Tonight Thursday night will see the 2nd edition of the Round the Houses Race take place in Ballyshannon. Staged as part of Ballyshannon Folk Festival week, the first edition of the race last year proved a great hit with competitors and spectators alike despite the poor conditions on the night.
Once again, the race will be run on a 6km circuit in and around Ballyshannon Town with the cyclists making the journey up the hill in Ballyshannon seven times for a total distance of 42km. Hopefully the crowds will be back to cheer on the cyclists again and will the loudest cheer once again be reserved for the man whose brainchild this event is, Terry McIntrye.
Race starts at 7pm with sign-on at the Lakeside Centre, Belleek Rd 6.15-6.45pm
Donegal Bay Summer League concludes with an exciting finale
After 12 weeks of great racing, the Donegal Bay Summer League wrapped up with a TT and prize giving last Thursday night. Once again, the League has proven very popular with many cyclists and we had record attendances at most races, with over 30 cyclists signing on most weeks. It is a great tribute to the organisers and many marshals whom ensure our races are well run.
Darragh McCarter(Omagh Wheelers) was already assured of overall victory before turning a pedal in anger as his closest title Kieran Porter(Strabane/Lifford) was unable to attend due to a pre-planned holiday. Instead Darragh was aiming for victory number eight of the league but it not to be as Paul Keogh of the Eire Og club in Sligo just pipped him for the win by three seconds in an excellent time of 22.03. Third place on the night was Nigel Connolly(Strabane/Lifford) with a time of 22.27.
Afterward, Darragh was presented with the Patsy McGroary Cup and he has proven to be a very worthy winner, taking seven wins in total and showing his versatility by winning Time Trials, Road Races & Hill Climbs. He also now holds the course records for both the TT & Hill Climb so it has been a great season for the Omagh Wheelers man. Not alone has Darragh shown himself to be a great competitor on the bike, but has also proven to be a great friend and asset to the Donegal Bay Club, he has been attending the league since the first season and is always willing to help out with marshaling or whatever is required when he is free fo do so. Well done Darragh.
Despite his absence Kieran Porter(SLCC) retained his 2nd place overall and proved to a worthy competitor throughout the league. He was always up there in all events and was the overall leader until well through the league.
In 3rd place overall was Ted McCaffrey(Donegal Bay) who also took the prize as the 1st Donegal Bay Rider. Another solid season for Ted with a number of PBs throughout the year.
There had been a lot of ‘hype’ in the Club around the Over 40s category this year, and it lived up to its billing with the title still up for grabs going into the last night. Heading into the showdown, Tom Dunleavy(Donegal Bay) was leading Kevin McGlynn(Donegal Bay) by just two points and having been neck and neck in the three previous TTs, it was anyone’s guess as to who would come out on top. Placings were going to prove to be just as important as time in the all out quest for points.
Despite being on antibiotics all week, Tom put in a very good ride to record 25.23 but there was little he could do as Kevin put in an inspired performance to set a new PB of 23.56, almost a minute faster than his previous best. The big question then was how many places were between them. Robert McCollum(Four Masters) was one such man separating them, but big Kevin will forever be in the debt of Damein Reid(Donegal Bay) who set a new PB of 25/01 on his fancy new TT bike to push Tom one place further down and hand the title to Kevin by the narrowest of margins, 1 point. An epic finish to an epic battle.
The Over 50 title was also down for decision on the final night and was even tighter at the start of the evening with Stephen McPhilemy(Finn Wheelers) leading Bill Nesbitt(Donegal Bay) by a single point. On paper, Stephen was the faster TT rider but both men had been gradually improving over the course of the league and both men had smashed their PBs in the pervious TT.
On the night it was Stephen who came out on top, having another great ride and getting close to his PB. Bill did have another good rider but it wasn’t to be enough as Stephen stretched his lead out to a more comfortable six points in the final standing.
Siobhan Gallagher(Donegal Bay) once again took the ladies title following a season in which she consistently bettered her PBs. Siobhan has shown remarkable progress since the first year of the league in 2012.
In the Junior category. Ronan McCauley(Donegal) came good in the latter stags of the league to earn the bragging rights over cousin Caomhan who had been the long time leader.
Our thanks to Biddys O’Barnes for hosting the prize giving and providing the much needed refreshments.
Errigal International Youth Tour
Three of our young cyclists, Jonathon Crawford, Dylan Gallagher and Ronan McCauley made the trip to Churchill at the weekend to take part in the Errigal International Youth Tour. This event is probably the most prestigious and popular Youth Race in Ireland, attracting the top talent the country has to offer, as well as teams from England, Scotland, The Isle of Man and Malta. The standard is incredibly high and the lads were always going to be up against it but they didn’t count on the weather being their biggest opponent.
It absolutely poured it down on the first night making for very slippery road conditions and inevitably there were crashes. Unluckily our lads were involved, with Ronan McCauley coming down hard and suffering numerous cut’s and bruises. Unlike the overpaid glamour boys of pro football, Ronan remounted and finished the race but the injuries sustained meant he could not start the following.
Dylan Gallagher also got held up by a crash on Day 1 but didn’t suffer any injuries and finished the stage. He did complete the Time Trial on Saturday morning but on the afternoon stage, he came down hard early on and was forced to retire from the race. A sad ending for both these lads who had been looking forward greatly to this week. What was great to see was how they both returned on Monday to support their fellow clubmate Jonathon Crawford in the U-14 race.
Jonathon had an excellent weekend and rode a great race against top opposition. All three lads were already planning ahead to next year’s edition which is a great attitude to have.
Our thanks to the Errigal Club who put on great event but were unfortunate with the horrendous weather. Hopefully we will back with more competitors next year.
Donegal Bay Youth League
The Donegal Bay Youth League resumes next Monday 11th August after a break for the Errigal International Youth Tour. Round 4 will be a Hill TT at Lough Eske starting at 7pm. Sigh-on at the back of Solis Lough Eske Hotel Car Park from 6.15-6.45pm.
Introductory Cycles: This Friday is the last week of the Introductory Cycles leaving the Public Services Centre, Donegal Town @6.30pm.
Sunday Spins continue each week leaving either Ballyshannon or Donegal Town each Sunday @9am.