In ideal conditions the club championships had 35 hardy souls leaving Ballinrobe for a Lap of Lough Mask (65k) the first 25k were neutralized till we got to Paddy’s bar.
With 6 groups starting out and a staggering 18.30 minutes separating Sean O Malley from the front group things looked grim for Sean.
Maam Trasna saw the wind taken out of a few sails when virtually all the groups lost at least one or 2 riders, except for the steady riding group 5 of Padraic Hughes, Kevin Ryan, Brendan Butler, Donal Harrington and John Gill, these guys rode the climb steady and stayed together. They had even put time into Sean O Malley by the top making it look nearly impossible for Sean to ever see the front of the race.
Group 5 tore into every group they came across and spat them out virtually straight away except for 3 determined dogs, Martin Joyce, John Conroy and Jerry Towey all of group 4 and who left the rest of their group for dead on the climb and went about their mission of catching everyone else up the road, this they did by the Ferry Bridge some 18k from home. Group 5 had closed the gap but they had also had lost time to the aggressive Sean O Malley who had now found his mojo and was ripping through the field like a man possessed, he was only 40 second down on group 5 and 90 seconds of the remains of group 4.
In Clonbur with 14k to go the writing was on the wall for the Joyce’s group with O Malley having caught group 5, and group 4 had a tender lead of just 40 seconds that didn’t seem enough for the trio to stay away.
With Sean O Malley attacking and counter attacking group 5, the stop starting tactics seemed to help the group ahead who were racing for all they were worth, there is even rumor that Joyce was doing double turns and roaring at Towey as he wasn’t pulling his weight!!! (find it hard to believe myself)
With 5k to go, a frustrated O Malley was arguing with the rest of group 5 as to why they would not work with him (I wonder why ) eventually O Malley had enough of the stop – start antics and got away from group 5 and went in pursuit of the Joyce, Conroy and Towey group, Towey was spurred on by his son from the club van where he roared WIN DADDY, Towey went hell for leather and had Joyce and Conroy in trouble with Joyce visible in big trouble just hanging on by a thread, Conroy was matching Towey with screams of pain heard at the finish line with the lads only at Ferricks hill (Conroy cajoling efforts were load where he said “we can win lads just bury yourselves” )The win looked to be on for this trio but with only 1500m to go O Malley latched on, he stayed at the back of the group without them noticing and made an almighty jump with 300m to go, game over Sean O Malley is the 2015 Club Champion, a spirited sprint for second saw John Conroy just pipping Martin Joyce with Jerry Towey rolling home for 4th, less than 10 seconds later Brendan Butler won the sprint ahead of John Gill for 5th.
In The ladies section 4 ladies signed up with a tight battle at the finish where Monica Nee narrowly beat Patricia Harte with Marie Fraser coming home third.
It was a great nights racing and when the racing lads had to do the business they did taking up nearly all of the top 10 results.There was a prize presentation held afterwards for both the League and championship at Inch’s bar where race footage was shown and great banter to be had. 2 are still missing from that little session, Jimmy is still at Large and O Malley is no where to be found…..!!!
Thanks to all that helped make both the league and championship such a success roll on 2016.
1st Sean O Malley
2nd John Conroy
3rd Martin Joyce
4th Jerry Towey
5th Brendan Butler
6th John Gill
7th Kevin Ryan
8th Donal Harrington
9th Padraic Hughes
10th Conor Gill
Un placed category prize winners
Brendan Butler, Jerry Towey, Conor Gill, Donal O Reilly
1st Monica Nee
2nd Patricia Harte
3rd Marie Fraser
4th Ann Flynn