The youngsters got the jump on the adults this week when they started back for winter training in Corkagh Park as part of the newly restarted youth sessions. Read how they got on below!

There were faces old and new as the Orwell Youths began their 2015/16 season at the earlier than normal hour of 9:00 in Corkagh Park today. From newcomers like Jake Walsh, Emmett Quinn and Ronan Fanning to veterans of the youth scene, with the longest serving of them all being Uisneach Sheridan. Familiar adult faces Dave Mc and Jen Sheridan were on hand to welcome all back into the fold. Jen feeling perhaps a trifle weary having sailed on the 03:00 ferry from Holyhead to be with us.

Proceedings started with a few laps of group cycling to get warmed up and to see how much had been forgotten over the summer. Remarkably little it turned out as Alice O’Brien, Cathal Keogh and Lorcan Cattle showed the young ‘uns how it was done while Ruairi Byrne mixed it with the older group and surely has older brother Eoin Byrne in his sights. Ronan O’Connor - who interrupted his holidays in Westport to race in the national championships a few weeks ago - showed plenty of ability in setting the pace here.

After a brief break to catch the breath it was time for the race of truth, the 1 lap time trial. By the end of the season we hope that the group will look at their times today and be impressed at how much they have improved. One person though, newcomer Ronan Fanning, will have a hard job beating his time today as he set a storming pace that would have left many of his senior clubmates in his wake. While some of the vets have been known to sandbag their times in the TT to get a good group in the handicap today it looked like everyone was giving it full blast. Colm O’Shea on his new bike was another to set a good personal time.

Time for some light relief and a spot of 'follow the leader' on the grass kept everyone amused until Lorcan brought proceedings to a crashing halt, though nobody decided to follow him thankfully. Grass doesn't hurt just stain. Dave Mc used a similar incident later to point out the importance of bar plugs on your bike. I don’t think anyone listening will show up without them again.

On to the handicap race and long time club members will know of Dave Mc’s uncanny ability to handicap races and today was no exception. Almost every cyclist was in the home straight together, despite some doing up to a lap more than the others. By this time Charlie O’Shea had joined us and sister Daisy O'Shea, sporting a spiffing sling, was on hand to help with the CX being set up in the far corner. A thrilling finish up the last 200 metres saw Killian O’Brien take the chequered flag ahead of the fast finishing Emmett Quinn and the front of the semi scratch group led by Andrew Ryan.

We then decamped to the far corner where Stephen O’Shea and Robin Seymour were getting ready for the adults CycloCross (CX) training, Robin gave the youths a brief introduction to the sport and then set them off around the very technical wobbly course. Laughs aplenty even when one of the crew went off course. A valuable lesson learned.

We finished off with Ever Decreasing Circles (aka Sumo) with Andrew Ryan being last man standing but all getting the chance to improve their bike handling skills.

Time then just to mention that in addition to all the Youths at Corkagh today three of our juniors, Seán Murnane, Luke Keating and Eoin Byrne were taking part in the adult CX training and over the next few weeks the Juniors (16-18) will be getting some special attention from Dave which should make for a very productive winter for them.

We are back again at Corkagh Park next Sunday at the normal time of 10:00 when Valdis Andersons and Stephen O’Shea will take the session.

Robin Seymour gives the youth some tips (photo thanks to Valdis Andersons)