We unfortunately don’t have many Juniors Girls in Ireland but the ones we have are all wee stars…Day 2 of the Irish Nationals started very early yesterday morning and only 5 girls entered this grueling race with 3 laps of the 18km circuit who served a nasty climb at each lap. The first passage on the top of this nasty calf biting beast saw already a separation driven by Ireland’s top junior Lara Gillespie from the Scott-Orwell Wheelers (Dublin). Already holder of many Irish titles such as Cyclo Cross Champion 2018 and many track titles, and very successful in the many sports she compete in, this was the one she was after ! The Leinster teenager lead from beginning till end, with only Maeve Gallagher able to keep up with her till the line, and the girls family and supporters shouting the girls on, hence creating a great atmosphere on the course and finish line in Collaaney (Sligo).The phrase ” When Irish girls are smiling” comes to mind but not for long as the 54km though race asked their legs a serious question and you could witness the pain in their faces at the end. We had a worthy winner but each girl deserves a medal especially the two brave girls in 4th and 5th place. Well done Lara, Maeve and Gabiella not forgetting Clodagh and Rachel..what ever order you came in you all done what you could on the day ..most girls your age still in bed that time in the morning while you compete in the sport you love
1. Gillespie Lara Scott Orwell Wheelers Cycling Club 1:26:31
2 Gallagher Maeve Castlebar Cycling Club 1:26:31
3 Homer Gabriella Cycle Team Onform 1:29:34
4 Gallagher Clodagh AAA Cycling 1:30:17
5 McBride Rachel Omagh Wheelers Cycling Club 1:55:36 Never give up..motto of Rachel Mc Bride from Omagh Wheelers..her daddy Shaun was in the back up team vehicle behind her at the line and the cheers for Rachel so encouraging and well mend..I bet there was a tear in Shaun’s eye, as even myself was moved seeing such brave performance coming to the end..Tyrone will be proud of you as we are ! Meet Caroline Kerley..Caroline was my partner for the weekend and one who will stay a while in my memory..This woman knows how to mix cycling photography and having a ball perfectly. I drove the media car with a smile all weekend, Caroline is very popular for her photos and her bubbly person (some people would call it Mad as a Hatter..lol) and made the Champs in Sligo a very pleasant one. This woman from County Louth is so passionate about cycling, dedicate all her free time to her beloved sport and inspired me this weekend, when we met up with Sam Bennett on a training reconnaissance of the circuit it was for her like winning the lotto..I am honored to have such friends..thanks so much for the company..you are truly a legend !! And to end this report a cry for help for ladies junior racing, and for that matter all youth racing ..We need to promote this part of the sport to the full as not enough young girls are interested in competing in cycling competitive, schools should be encouraged to promote our sport in the class rooms. Clubs should be supported financially to create more opportunities to them..otherwise the hard work of all the volunteers behind this sport will dwindle away…remember that been involved in a sport at young age keeps them away from some dangers teenagers face.. and create camaraderie, fitness, competitiveness and respect to others..something you don’t find on street corners and computer games.Some projects do already ground braking work on this development such as the https://www.facebook.com/IrishCycleSport/ and all provincial federations with their academy’s, the David Mc Call Foundation in Ulster and many more initiatives such as http://www.tcracing.ie/ ..but they all need funding and promotion to keep going..