the temperature could drop away
like four season in one day…”
Round 4 of the Joe Daly Cycles Women’s National League took place in Kilkenny this afternoon on a day that offered every weather variety bar snow. Ciara Kinch of Towers CC kept her cool in the testing conditions, and wiped the rain/hail/wind-blown debris from her glasses to take the win in the Deenside Cup race.
A fine field of 30 riders signed on in Castlecomer this morning at Deenside Wheelers Race HQ. They had come from the four corners of Ireland… Lorraine from Emyvale CC, Noreen and Eimear from Covey Wheelers, Grace from De Ronde van Cork, to name but a few who rose early and travelled far. Prize for longest road trip goes to Michelle, who came all the way from Belgium to race in her Napoleon Games kit.
The race consisted of two laps of the 34km circuit, with a game-changing 6km climb two-thirds of the way around each lap. A cross-tail-wind on the opening leg of the race prompted attacking from the gun. League leader, Aideen Keenan, DID Ladies RT, jumped early, and often, but she failed to get anyone to join her to make a break. Eimear Harrison, Covey Wheelers, was next to attack.
Eimear got a decent advantage as the race reached the roundabout at the end of the first leg, then, as she turned into the headwind, and the gap appeared to be closing Sonja O’Mahony, Lakeside Wheelers, bridged across to her. These two worked together for a while, but then Eimear’s exertions got the better of her and Sonja rode on alone.
Coming closer to Ballyragget Sinnead Oakes, Nenagh CC, attacked the bunch and rode across to Sonja, making this look a lot easier than it must have been, given the wind. Sinnead and Sonja settled into a steady pace together and hit the base of the hill with a lead of almost one minute.
Sinnead’s tempo proved too much for Sonja, and she lost contact with Sinnead in the latter stages of the climb. Meanwhile, the main bunch fragmented into groups, a small selection pressing on in pursuit of the race leaders. This chase group of seven caught Sonja, and promptly dropped her… and then, as Sinnead crested the summit, they also caught her.
Crossing over the line to take the bell for the final lap the lead group consisted of: Sinnead Oakes (Nenagh CC), Ciara Kinch (Towers CC), Michelle Geoghegan (Napoleon Games), Roisin Kennedy (Arcane Adamstown), Aideen Keenan (DID Ladies), Monica Marconi (Orwell Wheelers), Grace Young (De Ronde van Cork), and Emma Walsh (Waterford RC).
These eight motored on, taking their turns like seasoned pros and, by the second visit to Ballyragget, they had pulled out a lead of almost three minutes.
The second ascent of Glenmagoo took its toll, with Roisin and Monica slipping out the back of the lead group. The other six reached the top together, and as they zipped down the far side Sinnead was once again doing the bulk of the work at the front.
As the break turned right into Castlecomer the attacking started, first with Aideen, then Michelle, then Emma, but there was no getting away. Then, as all six riders reached the 500m to go, mark Sinnead Oakes launched a final attack and looked to be about to take it, until Ciara Kinch lunged forward to snatch victory on the line.
Michelle Geoghegan was 3rd, Grace Young 4th, Emma Walsh 5th, Aideen Keenan 6th, Roisin Kennedy 7th, and Monica Marconi was 8th. Laura Cooke, Limerick CC, took the prize for First Junior Rider across the finish line.
Her fourth place in today’s race sees Grace Young, De Ronde van Cork, leapfrog her way to second place on the Joe Daly Cycles National League table, with 30 points. Aideen Keenan, DID Ladies RT retains her position atop the table, with 36 points.
Thank you to Deenside Wheelers for hosting us today, great circuit, great racing, and great cake! The Joe Daly Cycles National League continues on Sunday 5th July with Round 5, the Eddie Tobin Memorial, promoted by Slaney CC… see you there!