Martin O’Loughlin has continued his seemingly always stellar run of form when he put rubber to road in the Corkman 3-Day which took place in Kanturk over the recent bank holiday weekend. O’Loughlin, who is twice a past winner of the race overall, (2007 & 2008), won the opening 90km road stage, took a very respectable third in the next morning’s 8km test against the clock, was first across the line again on the third stage and took another third on the fourth and final stage. All this was enough to earn him third overall, with current top junior rider Eddie Dunbar taking the second step of the podium and Blarney’s Kieran Crean winning the overall. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
If all you are interested in is results, then you can move on to another article, but if you are interested in a tale of true grit and sheer determination then put the kettle on. After a 1-3-1 on stages 1, 2 and 3 it was still all to play for the Carrick-on-Suir man who was eyeing up the yellow jersey for a third time in his career. However, the Gods of Grip were playing dirty. A small smattering of riders came down in front of him, and on the wet and slick roads it was inevitable that O’Loughlin was going to hit the deck. He managed to brace himself enough and limit any damage. It was as he was getting back up that the real damage was done. Another rider, coming from behind, ploughed into O’Loughlin from behind and he found himself once again on the ground, this time with damage done. Although he didn’t know it exactly at the time, that second impact had broken two of his ribs and dislocated one of his fingers.
Albeit being badly broken up, he wasn’t going to let “the best legs he’s had in years” go to waste. He remounted, regained his composure and rejoined the main bunch. It was apparent though that the damage had taken its toll. Speaking afterwards he said that he could really only pedal with one side of his body thanks to the two broken ribs. The fact that he even managed to finish the stage shows the sort of stuff the man is made of, let alone get back into the main bunch. It’s an especially amazing feat considering that he went on to take third on the stage finish, which is a brutal 500 metre uphill slog through Kanturk, (especially hard if you’ve only got one leg to pedal with).
Having started the year as and A3, winning on St. Patrick’s Day in Carrick-on-Suir got him up to an A2, and the hard weekend in Kanturk sees him now back on his perch as an A1, his natural hunting ground. But for now, it’s lots and lots of Avonmore’s best. Them bones, them bones need calcium.