Hennebry hails team display after joining quality list of Des Hanlon winners

Posted on: March 31st, 2019

Conor Hennebry Des Hanlon

Conor Hennebry was delighted with his Des Hanlon Memorial win in Co Carlow; his third victory of the year coming after his team took control of the latter stages of the race (All photos courtesy Sean Rowe)

 

One of the Irish riders who has perhaps missed out on international action due to the squeeze in pro cycling, Conor Hennebry has been making up for it on home roads.

While a former An Post-Chainreaction rider, he was caught out when the team stopped and that route from the home bunch to the international pro peloton was closed off.

But far from wallow in his misfortune, Hennebry has been winning all around him in recent years.

And that march around Irish cycling to stamp his name on all the big trophies continued yesterday when he was best at the Des Hanlon Memorial.

 

Darnell Moore leads the chase after a couple of small groups had gone clear before the final scenario would take shape.

 

It’s an event that most of the greats of recent decades have won; Raphael Kimmage, Robert Power, Stephen Spratt, Billy Kerr, Ciaran Power, Brian Kenneally, Ian Chivers, Tommy Evans among them, to name but a few.

And now Hennebry has carved his name into that list, added to by Sean McKenna twice and Darragh O’Mahony the past three years.

And yesterday he told stickybottle while he won on his own; it was very much a team performance.

His Dan Morrissey-MIG-Pactimo team stacked the escape group. It had no fewer than four riders in the move even after attrition had taken its toll and trimmed it back a little.

“It was a hard race, very fast for the first couple of laps,” said Hennebry of what is one of the biggest races on the home scene.

“I tried to get into a couple of moves but couldn’t get across to them and it came down to who could get up the hill (Bilboa) the fastest at the end.

“It was pretty full on up there every time but I was in the front group coming over the hill the last time, and had a couple of team-mates with me.

“So I gave it a go on the descent and held the gap to the line, with the guys doing a bit of a marking job on the rest of the chase. I’m delighted to get the win in such a massive race.”

 

Dillon Corkery did not make an impression on the final result, but his time will come in the weeks and months ahead.

 

As well as Hennebry the team also put Sean Hahessy, Ronan McLaughlin and James Curry in the breakaway group.

And though Conor Hennebry ran out the winner; it could have been any of them. In the closing stages Hahessy broke clear on his own. He looked like he might have won it but was recaptured.

Curry won the sprint for 2nd place and McLaughlin, already a winner this year, placed 5th after playing the team role.

While the race, with a huge field of well over one hundred men, was marked by plenty of early aggression, the attacks initially failed to stick.

On the first of three passages up through Bilboa the field began to fracture with the team of the eventual winner doing much of the damage.

 

Worlds and Europeans medal winner JB Murphy leads a small group off the front with eventual race winner on his wheel.

 

One decent group went clear on that opening lap but with plenty of riders still on contention it was brought back.

And when what would prove to be the winner escape got clear at the start of the second lap, Hennebry wasn’t in it.

But through Bilboa for the second time he got clear with Mark Dowling (Unattached) and Craig McAuley (Caldwell Omagh).

The enlarged group worked well together and pulled up a gap, with the move whittling down to about eight by the last time out of Castlecomer.

Hennebry was among the survivors with his three team mates. Also present was Moore and Conor McCann; the BioRacer-DHL-FR Services man who won the McCann Cup last weekend.

 

James Curry sprints in on the far left for 2nd place from Moore and McCann. McLaughlin celebrates his teams 1-2 at the end of such a tough contest.

 

Dowling was also present, along with track international Marc Potts (Unattached) and Ronan Killeen of Lucan CRC.

While Hahessy managed to get clear and open up a gap, the breakaway still had the power to bring him back.

And he was recaptured even though his team mates were marking the attacks that went off the front of the chasing group after him.

He was caught before Bilbao for the third and final time and on the descent of the grotto Hennebry managed to get clear and held a gap all the way to the line.

Behind him, Moore and McCann got clear with Curry and McLaughlin for company. Then came a small gap back to Hahessy, Dowling and Potts, followed by another gap to Killeen on his own.

And that’s how it stayed; Hennebry winning solo with Curry taking the sprint for the runner-up spot from Moore, McCann and McLaughlin.

 

Sun, March 31: Des Hanlon Memorial Classic

Promoted by Carlow Road Cycling Club

A1-A2 Men’s Race

  1. Conor Hennebry Dan Morrissey-MIG-Pactimo
  2. James Curry Dan Morrissey-MIG-Pactimo
  3. Darnel Moore Caldwell Cycles Omagh
  4. Conor McCann BioRacer-DHL-FR Services
  5. Ronan McLaughlin Dan Morrissey-MIG-Pactimo
  6. Sean Hahessy Dan Morrissey-MIG-Pactimo
  7. Mark Dowling Unattached
  8. Marc Potts Unattached
  9. Ronan Killeen Lucan CRC
  10. John Brosnan Killarney Cycling Club
  11. Paul Kennedy Newcastle West CC
  12. Fintan Ryan Kingspan Track Project
  13. Donal Shearer Phoenix CC
  14. Damien Shaw Strata 3-VeloRevolution
  15. Tom Shanahan Limerick Cycling Club
  16. Tiit Talumaa St Tiernan’s Cycling Club
  17. John Buller Dan Morrissey-MIG-Pactimo
  18. Richie Maes Strata 3-Velorevolution
  19. Conor Murnane UCD Cycling Club
  20. Ryan Reilly Dan Morrissey-MIG-Pactimo

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