading the win from The Scott Orwell Wheelers Woman Mc Munn. Grainne Reidy (St Tiernans CC) took a close up third spot followed by Joanne Doran and Anne-Marie Cooke . Marijke Beltman placed 6th but showed plenty of ability more to come from her .

The B+ group Sprint was won by Emma Smith (Navan RC) who once again pipped Katie Reilly (Scott Orwell Wheelers) they finished 7th and 8th. Keela Mc Hale was seen putting efforts during the contest but for some reason on the night those efforts came up short .

There were some very encouraging performances from the following racers Jennifer O'Sullivan (Irish Cycle Sport) having her first ever race in Corkagh Park did very well coping well with the unfavourable conditions and with some practice of handling the bends her race craft will improve. I particularly liked that she persisted even her chance was gone .

Anne-Marie Cooke (Dublin Wheelers CC) rode a solid race and remained in contention throughout and has improved on last week's performance where she again caught the eye, I look forward to seeing her progress further over the summer.

Grainne Reidy (St Tiernans CC) has impressed me over the last couple of weeks and rode very well in the Deenside Cup in Castlecomer on Sunday great to see her reaping the rewards of her efforts on wards and upwards.


1. Rachel Staunton
2. Laura McMunn, Scott Orwell Wheelers
3. Grainne Reidy, St Tiernans
4. Joanna Doran, Belpark
5. Anne Marie Cooke, DWCC
6. Marijke Beltman, Belpark
7. Emma Smith, Navan Road Club
8. Katie Reilly, Scott Orwell Wheelers



The A race was spared from the earlier downpour but the track was still wet and slippery in places as some riders reported . The sun shone which was a welcome from the black sky for the earlier race . As stated this was the fourth round of the Appleby Orwell Women's Crit League .

The A group consisted of Aisling O'Connor (Scott Orwell Wheelers), Aileen Curran (Stamullan RC), Ava Power (Dungarvan CC), Helen Kelly and the returning to action Kate Earlie (St Tirenans CC), Danielle Travers (Dublin Wheelers CC) and Julieanne Byrne (LCRC). It was great to see Kate Earlie back in racing action in Corkagh Park herself and teammate Helen Kelly were to the fore early on into the race hoping to stretch clear but the gaps were closed by the up and coming junior Aoibhe Power and Aileen Curran so the group remained together. Aisling O'Connor also contributed to the workload as the pace was kept constant .

The A+ saw the 3 Sundrive Track Team Racers Sofie Loscher, Jennifer Neenan and Claire Ni Reachtagin who are now well established in the A+ group, Aideen Keenan (DWCC), Beata Golczak (U/A), Arron Fox and Orla Hendron (Scott Orwell Wheelers), The UCD Trio of Catherine Mahoney Orla Walsh and Emma Porter, Jennifer Bates (Bioracer DHL), Niamh Stephens (TC RACING) and Sinead Molloy (TCT).

All the while the A+ group, which had twelve of the top rated racers in it's midst, was powering along and eating into the lead of the A's with great riding from the Sundrive trio seen at the business end of the bunch more often than not. The time gap dropped from 40 seconds steadily through the 30's into the 20's and when the gap was a mere 9 seconds Aideen Keenan and Emma Porter made the move to jump across the dwindling gap the caught the A's and surged to the front but they were unable to break away and the race was now one big bunch .

As the race neared it's conclusion Orla Hendron (Scott Orwell Wheelers) went on her now almost expected Solo attack! The bunch stalled ever so slightly and it was the Junior rider Ava Power (DCC) who brought Hendron back the outcome was almost a carbon copy of last week as the winning move followed on from the Hendron attack and in the sprint it was Sofie Loscher who took the spoils by a length and a bit from Aideen Keenan and her attack partner Emma Porter a couple of lengths further back . Claire Ni Reachtagin filled 4th and Aisling O'Connor 5th . In 6th spot was Ava Power who put in an eye catching performance throughout the race and will be a force to be reckoned with in the coming months , Orla Walsh placed 7th on the night with Jennifer Neenan 8th .

A super night of racing enjoyed by some hardy souls who braved the rain .

So many positive actions witnessed last night I am looking forward to seeing the progress of all through the season ,both in Corkagh Park and all other racing venues .

Yours in Sport ,

John Hammer


1. Sofie Loscher, Sundrive
2. Aideen Keenan, DWCC
3. Emma Porter, UCD
4. Claire Ni Reachtagain, Sundrive
5. Aisling O’Connor, Scott Orwell Wheelers
6. Ava Power, Dungarvan
7. Orla Walsh, UCD
8. Jenny Neenan, Sundrive

All photos thanks to John Hammer