Mixed emotions as big Irish team named while another cancelled

Posted on: May 18th, 2019
Darren Rafferty of Island Wheelers has ridden very well in cyclocross in England and now gets his chance on the road at the European Youth Olympics (Photo: Toby Watson)

There was mixed emotion for Ireland’s best riders youth riders in recent days as the Youth Olympic selections were named but another international outing was cancelled.

The good news for six of Ireland’s best U16 riders is that they secured selection for the European Youth Olympic Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, in July.

Those selected will represent Ireland in the road races and TTs; in an international multi-sport championship.

Selection for these Games is the biggest of the year and the selected riders have secured their places on the basis of performances in qualifying events on the home scene.

In the girls team is Caoimhe May (Scott Orwell), Aoife O’Brien (Lakeside Wheelers) and Erin Creighton (McConvey Cycles).

The reserve ride in the selection, and who will travel if any of the others is unavailable for any reason, is Katie Neill (Carn Wheelers).

Ireland will be represented in the boys’ events by Darren Rafferty (Island Wheelers), Adam Gilsenan (Bohermeen CC) and Mark McGarry (Dungarvan).

The reserve for the boys’ line-up is Ronan O’Connor of south Dublin club Scott-Orwell.

Caoimhe May (Scott Orwell) was top of the U16 girls rankings after the selection races. England may be off this weekend for the Irish teams, but May has her seat on the plane and her Irish jersey reserved for Baku in July.

Points for qualification were collated at the PJ Logan, Rás na n’Og and the Kanturk Two Day.

The three riders named for the girls and boys team for Baku, and the reserves for each team, came out on top; the leading four in the standings on the basis of the qualification races.

Those four and two more U16s on both the boys and girls teams – who were next in the rankings – were due to race for Ireland in a series of events this week in Shrewsbury, England.

Unfortunately, that trip to England has been cancelled and so the girls and boys six-rider teams don’t get to represent Ireland this weekend.

Ben Murphy (Sliabh Luachra) and David Shine (O’Leary Stone Kanturk CC) were both due to join the Baku selection and reserve rider on the Irish U16 team in Shrewsbury this weekend.

And Annie Roche (Scott Orwell) as well as Emma Smith (Navan RC) were due to join the girls Baku team and reserve rider as the U16 girls team this weekend.

As well as the U16 Irish teams due to ride in England this weekend, there was also set to be two U14 Irish teams in action; a boys selection and a girls selection.

The U14 girls’ team that had been picked for England this weekend was made up for the following riders:

Aine Doherty (VC Glendale), Shauna Finn (Newcastle West CC), Lucy Browne (Phoenix CC), Katie Reilly (Orwell Wheelers), Mia Smith (Waterford RC) and Hannah Hayes (Comeragh CC).

And the U14 boys’ Irish team who had been due to race in Shrewsbury this weekend was:

Quillan Donnelly (O’Leary Stone Kanturk CC), Ryan Fox (Orwell Wheelers), Sean Tarrent (O’Leary Stone Kanturk CC), Ewan McConville (O’Leary Stone Kanturk CC), Darragh Doherty (Inishowen CC), Stephen Sheehan (O’Leary Stone Kanturk CC) and Hayden Power (Comeragh CC).

Cycling Ireland announced the cancellation of the two U16 Irish teams and two U14 Irish teams for Shrewsbury, citing problems with the organisation of the races on the English end.

“The race organiser contacted us this morning to inform us that entries had been adversely effected by a rescheduled round of the Midlands MB league, which now clashes with their event,” it said midweek.

“Due to low numbers of pre-registered riders in some of the events we couldn’t risk taking teams to race in weaker fields and so have decided to call off the trip.”

The national governing body added it was hopeful of organising another trip abroad for the teams after upcoming school exams are over.

If that proves to be the case, it would mean those who have gained national selection would still get to race in the green of Ireland this season.