What a weekend we had in Cork for the National Youth & Elite CX Champs 2019 with emotional scenes at the finish, tears of happiness for some of the winners, graceful in defeat for others and one of the most competitive CX events I have witnessed this season. The youth Champs was held on Saturday as part of the Championship weekend in Cork and hopefully, this becomes a norm as it brings a lot of people to the event and makes it worthwhile for the organisers too. (report on line) No rain on both days with even glorious sunshine on Sunday, but a breezy western wind against the riders in the finishing straight. A course with mostly fast grassy parts, some short climbs and “a bridge over” continental style to connect the 2 parts of the Fota House grounds near Cobh (County Cork) but perfect for the spectators as most of the course visible from the start and finishing area.

Two adopted sons of Martine at the front of the race

I had the company of one of my guest parents and good friend from Belgium for the weekend, Martine Verfaillie was guest of the Conroy family while in Ireland for her second visit to our parts of the world. We had a meal with the winners family the night before in Cobh and spirits high. David has such great support from his family and he is a credit to them. Was treated like a VIP with collection from my Digs in Cork from Richard his dad for the meal and enjoyed the Korma made by his lovely mum. A perfect evening and early to bed. Earlier that evening to my surprise I was not the only Northerner at the Belvedere Lodge B&B at the outskirts of Cork Harbour. The principals and pit crew of the MC Convey Cycle Team and the Newry Wheelers team had set camp as well in this Georgian ex-grand hotel and had some pre-talks and some craic. Between the two teams, they got a veteran champ in the M40 with Belgian Project sponsor Alan Bingham ( AB Trophies Warrenpoint) from Newry Wheelers, add Des Wood with a silver in the M50. Eamon Mc Convey took silver in the M60 and the day before his teenager rider in the Girls U/16 Erin Creighton took bronze, so happy bunch travelling back up north.

Well done Team Newry Wheelers
Pit crew and silver medalist Eamon Mc Convey (M60)

Sunday’s first race was the Junior men and started the day in a good fashion with a dominant display of new champ Adam Mc Garr (Biking.ie) who kept the chasing Sean Nolan (Navan RC) at bay with in the end a small minute spare to take silver. Lee Harvey (Vc Glendale) was a very close 3rd and left Ciaran Dixon (Mc Convey Cycles) taking the dreaded 4th place with Donal Walsh (Four Masters) next in 5th (full results at the bottom of our report)

Junior Podium 2019

The veterans next with 3 races and first off the M40 with Alan Bingham to strong for Anthony (Zippy) Doyle who took silver, led the race at one time before Alan pounced and a very strong performance from Seán O’Tuathail was rewarded with a bronze. One of the favourites and been on the podium for the last 20 odd years which include 18 times being an Elite champion, Robin Seymour had to be content with a 5th place this time only a minute down to the winner.

So pleased for Alan

The M50 race was the race who made possible history in Ireland and further afield..The winner Brendan Doherty from VC Glendale and 12th at the World champs in Mol won the race in a very strong fashion, lead from the start to finish and had to keep the lurking Des Wood (Newry Wheelers) behind him with 10 seconds to spare. Michael Jordan (CSS Tallaght Wheelers) 1m33s a deserved 3rd. They called his daughter Aine (Irish U14 Champ the day before) to the podium as this must be a first ever in Irish racing history that Father and Daughter taking the National Jersey home in their respectively races this weekend!!

The Doherty show in Cork

The last of the veteran races was the M60 and again a medal for the Cycling Ulster fraternity with silver this time for Eamon Mc Convey but have to say Johnny Mc Cabe ( Cuchulainn CC) was not to be beaten Sunday and won in style. The bronze went to Terence O’Neill from the Epic MTB/ Expert Cycles stables. You have to admire this section of the sport, age not a hurdle for this lads!!

Next we had the women’s race including junior ladies and this was a very open race up front..Last years winner Lara Gillespie (Scott-Orwell Wheelers) and now 17 years old was very prominent all race but didn’t get a free run to the finish line.. the USA based Maria Larkin (Call up P/B Bike law) was on fire after missing the podium last year in Kilcullen and poised to be on it, if not the top of the roaster. But there was also another factor in the race called Lucy O’ Donnell (O’ Leary Stone Kanturk) who hanged on up front and start attacking the favorites in a vengeance not many times seen and this at the tender age of sixteen. It came to a sprint to the line for this 3 and the power of Lara was very evident with Maria just beaten in the last meters and Lucy a very good 3rd. Local girls Grace Young 4th and not to far away with Nessa Rochford (both Ronde Van Cork CC and promoters team) in 7th. Hundreds of fans cheering the Cork girls on during the race. Darcey Harkness was the best unplaced junior and first Ulster rider in 8th place.

The Women’s Podium 2019

Last but not least we had the Senior Elite race and this could have gone in different ways..the front was contested till the last lap. Efforts of Thomas Creighton been dealt with by last years silver winner David Conroy (Scott-Eurocycles) and been joined by David Montgomery (ex CX champ in 2015) Thomas lost a bit of ground and last years champ Darnell Moore (Caldwell Wheelers) overtook him and started his launch to the front but to no avail ..the 2 had the battle up front for themselves but very aware of Darnell who was not to far away. When David Montgomery (UN/ attached Ulster) made a wee slip in the finale of the race the other David took charge and kept enough distance to do his signature walk over the line with his bike held high. Paul Reilly (UCD) was 4th and Thomas ended up 5th.

The Elite podium

All results courtesy of De Ronde van Cork CC, the judges and Elite Timing http://www.offroadcyclingireland.ie/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Irish_National_Cyclo_cross_championships_2019_Results.htm

And to end this report a thank you to the promoting club “Ronde Van Cork CC” and his many volunteers aided by their neighboring clubs in Munster, the officials, the medics, the commissair’s, and of course the riders. A great course in beautiful surroundings of Fota Island and the welcome we received..so well done to all

The commissaire panel led by Gary Mc Ilroy (UCI)
The Elite men start
Marcus Cromie raising money for the Irish CX Team in Denmark with raffle tickets to win signed jerseys from world top CX riders and many other goodies.
See you again soon Martine xx
Photos of Martine here below off the Elite men and more to come later of all races