Errigal’s youth cyclists turned it on at the weekend in Ireland’s biggest race to date with some great performances at Rás na nOg on Saturday and Sunday in Drogheda.
Young Odhran Doogan from Gortahork got the weekend off to a flier by winning Stage 1 comfortably to go into Stage 2 in the afternoon wearing the coveted yellow jersey.
Following his third place in Stage 2 and a fifth place in Stage 3, Doogan finished second overall and first in his age group.
Also in the U-12 Category, Amanda Gallagher from Dunlewey continued Errigal’s winning ways by taking first girl in Stage 1 and going on take first unplaced girl overall at the event.
Racing in the U-14 category was very fast, very fierce and extremely competitive, and with 38 riders from all over Ireland participating, the weekend proved to be a real challenge for our young riders.
In all three stages the races split very early into two main groups split roughly along age categories.
Stage 1 was a very fast criterium type race with the pace furious from the start. Following a poor start when he was blocked, PJ Doogan made his way swiftly through the group on the first lap to put the pressure on and causing the group to split in two very early.
In the end it came down to a sprint between a lead group of seven riders with PJ and Conor Halvey finishing in third and sixth respectively with Dylan Traynor in 14th (fourth U-13) and Michael McGlynn in 18th.
Stage 2 was a wee bit lumpier and longer with Doogan winning the final uphill sprint superbly to move into second place overall with Conor Halvey taking fourth. Dylan Traynor was 12th (second U-13) with Michael McGlynn in 16th.
The weekend’s final race, Stage 3 took place on Sunday and as in the previous two stages the pace was relentless with another split happening relatively early on in the first lap.
Once again it came down to a sprint between the lead groups six riders with Conor Halvey taking fourth and PJ Doogan in fifth.
Michael McGlynn rode at the front of the second main group for much of this stage finishing in 12th place. Unfortunately his team-mate Dylan Traynor suffered a mechanical problem only a few hundred metres from the start and had to chase for the duration.
However, the young lad from Crolly had his efforts well rewarded with Errigal winning the U-14 team event overall from O’Leary Stone Cycling Club from Kanturk from Cork, who would have been the pre-race favourites.
At the end of it all PJ lost out on overall individual victory by just 1 point and had to settle for 3rd place with Conor Halvey in 5th. Errigal’s Under 14 team of PJ Doogan, Conor Halvey, Michael McGlynn and Dylan Traynor are looking very strong just now and the season ahead looks very promising!
In the weekend’s senior racing in Drogheda, Errigal’s Michael McBride and Jordan McGinley put in good performances in both Saturday and Sundays races with both finishing comfortably in the bunch.
McGinley took second place junior in Saturday’s race whilst on Sunday McBride tried valiantly on a number of occasions to get away in a break and actually succeeded at one point only to be hauled back in before the finish.
Errigal member Eugene McGettigan took part in the National Duathlon Championships in Dublin on Saturday in the Olympic distance of 10km run/ 40km bike/ 5km run, finishing well in 71st place overall out of over 260 competitors and 13th in his age group category.
Ciara Doogan is over in Scotland racing in the Tour of Scotland and she has performed magnificently winning Stages 2 and 3 and is currently sitting in 10th place overall heading into Tuesday’s final stage.
Errigal teammate Shauna McFadden was sitting in 24th place and going well against a field of riders that in many cases are an age category above her.
The second in Errigal’s series of four races will take place this Saturday from 11am with U-12, U-14 and U-16 riders completing a number of laps of a circuit in the Letterkenny / Churchill area with the start and finish on the outskirts of Churchill village.
The first race of the league last month attracted an impressive entry of over 65 riders from all over the country for races on a tough circuit that included a tough climb and an exciting sprint finish on the outskirts of the town.
The Errigal Youth League is sponsored by Larkin’s of Newmills and offer Donegal’s youth cyclists the opportunity to compete against the best in the country on their own patch and a good turnout is expected in what the club hopes will become a popular fixture in the Irish race calendar.
A minutes silence was observed at many races around the country at the weekend following the tragic loss of six-year-old Rebecca Carter; daughter of Georgina and Robert and younger sister to Christopher and Roisin, from Donegal who passed away last weekend. All at Errigal offer their condolences to the family and friends of Rebecca.
Once again there is an open invitation to anyone (including youths age 10+) interested in cycling to come along on the weekend club runs, we would again encourage more to join in this week starting on Saturday from the Annagry Car Park at 10am and again on Sunday at 10am from The Lagoon Car Park in Termon.
The Saturday Club Training run will depart from Termon as usual at 8am - this is suited to those riders interested in getting around that little bit faster.