As the summer is coming to an end, so has the OE Bikes Midland’s Interclub League. Another successful year of racing on the roads with some groundbreaking figures achieved by the league since its debut many moons ago.
With attendance of over 100 riders, it was the biggest turn out for the league up to this point. Riders from across 9 different clubs came out to put on some spectacular racing across the different circuits. Not only did we get a bunch of great racing and turnouts but we also formed the first ever Midland’s Racing Team that, with your help and support, rode this year’s edition of Ireland’s biggest road race,‘An Ras’. As a further stepping stone aimed at improving all riders skills, any rider involved in the league is able to represent the team at single stage races. Keep your eyes peeled for some more announcements coming soon.
While there were some highs and lows and some in betweens and we’re glad we were there to see it all happen. With the final results and awards presentation behind us, we would like to thank everyone who got involved in the races and organising whether it’d be at a committee level or a spectator level. We wouldn’t have been able to make it happen without ye.
A big thanks to the Order of Malta who made sure we were well attended to if any crashes or accidents did happen and a big thank you to all the local pubs/halls that made for the post-race HQ of tea and sandwiches. A big thanks to Jim Maguire, and a special mention to the late Donal Kelleher who is immensely missed. We’re already excited for next April when the league returns and can’t wait to see more racing happening on local roads. Catch up on what went down below
A fiery start to this year's OE Midland's Interclub League.
From a TT with some new personal bests to an intense road race. Here’s what went down at the first two races of this year's Midland’s League.
Horseleap ITT - Race 1
Sunny skies in Horseleap seemed to bless the riders. This was right before a strong head and tail wind would set in. Conditions wouldn't improve as riders would leave the start/finish line one by one for the first race of this year’s MIL.
All gas no brakes
A strong turn out on the day regardless of the weather conditions. Riders from Lynx, LSW, SSCC, Streamstown, LCRC, TCTC, Laois and Esker were present across the 3 race groups.
Riders chanced different bike set-ups. From fully aero TT bikes to standard carbon bikes. It was hard to tell what option would prevail in the tricky conditions.
The ideal wind set-up
Gary Condell(TCTC) would be the first A rider to start off the time trial. Clocking in a time of 23m 50s he would place 5th. As Colin Clavin(STCC) would set the fastest time of the day with a 21m 18s in A category. Mikey Flaherty(Lynx) would take second with a 22m 48s. Only 57s of Clavin's time. While Adrian Carroll(LCRC) would finish third with only a 1m 27s of Clavin's time.
A strong start but an even stronger finish
In the B’s there were some close finishes, as Peter Rimmer(LSW) stole the top spot with a time of 25m 19s from Neil Mc Dermott(LSW) who would be only 3s short of 1st place. John Donoghue(LSW) would finish 3rd with only 9s off the B Group's top time.
Smiles all around at the MIL
In the C’s, the first two places would be dominated by the Laois riders, Ger Corcoron who came first with a time of 25m 58s and Aoife McEvoy placing second with a 26m 45s. She would be the fastest of the ladies participating. Rounding up the podium places would be Giles Byford(SSCC) who was 2s short of taking 2nd place.
While the TT might have a seemed like a steady ride for most. The first road race held by Lynx CC would be far from that. Speedy action and a game of cat and mouse throughout the A and B Groups would set the scene for the 2nd race. As riders from the three groups would take on the hills and punchy straights in Castledaly.
Steady pace chasing the breakaway
With potential showers on the way, the riders got on their way. The A’s would have smaller numbers as some riders weren’t able to make the race or were participating as Marshalls. Small numbers but the pace was still at an all time high.
Lead group of the A's that got away
Lap 1 would see an instant development as splits began to form. A small bunch of riders getting away and never fully being caught. Shane Quinn(LCRC) would steal the win from Colin Clavin(STCC) and Ruairi Woods(Lynx). As Adrian Carroll(TCTC) faced off David Casserly(LCRC) and Graham O’Brien(SSCC) for some crucial points.
Every point counts in the A Category
In the B’s race, Richard Lenehan(LSW) rode off early. Attempting to put some pressure on the main bunch. The riders within the pack would be unwilling to go with him and he would be caught on the last lap.
The moment the pack caught up in the B's Race
Neil McDermott(LSW) would come out on top for the second week in a row. While Padraig Moran(LSW) would take second with David Marshall(Esker) securing the final slot spot on the podium.
Steady pace in the C group
In the C’s, the pace remained steady with riders keeping things calm until the last few kilometres. Ger Corcoran(Laois) would win the sprint with Martin Kennedy(SSCC) hot on his heels coming home in second. Barry Lavelle(Esker) would take 3rd and find himself moved up into the top 10 of the C group standings.
Here are the Top 10 for each group after the first two rounds:-
Heavy rain showers, high winds with an uphill sprint finish. Round 3 of the OE Midlands League would bring out some extremely teeth grinding racing. With leading riders from each group given a time handicap. We were bound to see some upsets in the general classification.
Eyeing up a tricky turn
Ruairi Woods (Lynx CC) would make the A’s work extra hard as he attacked straight away on Lap 1. Having been brought back he would go again towards the end of the last lap and take the main step on the podium with Stuart Cox (LSW) and David Casslery (LCRC) hot on his heels. A difficult sprint finish that had a ferocious headwind greeting the riders at the finish line.
A strong headwind keeping the pack together
In the B’s race, the headwind had the bunch stay together throughout much of the race. Michael Devlin (LCRC) would take the top step with Eoghan Kevlihan (LSW) and David Flaherty (LSW) rounding up the rest of the top 3.
Serious efforts being put in on the front
In the C’s, we were bound for another bunch finish, however Ross Byrne (Laois) would go early and take 1st place. With Ger Dooner(LCRC) and Conor Heffernan(TCTC) completing the other two main places on offer.
Mount Temple Road race - Race 4
Hope there's a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow
Weather conditions would really test the riders as we rolled into round 4 of the OE Midlands League. A strong turn out regardless of the ever-changing circuit. In the A’s, all eyes would be on Ruairi Woods (Lynx CC). The bunch would keep together for most of the race. However on the last lap, a split would occur that would see Ruairi putting in a solo effort to finish first once again. Shane Quinn (LCRC) would be hot on his wheel, coming in 2nd, with Colin Clavin (STCC) beating the main bunch to 3rd place.
Racing in some fine tropical weather
In the B’s, a steady race for the most part until Richard Lenehan (LSW) decided to try out a solo effort towards the end of the race but got caught with 100m remaining. Stephen Corroon (LSW), would take 1st place with Mark Nestor (LCRC) and Diarmuid Kealey (LaoisCC), finishing off the top 3.
How wet is wet?
The C’s would see an uphill sprint finish, after much of the race kept a steady pace. Riders opted to stick together and defend any attacks thrown their way. Barry Lavelle (EskerCC) would start an early sprint and take the bunch by surprise, taking 1st place. With Conor Quilty (SSCC) taking 2nd after sensing a podium spot on offer and digging deep to attempt to counter. Mick Quinn (LCRC) rounded up the podium slots, placing in 3rd.
This week we have the Longford CC hosting the race at the Enybegs Circuit. We're excited to see what the standings will look like after this week's race.
Round 5 - Enybegs
A week’s break for some and we’d be back to racing at Round 5 of OE Midland’s League. Perfect racing conditions set the scene for some GC upsets. With David Casserly (TCTC) being sidelined after picking up an unfortunate injury during the Ras. The 3rd place in the A’s would be up for grabs.
Forming a breakaway
Right off the start line, attacks would form with Stuart Cox (LSW) putting in some serious efforts to try and shake the main bunch before the hilly finish. Unfortunately he would get caught just at the start of the climb towards the finish line.
Uphill looks easy in the pictures
Shane Quinn (TCTC) seemed to have it all wrapped up as he made it to the false flat first. However, Mikey Flaherty (Lynx CC) would grab the win with Shane finishing second. Colin Clavin (STCC) took the final spot of the podium, securing some healthy points that would keep the 1st and 2nd place battle alive in the A’s group.
In the B’s race, the peloton kept a leash on any riders attempting to go on solo efforts. The final climb before the finish would split the bunch up with the natural climbers coming to the front. Padraig Moran (LSW) took 1st place with Matthew Flaherty (Lynx CC) finishing in 2nd and Mark Barrett (Lynx CC) rounded up the top 3.
Pain and all gain
The C’s would follow the same tactics seen in the B’s race. A fast and strong pace kept the bunch together, until the final climb, which saw Conor Quilty (SSCC) take the top place on the podium after a fierce battle with the two Esker riders, Richie McMahon (2nd) and Barry Lavelle (3rd).
With some serious efforts shown at last week’s hilly stage. The Kilbeggan circuit had a much calmer elevation that would favour sprinters the most. A slight descent into the finish gave way for some interesting results.
Having fun before all the chaos begins
An early attack from Stuart Cox (LSW) and Ruairi Woods (Lynx CC) would tire the main bunch a little, having to work together to try and catch the pair. Having done the damage early on, Stuart Cox (LSW) would take his first victory of the season, with a fantastic solo effort towards the finishing line.
Colin Clavin (STCC) would take 2nd place and a much needed 10 points. He leads the GC, ahead by just 1 point from Shane Quinn (TCTC). Mikey Flaherty (LynxCC) rounded up the top 3 in the A’s.
Tactics being discussed
An extremely strong turn out in the B’s with 26 riders taking part. The bunch would keep together for most the day, with some riders attempting some solo efforts that would quickly be caught back.
Neil McDermott (LSW) would take off with the last 300m to go. Beating Diarmuid Kealey (Laois CC) to first place, he has increased his lead in the GC significantly. Mark Barrett would finish home 3rd and round up the final spot on the podiums in the B’s.
The art of racing
In the C’s, the bunch would let some riders off towards the last 2 remaining laps. Keeping the pace up high, Lorna Farrell’s (Lynx CC) effort at the top of the chasing group would see all riders caught up together before the finish line. Shannonside dominated the podium places with Martin Kennedy taking 1st, Gile Byford in 2nd and Daniel Markows taking 3rd.
Laois CC would host round 7 of the OE Midland’s League. The stage profile made way to cause some GC upsets with a punchy climb as the main feature of the lap. As we got off racing under some calm weather conditions, we’d see some riders drop off the main bunch in the B’s and C’s.
In the A’s, Shane Quinn (LCRC) , Stuart Cox (LSW), Ruiari Woods (Lynx CC), Colin Clavin (STCC) and Adrian Carroll (TCTC) would form a break and keep the remaining A’s at bay until the finish. Woods would dominate the sprint finish ahead of Clavin and Carroll.
The B’s followed suit with a break forming and staying clear from the main bunch, orchestrated by Neil McDermott (LSW) and Diarmuid Kealey (Laois CC). It would all come down to a sprint finish with Kealey taking 1st place, McDermott in 2nd and Mark Barrett finishing in 3rd.
The C’s would see a small group of riders split from the main bunch within the last remaining kilometres. Colm McNally (LCRC) would finish 1st in a heated sprint with Mariuaz Lechicki (TCTC) taking 2nd and Richie McMahon (Esker CC) finishing in 3rd.
Round 8 - Mount Temple
Sunny spells blessed round 8 of the OE Midland’s League which would be hosted by Shannonside CC. Some of the GC contenders would be missing from the action. As we got the racing underway, a fast pace would be set, straight away.
A solo attempt from Stuart Cox (LSW) to spice things up in the first lap would see the A’s trying to catch him early. In the B’s David Lally (LSW) would attempt to breakaway putting in a 10sec gap from the main bunch.
The C’s would keep it nice and tidy. There would be some fantastic efforts made from riders who have been improving drastically over the duration of the league.
Gary Condell (TCTC) would dominate the A’s race with Enda Farrell (LCRC) finishing in 2nd place and Richard Lenehan (LSW) putting in a fantastic effort within the last 2km to split from the main bunch to claim 3rd place.
Seamus Killian (LSW) finished the stage first with the main bunch putting in a serious effort to try and catch him. Paul Cronin (LSW) would take 2nd place from Diarmuid Kealey (Laois in a heated sprint to the finish.
Mariusz Lechicki (TCTC) would see some redemption after last week’s stage with a sprint finish going his way. Colm McNally (LCRC) would finish 2nd and Barry Lavelle (Esker CC) would take third place.
Round 9 - Dalystown
On the hunt
Back on home soil for the Lakeside Wheelers who hosted round 9 of the OE Midland’s League. The weather would hold up until the finish, but would the riders? With a fast pace from the get-go. A small breakaway would form in the A’s. They would stay away from the chasers until the finish with Colin Calvin (STCC) securing a win over Ruairi Woods (Lynx CC) in the last few metres of the sprint finish. Adrian Carroll (TCTC) would take home third.
Fast pace being set in the B's
In the B’s, the riders kept a keen eye on their GC rivals, making sure to close down any attacks. With a sprint finish, the win would fall to Martin Kealey (Laois CC) with David Flaherty (Lynx CC) taking 2nd and Colm McNally rounding up 3rd.
The C’s would see some last minute getaways from Darren McCormack (STCC) and Ger Dooner (LCRC) who would ride to first and second place. Some upsets were to come as Martin Kennedy (SSCC) would be caught just before the finish by the remaining group of riders. Giles Byford (SSCC) would round up the podium places.
Sprint finishes can be heartbreaking
Round 10 - Streamstown
Rain, rain and lots more rain. That would be the weather forecast for the Streamstown round of the OE Midland’s League. Horrific conditions that were managed well by all the riders that participated.
Did someone order extra rain?
The action would be short and sweet for the spectators as most of the groups stayed together until the last few kilometres. In the A’s Stuart Cox (LSW) would go solo with a few hundred metres remaining. He would take first place with the bunch hot on his heels. Toss Kieran (LSW) would set up and beat Colin Calvin (STCC) to the line by about a bike’s length.
Keeping cool and calm
A small group would break the B’s with Matthew Flaherty (Lynx CC) leading the effort. He beat Michael Devlin (LCRC) to the line with Colm McNally (LCRC) taking 3rd place.
It's a good feeling when solo efforts pay off
Barry Lavelle (Esker CC) took matters into his own hands and put in a solo effort towards the end of the race. Darren McCormack (STCC) managed to hold Mairusz Lechicki off for second place as the remaining bunch rolled in.
Attacks followed just before the hillclimb as Mikey Flaherty (Lynx CC) went up the road. Lap after lap would see some digs being put in by riders but never fully sticking. Colin Calvin (STCC) would take advantage of riders slowly tiring out and make a solid sprint on the final lap. Adrian Carroll (TCTC) followed closely, taking second place with Matthew Flaherty securing the final step of the podium.
Colin Calvin takes first
The hillclimb was no problem to the B’s as they kept bunched up to a bunch sprint finish. Michael Devlin (LCRC) finished first. With Martin Kealey (Laois CC) taking a solid second and Matthew Flaherty (Lynx CC) rounding up the final slot of the podium.
Keeping the boys working, Lorna Farrell putting in a huge effort to chase back the C's breakaway
The C’s had some new riders on board from Kilteevan CC. A fast pace would see some great efforts being put in to try and drop the main bunch. A solid first performance in the league from Roger Farrell (Kilteevan CC) who took 1st place while Thomas Rafferty (Kilteevan CC) finished 3rd. They would get promoted to the B’s with the last few races remaining. Barry Lavelle (Esker CC) would take first place instead with Conor Quilty (SSCC) and Daniel Markowski (SSCC) being promoted to 2nd and 3rd.