Donamon Race Report
A good turnout for Team Covey which saw brothers Patjoe and Keith O’Connell take 1st and 2nd respectively in the A4 race while Francis Sheridan took 3rd Placed Junior in the A3 race. While Michael Brady was the Lone Ranger in the A2/A1 race, Colm Staunton and Ger Corcoran tackled the A3 race with Robert Staunton and Francis Sheridan lining out for the Junior race which was run in conjunction with the A3’s. In the A4’s Ollie Whyte, Patjoe O’Connell, John Carter, Tommy Burke, Danny Buckley, Keith O’Connell and Noel Mulroy represented the Club with a great Team performance.
There were over 35 riders in the A4 race which was a 64k affair (4 laps of a 16k circuit). The race started and finished in Castlecoote. The course was relatively flat with a few little drags but nothing to hurt too much. The toughest of these came leading up to Creggs Church. Initially Danny Buckley took up the reins by leading the bunch around with few other clubs offering any assistance, this lead to a very controlled race. Generally Tommy B and Keith put in big digs on the drags with Ollie Whyte and Noel Mulroy leading out the charge on the flats.
From midway through the second lap there were plenty of lads willing to chance a break. Noel Mulroy managed to make a gap and stayed away for ½ a lap until the bunch decided it was time to reel him in on the start of the third lap. Not many other attacks were put in as nothing stuck as clubs realized that when someone attacked they were hung out for a 3-4 kilometres and then the Coveys instigated the catch.
On the third lap a lone Galway Bay rider managed to make a 30sec gap and the bunch left him out there. Just before the end of the lap Patjoe and Keith put in an attack to bridge across but the bunch showed their strength by upping the pace to close down the breakaway.
The pace was very pedestrian at this stage heading into the 4th Lap but the Creggs section was to change this in many ways. The pace ramped up going to Creggs but just before the village there was a very serious crash within the first 6 riders. Tommy B’s wheel was clipped when riders refused to come to the front, Ollie Whyte simply rode over the fallen riders bike but unfortunately burst his front tyre on the front chain ring. Having learnt from the local Covey League crash the Coveys piled on the pressure and drove up the road stretching out the bunch.
On the final lap John Carter decided to open up the race another notch and managed to breakaway with a Castlebar rider. As a result Shannonside and Galway Bay riders were left to chase them down, one of the very few times they came to the front. Tommy B having kept his powder dry for most of the race was brought to the front, hoping to achieve maximum points for his efforts but he got boxed in by the mass sprint which was stretched across the two sides of the road. Patjoe was tailing Sean O’Malley from Western Lakes who has been in massive form this season but on the final sprint Patjoe managed to create his own gap and piled on the power to ride away from the bunch in the last 50m for an emphatic 1st place. Meanwhile Keith on the opposite side of the road rode around the outside of the bunch to take 2nd on the day.
All in all a good solid performance by the squad with results to match. The focus now turns to the Mullingar 2 Day stage event on Sat 30th June and Sunday 1st July, which is the only Open Stage Race for A4’s in the Country.