By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
Paul O'Donoghue from the 'Garden County of Ireland' Wicklow is all set to re-establish the Irish end to end record for cycling from Mizen Head in west Cork to Loop Head in Northern Ireland - a distance of 390 miles! Joe Barr, no mean performer in his day, holds the current record of 19hrs 3mins set in 1993. Barr is a former international cyclist. As far as O'Donoghue is concerned, D-day is Sunday, June 19. What could play an important part in his bid are the elements. "I'm hoping for a strong tailwind the whole way," he said, as the conditions are something that will play the pivotal role.
Starting at 2am on Sunday morning when you and I are safely tucked in our beds, O'Donoghue and his team will cut lonely figures at Mizen head but hopefully by the time they reach Fair in Northern Ireland the place will be awash with people acknowledging his effort. The course has been mapped out by organiser Seamus Sullivan and takes Paul through Cork City, on up towards Mullingar, Dundalk, Banbridge and finishing at Fair Head at about 20:30 on the Sunday evening - hoping to knock 40mins or so off Joe Barr's 12 year-old record. Paul O'Donoghue is no stranger to long distance cycling and is the current Irish record holder for the 12 hour and 24 hour time trials, he is also a veteran of several other long distance endurance events such as Paris-Brest-Paris and London-Edinburgh-London. Paul has been training for almost two years for this attempt under the careful eye of Club Coach, Aidan Ryan and according to Aidan, "Paul has the right conditioning, the experience and the mental strength to break this difficult record, all he needs is a bit of good luck on the day."
O'Donoghue will be assisted by a number of members of his Sorrento Cycling Club, who will help marshal him through built up areas safely and of course provide food and mechanical assistance. An independent observer will also oversee the event. Thanks also go to Murphy & Gunn and Europcar for providing back up vehicles for the record attempt.