2006: Good start for Swords riders!
All in all a satisfactory opening weekends racing for Swords riders. Saturday saw a larger than expected field, with 176 signing on, to brave the elements in the Bray Grand Prix. Stephen Halpin seems to continue where he left off , with some great results over the Christmas, and was in fighting form in his first race proper of the 2006 season. Himself and Isaac Speirs (Avonmore) countered an early move and found themselves in a five man break in the company of three Murphy-Gunn riders after 5 miles. These 5 worked together well with the two Juniors more than holding their own and by Rathnew word filtered back to the main bunch that the advantage held by the break was up to 2 minutes. However when the break hit the carriageway on the way in, they were battling a very cold headwind and with serious moves coming from behind their days were numbered. A strong group of 8, mostly A riders, got across to and went straight through the main bunch of Vets, Cs and Juniors. This group of 8 contained eventual race winner Conor Murphy (Murphy-Gunn) and and our own Sean Rock riding his first race as a senior. This group bridged across to the break and indeed another Swords rider, Kevin Donagher, did well in managing to get across with them. Then there was a slight stall in hostilities allowing some of the main bunch to get back on before Conor Murphy took off into the wind to solo to victory with enough time to savour the win , before Colm Bracken (Kilcullen CC) showed he is still the man to beat in the sprint taking the gallop. Despite being in the break most of the day, Stephen still managed to take the 1st Junior pot. Check out Peter Puirfields excellent photos on IrishCycling,com. They tell their own story.
On Sunday, our club was kindly invited to take part in a Dublin Wheelers training race over 3 laps of the Green Sheds circuit. This was run on a h/cap basis and the race was pretty much together on the final lap. Sean Rock made a brave bid for victory with a solo effort from about five miles out. When he was reeled in Stephen Halpin and Brian Taffe (DWCC) countered and got clear with a little over a mile to go. They maintained a gap to the finish with the feisty Haplin taking the sprint for his first win of the season. Sean Rock, another rider obviously to watch this season, despite the earlier effort took the bunch sprint for 3rd with his auld fella 1st Vet.
Elsewhere Brian Crinion placed 3rd in the Limerick Duathlon, being beaten into 3rd by 1 sec, and 20 sec back on the race winner.