By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
The Murphy & Gunn/Newlyn cycling team are certainly on a winning roll. The last two weekends have demonstrated that the sponsors have been shown the green light when it comes to clocking up results. The opposition they have encountered was strong, but they blew them away, particularly last Sunday when they won the most prestigious single day event on the Irish calendar, the Shay Elliott which lists as former winners some very distinguished competitors in their day.
Andy Roche, a former winner of the FBD Ras, coasted home to a well deserved victory in the race and now is looking forward to a tilt at the Ulster Three Day, scheduled for this weekend. Also on the team is Paul Healion, who at Easter won Ras Mumhan Credit Union.
According to Paul, "It's looking good for the team this weekend. The last two weeks have been top drawer stuff. Hopefully we can continue to show the sponsors that our aim is to keep clocking up those wins. With the FBD Insurance Ras around the corner, we have to continue the momentum."
Paul will renew rivalry with Martin O'Loughlin of the Dan Morrissey/Carrick Wheelers CC in Ulster this weekend. Both club teams are doing very well, but as already indicated the Murphy boys are in the driving seat. Paul and Martin were the principals in Munster over the Easter period and whereas Paul will have the might of the club behind him, Martin will be missing two key links in the chain of command. Timmy Barry and Rory Wyley are competing in the Tour of Turkey and this possibly will minimise Martin's hopes of outright victory, but a stage win is very likely. Interestingly, Martin took time out last Sunday bypassing the 'Elliott' as preparation for Ulster.
Kanturk Credit Union Cycling Club, which has been very instrumental in promoting the sport in Co. Cork, is promoting the Corkman Three Day over the Bank Holiday period. Organiser, Dan Curtin has waived the pre-entry deadline and those wishing to participate can do so, prior to the start on Saturday.
Down the years there has been great rivalry between themselves and the Killorglin boys, but on this occasion it looks as though the silverware will be heading across the border on Monday afternoon, courtesy of Theo Hardwick, who looks the clear favourite to win the event. Theo was an exceptional junior, but two years ago he opted out of the sport. This year he came back with a bang and is a favourite for this popular event, which has been making steady progress in the last number of years.
Also participating will be the winner of the Bertoni Gorey Three Day, Declan Byrne and no doubt he'll be keen to get another victory for his sponsor, the Dundrum Town Centre.