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Group 4 Race Report by Eamon Daly

The group four race started off into the headwind with the experienced riders Ray and Anthony organising things and everyone in the group taking a turn at the front with the consequence that the group was controlled and rolled around at a good pace. The group stayed together all the way to Louisburgh with nobody attempting any attacks into the strong headwind. With the tailwind from Louisburgh the pace picked up but without anyone attempting any serious attacks. Martin Walmsley was the first to make a move picking up the pace in the vicinity of Bertra. Martin put in a big pull at the front with the result that the group split with seven or eight riders seven getting away. I decided to make a move in the vicinity of Gannons garage and after opening a small gap there was no option but to give it everything to increase the gap and hopefully have enough to hold on to the finish. Ray rode a great race tactically and finished second. Martin and Joe had a great battle to the finish with Martin just shading it and Noel Kelly finishing just behind.

1st Eamon Daly
2nd Ray Staunton
3rd Martin Walmsley
4th Joe O Toole
5th Noel Kelly

Group 3 Race Report by Reg Cowie

This was a baptism of fire for my first road race. I had imagined it was going to be like a club spin with a sprint at the end! I was in for a shock. The pace from the whistle was lively, as 5 covey jerseys went off the front before the reek was even in sight. Fortunately, this group slowed and things settled down as we passed through Murrisk with James, Eoghan, Padraic, Colin and plenty more taking good stints at the front to break the head winds.
Its very different to the Sunday Cycles I’m used to, with attacks coming thick and fast, then the pace slowing down, its hard to get into a rhythm.

There was no let up in the wind between Lecanvey and the Louisburhg loop, but instead of slowing the group, the pace was being cranked up bit by bit.

Leaving Louisburgh the pace hit the 40kph mark and everyone was strung out in single file, with Padraic doing a lot of the work at the front. Wanting to help out, I took over at the front and pushed on for a couple of kilometers, everyone tight to each others wheel. Having done my turn and slowing the pace slightly, i hoped someone would take over. No one took the hint so i was left setting the pace. About 2k before Lecanvey i was still pushing at the front. Partly due to inexperience and not knowing how far we still had to go, i went for a really early break, and to my surprise I got away!

I hoped to stay ahead for a few minutes before being engulfed by the chasing pack, but confusion about who would bridge the gap meant the challenge didn’t come. I couldn’t bring myself to look back to see if i had much of a gap so just kept pushing. When I saw the Reek car park come and go I realised i might just have a chance at the win.

With 2km to go and not sure of where the finish line was, i heard shouting behind and knew the pack was closing in. James Fitzsimons bridged the gap and set the pace to the bottom of the last hill. In fairness to James he roared at me to get up the hill, and not knowing where the energy came from, I pushed on to cross the line for a win in my first Road Race. Its a sweet feeling! Bloody knackered now though!
Credit goes to Sean, Theo, James and Eoghan who pushed it right to the wire and would have finished ahead if it was another 100m longer!

Group 3 Race Report by James Fitzsimons
The first race of the covey league took place on Wednesday 9th in somewhat mixed conditions. Group 3 consisted of a mix of riders based on their recent time trial results. However we all know that time trial results can be somewhat misleading when it comes to racing. Initially listed were 13 riders but on the night I believe about 18 started in the group. Some of the more experienced racers in the group were Simon Moran, Martin Nee, Theo Ingram, Keith Hastings, Padraig Gannon, Joe Brown, Colette Sweeney and myself to name but a few. Some others in the group had not raced previously at all and still others were unsure of what might happen and when would the race actually really start would it be from the beginning, from Louisburgh, Gannons garage or what! For my own part, I had one thought in mind – race hard and attack, attack and attack even more to try and make sure that only a small number of us approached the finish line together, that was assuming that I was able to do that. In the end myself and Simon Moran were up at the front for the start of the race. On the whistle we headed off from the Skate park into a stiff westerly breeze and I let rip from the very beginning, knowing full well that it might stretch some riders in the group. On starting the drag just after the skate park I had to immediately start dropping the pace as the breeze at the front was horrendous however it was still nevertheless quite a brisk pace. On reaching the top of the drag, I eased off somewhat and let the group pass and settle into a rotation. As we were going down the hill the pace immediately picked up and the group was moving very nicely indeed – I’d say about 35Km/hr or thereabouts. As the leaders changed every minute or so the group began slowing down as the less experienced and able riders ended up at the front. By Belclare and about 2/3 of the way towards the back of the group I had had enough of the leisurely pace and I launched my next attack opening up a gap of 20m or so. I held on for a while to see if anyone would join me and soon the group came up led by Joe Brown. We continued for 5 minutes or so with the entire group hanging in behind the first 5 or six rotating riders. The riders I noticed at the front at this point were Padraic Furlong, Sean O’Boyle, Tony Fitzgerald, Keith Hastings, Joe Brown and myself with apologies to anyone I’ve omitted. We all knew that we wouldn’t be able to sustain this pace for the whole race and at same time we couldn’t get away from everyone else, consequently we settled back into another slightly slower rotation. I dropped back into the middle of the group to get a little shelter and recover from my effort. On recovery, I again found the pace too pedestrian for my liking and launched another attach easing off a bit as soon as I noticed that I was again isolated at the front. I led the race out on through Murrisk and up the drag towards Croke Patrick car park driving as hard as I could while at the same time not blowing up completely and also somewhat surprised to see that the group was still there right behind me. At this stage I guessed everyone knew they were in a race and it was not going to be easy. I attacked, dropped back in to recover and then attacked again all the way into Louisburgh. Pardaric Furlong, Sean O’Boyle and Keith Hastings did Trojan work always driving on at the front as well. Coming out of Louisburgh the pace quickened a little as you’d expect and Reg ??? now appeared at the front and drove the pace on. I always kept in touch within the first 1/3 of the group as I had been advised to do by Colin Brown many years ago, 4 in fact. Shortly after, Reg really ramped up the pace and broke free- I held on to his wheel for as long as I could, finally accepting that I couldn’t hold him any longer. I now decided to ease off and recover while allowing the lead group behind to catch up. Soon Padraic Furlong, Sean O’Boyle and Eoin Carr were on me with the remainder in a bunch just behind them.
Sean and Padraic were now urging everyone in the group to help and chase down Reg as we could see that he had quite a substantial lead on us. Unfortunately no one in the chasing pack was prepared to come to the front and help chase, I also urged everyone to give chase but again we had no takers. I must say I was prepared to settle in and stay with this group to the finish, however Sean O’Boyle said to hell with it he’d chase him himself, I of course thought that impossible so immediately decided to go with him. 3 of us that I could see were now chasing down Reg, Padraic Furlong, Sean O’ Boyle and myself and amazingly another bunch of riders hanging on to our wheels.
Sean was leading the charge coming past Killadangan but was now tiring from his efforts, I knew we had to keep the pace up if we were to catch Reg – the problem was if we slowed down the whole group slowed down so I came alongside Sean, suggested he hang on to my wheel and we’d make another burst to try and drop the non-workers, sound he said, I dropped two gears, got out of the saddle and laid on the power surging forward on my new go faster wheels – which really made a difference when it came to accelerating ( entry level Krysiums). I raced up the road towards Reg, seeing the gap closing and hoping that there were a couple with me, now glancing behind noticed that I was on my own again. At this point and approaching the finish I had no option but to drive on and try and catch Reg and finally with tongue hanging out, lungs gasping and heart rate near 100% I got on to Regs, wheel but only just able to hang on and hope I could recover enough in time for the finish without the bunch catching us. I knew we were slowing and a quick glance back told me that the group were bearing down on us relentlessly. At this stage we were coming around the curve in the road before the final straight, Reg screamed back to know where the finish was, I told him as I could see the van and other riders on top of the hill but also knew we were slowing too much. Having recovered yet again somewhat from my efforts, I was determined that the points would not go to anyone who had not worked so I screamed at Reg to pull out and let me through and I’d lead him in to the final sprint on the hill, knowing well that I’d be easily outsprinted on the hill if the chasing group caught us. He pulled over, I pressed on my pedals with as much pressure as I dared to and tore towards the final drag. Just commencing the climb I felt my legs leaking, looked to my right and Reg flew by powering on up the hill, now half way up, I got out of the saddle for the final effort and drove on as hard as I could, approaching the finish line I heard Sean O’Boyle out to my right roaring himself on and he passed with bike length to spare on the line and almost immediately behind him was Theo- I think I was able to hang on for third place.
All in all a fantastic race and well done to all competitors and thanks to all the marshalls and helpers.

1st Reg Cowie
2nd Sean O’Boyle
3rd James Fitzsimons
4th Theo Ingham

Group 2 Race Report by Aaron Doherty

On a nice fresh evening for racing with a stiff breeze in our faces going out,the race started not too fast but not too slow either. A few small jumps were made by Michael Needham and Colin Browne but nothing came of them. All the group stayed tight on the way out until we got to the motor-shop on the back-road into Louisburgh. Myself, Ben Walsh, and Eoghan Mc Laughlin tried to break away but Michael Needham and Colin Browne were still there when I looked back. I decided to go again after I got through Louisburgh and looked back once more and realized their was nobody on my wheel so I decided to give it my all and see where that got me. On the homeward journey I managed to pull out a cushy lead on the rest of the group which I was able to hold to the finish line. A good evenings racing was had by all.

1st Aaron Doherty
2nd Eoin McLoughlin
3rd Michael Needha,
4th John Lenehan
5th Ben Walsh

Group 1 Race Report by Richard Meaney

A nice bright Wednesday evening greeted us for the first road race of the club league, but the stiff headwind on the way out to Louisburgh and the group of 10 strong riders was always going to make the racing tough and interesting.
So it proved as Keith attacked from the drop of the flag with form man Ger (after his recent great win in the Tour of Connacht) pinging off to join him. I decided to get into the spirit of things and go after them, I thought the three of us had a decent gap at the top of the very first drag but the rest of the fresh bunch were back on us in no time. James and Keith had another good go before Gannon’s garage and immediately pulled out a big advantage, it was obvious the racing was on big-time! I tried again to get across and was joined before long by Ger and Ollie, after a hard chase we briefly had a group of five out-front but again it was all back together shortly afterwards. A slight stall followed coming into Murrisk as everyone caught breath but as we approached the hill up to Campbell’s, Ger had another dig off the front. As the group reeled him in I was right on the back of the line and got a nice slingshot effect to go around everyone and up the hill on my own… Five kilometres of torture followed as I was out in the wind alone hoping someone would come across to me, rather than getting caught by the full bunch and then possibly dropped in the inevitable counter attacks.
Behind Mike, James and Keith had got away and as they eventually joined me gave great encouragement to work with them as we had a decent gap. We pushed on into the wind and around the loop to Louisburgh without catching sight of the chasing bunch and were given a 30second time gap by Noel at the Old Head cross on the way back. The determination in our break grew and with big efforts from James especially on the front we pushed hard for home. After Murrisk we were down to three as Mike was hampered by an issue with his saddle but our pace stayed strong. Coming to the last kilometre when we knew the work was done to stay away James put in a good dig up the penultimate drag and Keith left us to contest the last 500metres. I pulled alongside James, we said our good lucks and sprinted it out to the line with me just getting it by maybe a wheel. Keith took third just behind and Mike still had plenty to spare for fourth with Patjoe leading in the main group for fifth.
I was delighted to have got a good hard race and my very first win and now looking forward to a seriously competitive league over the summer months, with even more strong riders like Dave Walshe, Micheal, perhaps Con and Aichlinn to come back into the mix and Aaron set to join us after an impressive solo win from group 2.
A big thanks to all marshals and organisers, and here’s to a very successful Covey league.

Top 10 in Covey League 2014 League:
1. Richard Meaney
2. James McGreevy
3. Aaron Doherty
4. Keith O Connell
5. Eoin McLoughlin
6. Sean O Boyle
7. Ray Staunton
8. Theo Ingham

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