By Tommy Campbell, The Irish Independent
After being launched in Milltown, County Clare by Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United last week, the new Murphy & Gunn/Newlyn Group head into action on Wednesday with five members of the team competing in the Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Giro del Capo in Wellington, South Africa.
Derek Burke, Andrew Roche, John O'Shea, John Dempsey and Conor Murphy, who won the opening race of the Irish season in Bray have a tough task ahead of them, competing against a field of 120, with 10 international and 14 local teams, over 600 kilometres. This will also be the start of their programme for the next six months, with the team making early inroads into the international arena, the only Irish team to do so until the FBD Milk Ras in May.
Back in Ireland, the Mick Cahill Cup in Banteer, County Cork and the Traders Cup in Dundalk both take place on Sunday, with early season events enjoying a marked improvement in numbers - a good sign for the year ahead. Last weekend's race winners Theo Hardwick (Cycling Pursuits Cup) in Broadford and Eugene Moriarty (Cycleways Cup) in Navan certainly took observers by surprise - Hardwick has been an absentee on the circuit in recent years and Moriarty always plays his cards in favour of the latter part of the season. Both are scheduled to line up in Banteer where the defending champion is Vincent Gleeson of the West Clare CC.