By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
Months ago, Mayo Wheelers CC found themselves being snubbed when Cycling Ireland bypassed them in favour of Midleton CC for the Irish criterium championship. Then - out of the blue - in the last couple of weeks, a request to organise the Championships by Cycling Ireland landed on their desk via different routes.
Originally the championship was awarded to Midleton Wheelers CC when the fixture listing was being drawn up in the early months of the year. Admittedly at the time, Mayo Wheelers were disappointed at being overlooked for a prestigious event which is a real crowd puller, considering they had a superb course in the town of Westport, Co. Mayo. They resigned themselves to their fate, in the knowledge 'what goes around comes around.'
The championship was scheduled for the 5th of August in Midleton, but the hosting club mysteriously opted out. Between the jigs and the reels and without ceremony, Brian O'Loughlin and Joe McGuire of Mayo Wheelers will now organise the event on the 19th of August in the town of Westport.
The course the club intends using has been tried and tested within the town for many years. All the various authorities play their part whenever the need arises for a bicycle race in the locality. Even the local parish priest. Denis Carney is making a special dispensation by rearranging the Saturday evening Mass to facilitate the event which has a scheduled start of 7.30 in the evening of the 19th of August.
Eugene Moriarty of the Listowel Cycling Club has been successful in Westport in the recent past and is looking forward to the event. "If it is the same circuit that has been used in previous years, then we are in for a spectacular race," he said, nursing an injury which has him sidelined at the moment. "The crowds throng the streets and it certainly ups the tempo as far as the competitors are concerned."