Ras Mumhan Weekend Race Report
After a hectic weekend of racing the time has come to reflect on one of the most prestigious and successful Stage Races in the Country, the Kerry Group Ras Mumhan promoted by Killorglin Cycling Club. Run in absolutely fantastic weather conditions it will be an Easter Weekend of racing which will evoke memories well into the future. One hundred and ninety six finely tuned athletes took to the start line to engage in a battle with their fellow competitors, a battle of epic proportions, I might add which is a test of physical strength and endurance and of the preparation, time, and dedication committed by these riders for the event.
Our first Stage took in the Sliabh Luchra stage around the roads of East Kerry on the 75km mark a group of 11 riders went clear including Kerry riders Sean Lacey and Cathal Moynihan also included in this group were our longstanding visiting team West Fresia riders Tino Kaakman and Sjors Dekker frantic efforts by the peloton to reduce the 1 minute and 44 seconds lead of these riders proved to be in vain, in the run up to the finish is was the West Fresia rider Sjors Dekker and Tralee BC club rider and former rowing olympian Cathal Moynihan who made a cunning tactical jump away from the break away group on the outskirts of the town on the run in to the traditional finish at the top of the hill. In a brilliant finish it was Kerry rider Moynihan who took the stage with 8 seconds to spare over Sjors Dekker.
On Saturday the riders traveled to Kenmare for the stage start which took in the category one climb of the Healy Pass and its breath taking scenic views amongst five other categorised climbs, although the riders in contention may not have had the energy to take in the scenery it was a magnificent spectacle for the many spectators which lined the climb, a Killarney Cycling Club human sized Easter bunny donned in club apparel on the climb added to the atmosphere and was reminiscent of the crowd antics seen on the climbs in the continental events.
Stage two saw Dylan Foley of Irish Devlopment Riders take the stage and saw team mate Sean McKenna move into Yellow from previous days yellow jersey winner Moynihan who did his best to hang onto the jersey but had ultimately lost too much time, fellow Kerry rider Sean Lacey moved into second on GC standings.
Sunday saw the event take to the traditional loops around South Kerry once described by the legendary Philip Cassidy as “the finest road racing stage in Ireland” starting in Waterville and organised by the South Kerry fraction led by Michael O’Sullivan with military precision, who I might add should be commended on on his inept ability to recycle stewards on this complex route. It was Kerry’s own Eugene Moriarty who got the racing going launching a furious attack from the start he was eventually reeled in by the peloton which by this stage had set a blistering pace a group of seven then went clear but were also reeled in by 20km mark at the first KOH which was the catalyst in splitting the bunch. After some really aggressive riding a group of ten emerged by the time they reached the climb on Valentia they had a time gap of two minutes and ten seconds on the 70 strong bunch containing the yellow jersey who was hot in pursuit, within this time a chasing group of four had evolved including mechanically grief stricken Dutch rider Harry Sweering of the West Fresia team who had been one of the ten breakaways but was now destined to join his team mate Robert Jan Mol in the chase group consisting of Damian Shaw and Sean Lacey. They were absorbed by the bunch at Portmagee. By Ballinaskelligs Sjors Dekker had made an attach on his fellow breakways by the 20km to go mark Dekker’s 20 second advantage had evaporated due to some strong chasing by the breakaways within the 10km to go mark repeated attacks ensued but all to no avail the breakaways came into Waterville with a gallop to the line Paidi O’Brien taking the stage victory in spectacular style with Cathal Moynihan second and Eugene Moriarty third. Paddy Clarke took the yellow jersey from Mark Dowling and with less than 3 minutes separating the first fifteen riders it was all to play for on Mondays Stage.
A change in weather conditions greeted the riders on an overcast but dry Easter Monday morning for the concluding stage. Over night Dowling had conceded the yellow Jersey to Clarke but they were level on time, the peloton took to the road at 10am for the final stage encompassing three laps of the Beaufort Killorglin circuit and ten laps of the Donal McKenna finishing circuit. With it all to play for on the final day and the yellow jersey was there for the taking the racing commenced at a ferocious pace attack after attack was launched on the circuit a number of minor crashes on the larger circuit evidence of the tension within the bunch for placings with three laps completed the riders moved onto the finishing circuit at which point four breakways were being followed by a chase group containing Mark Dowling with the yellow jersey Paddy Clarke at one point 30 seconds behind in the main bunch, at 5 laps to go the chase was really on now but to no avail Brian McCrystal rounded the final corner he took to the hill with conviction cheered on by a record crowd watching the event to become the final days stage winner of Kerry Group Ras Mumhan with Anthony Walsh second and Owen James BH Solidor. WAM youth third. Overall victory of Kerry Group Ras Mumhan went to Mark Dowling in a time of 11.46’15” with Patrick Clarke Liquidworx Fitscience second at 12″ and Sjors Dekker third at 15″
Overall it was a fantastic weekend of racing and a fantastic event run by the club full list of results and sponsors can be seen on the Ras Mumhan website. We would like to thank everyone for their support with the event particularly our title sponsor Kerry Group as our event secretary has previously stated, Kerry Group is the top sporting sponsorship brand in the country and the fact that they are continuing their sponsorship and association with the event is a big statement that the event is continuing to go from strength to strength.
Our club riders preformed particularly well over the weekend the team consisted of Jamie O’Shea, Micheal O’Shea, Edward the “Rock” Casey and our three guest riders Damien Roche, Neil Long, and Stuart Cox all above mentioned put in sterling commitment all weekend long and should be commended on their efforts.
Our stage managers were meticulous in their approach to the event as was our Safety Officer Dan Aherne. The technical director of the race Micheal Concannon again illustrated his vast knowledge of the county roads and beyond with with his usual yet unassuming flabbergasting ability to regurgitate town lands, hinterlands, and localised affectionately named points on the stage routes with relative ease.
Ably assisted by the event secretary Mary Concannon who puts in unseen trojan work to this event was unfortunately not with us for the full duration due to a family bereavement we offer our sincerest condolences.
To the neighboring clubs who provided stewarding for the event we are very grateful for your support often a thankless job it is one of the most important jobs in my eyes for a safe and successful event. To the motorbike marshals, Civil Defence Crews, An Garda Sciochanna, lead car drivers Ambulance Personnel, and Race Doctor without your support we would not be able to run this event.
The riders were greeted at the sign on every morning by a family combination duo/trio of Catriona O’Shea, Sinead O’Shea and Catherine O’Shea with Gene O’Shea completing the family association with the event driving one of the commissaires cars.
Our race finish crews consisted of core group Rory McGillicuddy, Morgan O’Sullivan, Peter Horgan, Paul Walker,Helen Horgan,Brendan O’Sullivan, Daniel Horgan, Noel Doyle assisted by numerous other volunteers throughout the four days whom I may have not mentioned but we thank you sincerely.
To the riders without you and your caliber of racing the event would not be the success that it is. It is a great combined effort by the club members for our club to host an event of this stature and you are a credit to yourselves and we look forward to many more Ras Mumhan to come.
Our next club event will be the Humpy Hundred on the 18th of May so please keep this date in your diary’s. On the racing side of things we had another great result for club A4 rider Flor O’Mahony finishing 7th in the race in Galway on Sunday last well done Flor.
Hopefully more good club fortunes to report shortly
Yours in sport