“I want to ride for Ireland; go as far as I can. You have to believe”

Posted on: September 4th, 2015

Eimear Moran celebrates after blitzing the field to win the rain-soaked Suir Valley criterium over the August Bank Holiday weekend. The Tullamore woman has made a stunning entrance to the world of track racing and is hopeful of being brought into the Irish track setup. (Photo: John Coleman)


By Brian Canty

Eimear Moran said she was “surprised” to have won four gold medals at the National Track Championships in Dublin last weekend.

The 30 year-old Tullamore woman won the 3km pursuit by a staggering 14 seconds, the 200m TT – setting a new national record – along with the 500m TT and 10km scratch race.

And having only ridden on the track as an experiment for the first time last November she’s hopeful her results can put her into contention for a place on the elite women’s track squad.

“It was a great weekend, I was surprised really. You just have to believe, put your head down and keep going.” no-nonsense approach.

Cycling Ireland’s women’s coach Orla Hendron is the person who first introduced Moran to the track after inviting her to a junior camp in the Netherlands just 10 months ago.

“I went to Alkmaar in November with Orla and the junior track squad only because there was space left on the team for one more.

“We headed over for the weekend and I loved it. At the time, I was finishing up with rowing and I wanted a new sport.”

Before her late conversion to cycling, she enjoyed a successful international rowing career.

“A lot of people said I should be good because Caroline Ryan and Sinéad Jennings had made similar transitions to cycling from rowing and did well.”

Moran was then recruited for Sunday winter training rides by the Sundrive track team and in February of this year she joined the club.

One member of the club, Paul Armstrong, was living in Poland and he invited the club out for a camp and it was there where Moran decided she’d a new-found passion.

The training increased until the summer when the eight-week Wednesday night summer league started and that led into another eight-week Autumn league.

It took a few sessions for Moran to grasp the difference between the steady effort required by rowing compared to the stop-start nature of bunch racing on a track.

“It was very different to what I’ve been doing for the last 19 years,” she said in reference to her almost two-decade dedication to the boat.

“The group racing took a bit of getting used to; there’s fast bits and slow bits whereas I was used to a steady effort.

“I found the constant changes hard to get used to but as regards what I loved about it was it was specific.

There were no cars and the people I was training and racing with were great and really helped me along.”

To date, she’s competed in just four track meets; the keirin and team sprint nationals, the omnium national championships, the international day at Sundrive and last weekend’s nationals.

Having won two national medals in team events earlier in the summer she brought her tally to six last weekend.

“I want to go as far as I can with it,” she said.

“I need to start looking at international races to get more experience with regard to racing and tactics.

“Hopefully I can get on the track squad, that would be a goal.”

If her rowing career was anything to go by, Cycling Ireland could do a lot worse than getting her onboard before the winter campaign of World Cups start.

“Rowing gave me some great days but track is now my first love,” she said of her international rowing career.

“I’ve always loved sports, I played everything but rowing took over for me when I was 13.

“I competed in my first international race at 14 at the junior European championships and we got silver in the quad event. That still ranks as one of my best ever results.”

She’s had quite a few big days and big results like that, such as winning the British national championships – elite women’s double sculls – while in University there.

She folliwing following it up by winning the Irish national championships, made all the more sweeter by the fact her sister Joanne was in the boat with her.

In total, she has won 15 national rowing titles.

“I’ve no regrets looking back on it, aside from not making the team for the world championships last year.

“It didn’t work out and I was gutted over that, really disappointed, but you have to move on.”

Watch this space.