Irish active on several fronts

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

The Cycleways.Com outfit is certainly keeping Irish cycling to the fore in Britain of late. On Sunday, the team will be in Lincoln for the Grand Prix against top class opposition, not only from British teams, but there will also be representative teams from the European Union.

Meanwhile on the Irish domestic front, the provinces of Munster and Leinster go head to head this Sunday. Heading the bill in Leinster is the Coombes Conor Memorial, whilst in Munster it is headlined by the Tommy Sheehan Memorial. Both races are inexplicably linked as they commemorate the unselfish support of two renowned cycling personnel who gave of their all to the sport of cycling.

The Coombes Conor race in Drogheda will certainly get the bulk of wannabe winners from the north of the border and those inside the Pale.In the Tommy Sheehan race which will be held in Carrick-on-Suir, they will have an added bonus of round four of the Women's Classic League.

The League to date is being led by Julie O'Hagan of the All System/Dublin Wheelers club. Julie was in Belgium recently for the launch of the Sean Kelly Academy in Merchtem, Belgium, where budding male and female cyclists who want to taste the racing in that country and the neighbouring countries will base themselves. "I have to say that this facility which will cater for both sexes is a welcome development on behalf of Cycling Ireland and particular thanks must go to the 'man himself' Sean Kelly, who along with Kurt Bogerts, is fronting this unique operation," said Julie.

Heading up the modus operandi in Carrick will be Paul Lonergan. "Unfortunately, we will be thin on the ground this Sunday as a number of our top cyclists are racing abroad in the Tour of Turkey, and Rory Wyley, the leading competitor in Cycling Ireland's rankings, will be at a family function. Still I feel that Brian Truman, Martin O'Loughlin and find of the season, John Dempsey, are quite capable of doing the club proud.

"John Dempsey had a good Tour of Ulster last weekend with a stage win, but unfortunately he just did not have the legs to be able to suppress the fitness of David McCann who went on to win the event overall.

"Still, John triumphed over David in the Credit Union Ras Mumhan at Easter. So, now it is equal pegging as far as stage races are concerned. Unfortunately McCann will be an absentee for the FBD Insurance event in two weeks time, but who knows he may do a U turn and make himself available to compete, like he did last weekend. The word was McCann would be away with his team Giant Asia on the other side of the globe last weekend," said Paul.

The Coombes Connor event is scheduled for midday whilst the Tommy Sheehan is out of the blocks at one o'clock.

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