Doogan doubles up at inaugural Junior Women’s National Championships

Ciara Doogan taking the road race title on Sunday. Pic John Coleman

History was made at the weekend with the first stand alone National Championship Time Trial & Road Race for Junior Women taking place in Cong, Co Mayo. The junior women’s races were hosted by Cunga Cycling Club as part of a programme of events across Saturday & Sunday.

TT Action (Pics thanks to John Coleman)

First up on Saturday was the time trial – a 24km test against the clock and it was Errigal CC’s Ciara Doogan who came out on top.

Full TT Results below:

1 Ciara Doogan Errigal CC 36:56:40
2 Emily Birchall NRPT 40:48:53
3 Naoise Sheridan Orwell Whls 41:15:36
4 Eimear Harrison Covey Whlrs 42:10:58
5 Aisling Desmond Galtee Whls 44:57:56
6 Jennifer Neenan NRPT 45:17:70
7 Rachel Drennan Mideton CTC 46:05:19
8 Amy Good Cadence DNS

Juniors Line up – Pic Elizabeth Toher Photography

On Sunday 11 riders from 9 clubs across the country took to the start line for the lumpy 55km lap around scenic Mayo.

Any fears that a small field on hilly course might lead to negative racing were soon put to rest with a lively pace being set from the start. The field was lined out from the off. The first significant attack of the day came after 4k when Ciara Doogan attacked on a short climb. She was quickly joined by Autumn Collins and the pair joined forces to try and establish a break. They were joined shortly afterwards by Laura Cooke, Emily Birchall and Eimear Harrison and although the five riders worked to establish a break, a concerted chase lead by Galtee Wheelers’ Aisling Desmond saw the five riders being brought back by the five chasers.

This initial break established the pattern which would be repeated several times over the next 10k as the same five riders established several short lived breaks only to be brought back each time as the five chasers worked hard as a unit.

Approaching the first KOH, the first significant split of the day occurred when Doogan, Collins, Cooke, Birchall and Harrison broke clear and started working together to establish what was to be the decisive break. On the approach to the KOH, Doogan surged clear and while the four chasers worked to bring her back it was clear that it was the last they would see of the talented Errigal rider who time trialled her way to a decisive victory. As the other four crested the climb Birchall and Harrison forged ahead of Cooke and Collins and quickly set about establishing a lead which would ultimately see them coming home in 2nd and 3rd with Birchall escaping from Harrison in the final kilometre. Meanwhile Cooke broke free of Collins to come home in fourth position with Collins 5th and Naoise Sheridan coming home in 6th place.

While Ciara Doogan showed her class winning the race by over four minutes, the commitment shown by the other riders in attacking the race on such a hilly and technical course augurs well for the future of ladies racing in Ireland


Laura Hill

Action from the climb thanks to Elizabeth Toher Photography

Road Race Results below:

  1. Ciara Doogan (Errigal CC)
  2. Emily Birchall (NRPT/
  3. Emer Harrisson (Westport Covey Wheelers CC)
  4. Laura Cooke (Limerick CC)
  5. Autumn Collins (Cadence Performance)
  6. Naoise Sheridan (Orwell Wheelers)

Congratulations to all who raced, without your participation the event wouldn’t take place. You girls are now a part of history in Irish Women’s Cycling and for that you should be proud. A special thanks to Brian O’Loughlin and all at Cunga Cycling Club who by all accounts have a habit of firsts having hosted the inaugural seperate U23 National Championships a number of years ago under the Mayo Wheelers banner.

Junior RR
Friendly banter – pic thanks to Liam Collins