Ronan McLaughlin emulates teenage Sean Kelly at Shay Elliott

Posted on: May 12th, 2019
Ronan McLaughlin has taken his second win in as many years at the Shay Elliott Memorial; the first rider to win it back-to-back since Sean Kelly.

Ronan McLaughlin has become the first rider since a teenage Sean Kelly to win back to back Shay Elliott Memorial races.

The Donegal rider broke clear today with Cian Keogh in the closing stages of the 2019 edition and then dropped him to win solo.

McLaughlin is riding for Dan Morrissey-MIG-Pactimo this year and won the race with the same squad, though under different sponsorship, 12 months ago.

Back then he arrived at the finish line with Matteo Cigala and they took a 1-2; McLaughlin crowned winner from the Italian.

Today, however, the result was even clearer; former An Post-Chainreaction man McLaughlin looking in fine form and taking a dominant victory.

Keogh (Ciclotel Travel YPB) claimed the runner-up spot behind him and Dermot Trulock of Lucan CRC rounded out the podium on the day.

McLaughlin was first over the top of the Glenmalure climb; leading the way from Keogh during what was a long range attack by the pair.

One of breakthrough men of recent seasons, Orwell’s Paul Forristal, chased the leading pair on his own for a period after the climb.

Then came a chase group that included, among others, Trulock, Mark Dowling (Unattached) and Richie Maes (Killarney CC).

With just 10km remaining the situation up front was nicely poised; McLaughlin and Keogh with just 30 seconds in hand over five chasers and another four riders a further 20 seconds back.

However, any hope that those behind would mop up the leaders and fight for victory was put to bed with McLaughlin attacked Keogh just before the descent of Callow Hill.

McLaughlin used all his experience and form to hold the gap; coming in solo for victory followed by Keogh solo for 2nd and Trulock winning the sprint from the chase group for 3rd place.

It was the first time in 44 years that anyone had won consecutive Shay Elliott titles; Sean Kelly winning at aged 17 years in 1974 and the following year.

It was Ronan McLaughlin’s second win of the year after he had won the North Pole Road Race on St Patrick’s Day.

He has been a constant in the results since the start of the season; a 3rd place finish on stage 2 of the Tour of Ulster last weekend showing his form was very good at present.

In the A3 race today – the Ken Duff Memorial – Will Ryan of Victus-NRPT-Chill took victory after a long-range solo effort saw him surge minutes head of the opposition.

More to come.