15th Oct 2017
The second round of the Munster League was hosted by St.Finbarrs CC, who were back again in the spectacular venue of Fota House and Gardens. In between the sounds of grinding gears, squelching mud, and heavy breathing, were the screeches of the Monkeys who were wondering what all the commotion was about.
Photos by Brendan Slattery & Sean Rowe (Many thanks)
Starting off the day in spectacular style was the underage racing. U6’s, u8’s, and u10’s produced very competive racing on a twisty but fast circuit through the woods. The noise from the crowd cheering them on would rival any pro race, and some serious battles ensued across all age groups!
Next up was the u14 race, and this would be a real battle. Over 2 laps of the main circuit, riders experienced real cx conditions. Showing a clean pair of heels was Shane Galvin who took a strong solo win. A real battle took place for the remaining podium places between Conor Scully and Patrick O’Loughlin. For most of the race they could not be separated, but on the final lap Conor opened a gap and would not be caught. O’Loughlin held on for a fine 3rd place. Annie Roche took the honours in the girls race, who rode very well and was less than a minute off 3rd place.
The u12’s went straight after, and took on 1 lap of the main course. This was a real challenge for all competitors but one they all completed. Patrick Galvin repeated his older brothers win, taking a solo victory in what was a carbon copy performance. Cillian O’Shea finished in a fine second place, with Harrison Syms rounding out the podium in his debut cx race.
The u16 race was the final underage race of the day and they raced over 3 laps. Eoin Birchall, who was making his return to the sport, showed no signs of rust and took the win by nearly a minute, catching many of the B riders in the process. David McCarthy produced a spectacular final lap to land on the second step of the podium, ahead of Sabien Kulcynski in 3rd.
The B race opened up the senior racing, and this proved to be a Cork vs Kerry battle. Hugh Power (Bandon CC) took a fine win ahead of Killarney duo Michael O’Connor and Ken O’Sullivan. All three are now promoted to the A race for the rest of the league.
The A race and the Ladies A race were the main event and they did not disappoint. All was to play for in the men’s event as not only was the race win on offer, but the leaders jersey was also up for grabs due to Zippy Doyle not racing this one.. After a frantic start Kevin Keane (unattached) and Tim O’Regan (Aqua Blue) established themselves on the front of the race with the host club’s St.Finbarrs rider Richie Barry alone in 3rd. The top two spots would remain the same, but a strong chasing Conor Kissane (Killarney) and Trevor Woods (aquablue) would close the gap to Richie with a lap remaining. Trevor won this battle taking 3rd and with it the league lead, 2 points ahead of Richie Maes (Killarney) and 8 ahead of Richie Barry (St.Finbarrs). Kevin Keane repeated his victory of last year with a very strong performance winning by 40 seconds over Tim O’Regan, with Woods another 30 seconds back.
The Ladies A race also had huge implications for the League. League leader Lisa Staplebrook (Kenmare) took to the line knowing that simply finishing would be enough to retain her lead, but of course she wanted more than this. Challenging her for the win was Fiona Meade (Blarney), and Agnieska Wozniak. Meade would take the win in her debut cx race this season, with Staplebrook finishing a strong second, and Wozniak in 3rd. This means Staplebrook extends her league lead to 34 points, but Meade has a race to make up, which keeps her right in contention.