Westport Covey Wheelers had eight riders (Keith Mulroy U12, Shane O’ Malley U11, Orla Harrison U14 Girls, Aaron Doherty U14 , Yannick Scheerer U13 , Emer Harrison U16 Girls , Ben Walsh U15 and Eoghan Mc Laughlin U15 ) at the National Youth Championships in Ballymoney last weekend the 23rd and 24th of August where each rider had to compete in the National Time Trial Championship, the National Road Race Championships and the National Criterium Championships. The weather stayed dry for most of the weekend which was important as the courses were technical with a lot of bends and fast corners.
The Time Trial (TT) was first off at 9am Saturday morning where nearly 200 riders in all age categories went to the start line with parents and coaches doing a great job getting everyone signed on and ready to go. The course was a straight line 8K from Dunloy to Ballymoney with a strong enough headwind that increased over the morning and Westport got their first podium finish of the weekend where Aaron Doherty got a silver medal and there were strong performances from all the young coveys with Shane O Malley and Orla Harrison coming 4th in their age groups, Keith Mulroy coming 6th at U12, Ben Walsh coming 8th, Eoghan Mc Laughlin 13th in the U15 category with Yannick Schreerer also having a strong performance at U13.
Next up after a quick sandwich we were off to Stroclum Community Centre for 1pm to sign on for the first Road Race off at 2pm.
Shane O Malley first up for the Coveys had a great race and was right there going up the hill climb finish only to be piped into 4th place.
Next up Keith Mulroy also performed really well to finish 6th in the U12 race.
Yannick Scheerer was next out and did well finishing with a few riders behind him.
Ben Walsh and Eoghan Mc Laughlin then went to post and after 5 hard laps finished in 11th and 18th position respectively with Ben finishing in a bunch sprint for 3rd place.
Then was the turn of Eimear and Orla Harrison who were racing against each other for the first time as U13, U14, U15 and U16 Girls all raced together. Eimear finished 4th in the U16’s and was right there going up the climb to the finish only to be pipped for 3rd place by centimetres , Orla had a fantastic race also to finish 4th in her section.
Next up was Aaron Doherty and yet again he performed on the day coming in 3rd and another national medal in the bag for the Coveys. He had a brilliant race and to see the speed they came up the hill would frighten most seniors.
Back to the house and thanks to all the Mothers that were up for the weekend we all got fed and watered and off to bed early !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
On Sunday morning all up early as the Criterium sign on was at 07:30am with the course open at 8:15am for riders to get to know the course which was a figure of 8 with a few very tight turns which needed the weather to be fine and it turned out to be a beautiful day.
Shane O Malley was first out and what a race he gave us finishing in 2nd place along way ahead of 3rd . We all think that the promise of a carbon bike spurred him on to a brilliant performance.
Keith Mulroy was next up and again rode a great race into 9th place.
Yannick Schreerer was next on the course and although lapped gave it everything.
Next up was Aaron and again he produced the goods with a fantastic performance to finish 2nd and lost it by a centimetre, the lead group in the U14 boys lapped 2 seconds faster than the U16 boys lead group.
Eimear and Orla Harrison were up next and although they gave it everything had to pull out due mostly to the girls Crit being left out too long as the lead bike ran out of petrol and the organisers forgot they were out on the course or at least that is what 90% of the crowd there says is what happened.
Next up was Ben Walsh and Eoghan Mc Laughlin and even though Bens chain came off at the start he had a great race to finish 8th , with Eoghan finishing in the 3rd group.
We waited for presentations after and hit the road home at 3:45 tired but having seen huge potential for the youth section to do even better next year.
With the bench marks firmly established the weekend points to a bright future for the Covey Wheelers, Mayo and Connacht cycling. As Chairman of the club I was extremely proud of all the riders as they gave great performances and are a real credit to the club.
I would like to thank Tony Walsh their coach who puts so much work into them and Noel Mulroy who does all the running repairs which is critical. Thanks also to John Doherty for his advice and encouragement and Brendan O Malley who is always there. To Teresa and Natalia who make sure we are all looked after at all these races and Catherine, Leslie, Melissa, and Keith Hastings who watched bikes and helped out when needed and always gave encouragement all weekend. Thanks also to the parents that were there as they are critical to all that goes on behind the scenes.
[Report by Anthony Harrison]