By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
The Ras Connachta gets under way at the village of Cong, Co. Mayo this Friday for three days of competitive racing on virtually traffic-free roads in one of the most scenic areas in the country. Racing gets under way at 6 o'clock and intending competitors are warned to allow plenty of time for travelling.
Race organiser Brian O'Loughlin said, "We are anticipating a good entry. Since the first running of the race, we have been fortunate enough to attract a very competitive and quality field. Last year, the outright [win] after three days of racing went right down to the wire with Tommy Evans shading it by a mere four seconds. It was great for the event and spectators alike," said O'Loughlin. The event will be sponsored by Thistlewood Holdings.
Morgan Fox (Murphy & Gunn/Newlyn Group) and Stephen O'Sullivan (MyHome.ie/Cyclewayus.com) have indicated their preference for the Co. Mayo venue as they prepare for a couple of stage events abroad. David McCann, who recently won the National Road Race title, could be in the field. In the last twelve months, Co. Mayo has been a happy hunting ground for the Giant-Asia professional.
The inaugural staging of the Betty Darcy Memorial in Gorey, Co. Wexford, is an alternative to the racing in Cong. The race starts at twelve o'clock. Race favourite, Robert Kelly of the Comeragh CC will hope to make up for the back luck he had last Sunday in Enniscorthy. He made what looked like a winning move on a 180-degree bend, but crashed on the greasy surface. Enniscorthy winner Fox took full advantage of Kelly's misfortune to solo to victory after a very testing 66 miles.