Limerick man Paul O’Connell (not the rugby player ) used his army training and the handicap to outgun the big hitters of Connacht cycling.
This local memorial race always attracts big numbers with 73 signing on for the handicap event, with the monsoon conditions of earlier in the day subsiding leaving a nice windy evening for racing. The race was over five laps of seven miles, with a handicap of 14minutes separating front to back.
In the early stages of the race Charles Prendergast from Cunga CC, fresh from the recent Rás, showed he was in form when he dragged Thomas Fallon of Seven Springs away for a full lap before being reeled in by the rest of the scratch group. This caused the rest of the scratch group to ride conservatively thus allowing the front groups to make the most of the time allowance.
Up front ex-Mayo football selector Kieran Gallagher from Swinford CC and Limerick’s Paul O’Connell from the Cycle for Sick Children club jumped away from their group building a consistent lead.
On the final lap gap the two leaders were two and a half minutes up with only seven miles remaining, with the scratch joining forces with group three the odds was in the escapees’ favour and they held on for the win and in sporting fashion they jointly crossed the line together, with O’Connell marginally ahead on the photo finish camera recording the victory.
In the sprint for third the 2011 winner Charles Prendergast jumped clear from the bunch with Liam Frawley Galway Bay to get third and fourth respectively, with Liam Corcoran Castlebar CC winning the bunch gallop from Thomas Fallon Seven springs.