Round 3 of O’Ceallacháin’s Beginners League got underway in gorgeous sunshine and virtually breezeless conditions last Monday. Thirty young talents signed their names on the sign-on sheet and began their warm-ups for the 6.6 mile race. A real credit to the crop of riders the league attracts, in previous years the field was split into a three lap event and a one lap event. This year however, there was no need for the one lap event. This is also very timely as the number of cyclists in Ireland is higher now than it was in the Kelly-Roche era in the 1980s.
As younger riders, this league is all providing an environment so that riders can learn the skills of bike riding on a Monday evening. Certainly that was the case in previous years. Upon observing the riders in action this year however, it is clear that very little honing of skill is needed as they were all very professional looking through the corners, and were well able to race in groups. This is by far the most impressive bunch of riders so far in all previous editions of the Beginner’s League, sponsored by O’Ceallacháin’s. The most impressive rider was Jack O’Donoghue, hailing from his front doorstep in Kilsheelan, who spent two and a half laps of the three on his own in the wind. Fortune favours the brave, but on this occasion the effort fell just short of the line and he went from leading the race to fifth in the closing stages of the last lap.
It’s very tight at the top, with winner on the night Darragh Hanrahan just pipping overall leader and virtual maillot jaune Jake Hanrahan. Third on the night was Killian McHale, who is second overall in the standings, just two points off the lead. With three weeks down, and three weeks to go it is still very much all to play for in terms of league standings. There is also still plenty of opportunity for newcomers to come out and enjoy riding their bikes.