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New national records set at thrilling Cycling Championships in Dublin

Cycling

The Sundrive Velodrome played host to this year’s thrilling Cycling Ireland Senior Track National Championships over the weekend.

The two-day event was streamed on the Pundit Arena and Cycling Ireland Facebook pages as part of the Women In Sport initiative, supported by the Federation of Irish Sport and Sport Ireland.

Despite it being the first competition of the year for many of the riders, there was no shortage of intensity and drama in Dublin across the weekend.

cycling

Two national records were set in the women’s competitions with both Kelly Murphy and Orla Walsh impressing despite the tough conditions.

Murphy was the star of the show on day one of the competition, logging a time of 3.48.99 in the Women’s 3k Pursuit, beating the previous record of 3:49.19.

In the final later that day, she beat out her Irish Women’s Pursuit teammate Lara Gillespie to take home the gold medal, breaking her own national record. The 30-year-old beat her previous time, finishing in 3.47.452.

Cycling

“It feels really good”, Murphy said of winning gold.

“You’re not terribly certain of your form and everyone else’s form coming into these kind of things so it’s great to see where you are. It’s my favourite race.

“This year everyone is just grateful to get a ride in somewhere so it’s a little bit more relaxed. It’s a different kind of competition.”

That medal was the second of the day for Gillespie after she finished third in the women’s 200m sprint. The 19-year-old saw off Nikki Taggart in the bronze race, winning the first and third round of the best-of-three final.

Meanwhile, Orla Walsh began her weekend in style by claiming gold in that competition. After finishing as the fastest qualifier, Walsh took on Deirbhle Ivory in the gold/silver medal race with Ivory placing second in the qualifiers just 0.42 seconds behind Walsh.

It was a relatively comfortable finale for the NOPINZ SYMEC Race Team rider who won the opening two rounds against Ivory.

Day two opened with the women’s 500m time trials and it took just over 30 minutes for a new national record to be set. Walsh began her day as she finished the first, logging a time of 36.22, over two seconds quicker than second-placed Ivory. Nikki Taggart took home the bronze medal, finishing the event in a time of 38.71.

In the men’s Kilo TT, record-holder Eoin Mullen was crowned the national champion, recording a time of 1.07.05. Harvey Barnes from the East Tyrone Cycling Club was just over a second behind Mullen while Mullingar youngster Aaron Wade produced a very impressive race to finish in a time of 1.09.24 and claim the bronze medal.

cycling

The best was saved till last in this year’s championships with day two playing host to the women’s and men’s scratch races.

The women’s 10k event saw 14 racers taking to the track to complete their 22 laps. Jennifer Neenan set a strong pace early on before members of the Ireland Women’s Team Pursuit soon took control. Murphy, Gillespie and Mia Griffin found themselves in the leading group alongside Autum Collins of the LVIV Cycling Team.

Heading into the final sprint, Illi Bikes teammates Gillespie and Griffin battled it out for the top spot with the latter just nudging in ahead of Griffin to cap off a fantastic weekend with a gold medal, her third prize of the championships.

There was no shortage of drama in the men’s 15k scratch race either with 17 riders taking part. Mark Downey took home bronze for Ireland in the points race at the World Championships last year, and he quickly established himself in the leading group in his first event at the National Championships.

Conor Murnane, Andre Grennell and Lindsay Watson all raced well but Downey and Cian Keogh broke off from the pack to set up a battle to the line for the gold medal. After 33 laps, Downey just edged Keogh in the sprint finish to claim first place while Saturday’s pursuit winner Michael O’Loughlin picked up his second medal of the weekend, finishing third.

For a full list of all the results from this year’s championships, click here.

To watch back the coverage from the two days, click here.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.