Keenan: “We beat the crap out of each other on the climb”

Posted on: April 18th, 2016

Aideen Keenan dives for the line to win the Gas Networks Ireland Visit Nenagh Classic yesterday. The Scott Orwell rider was runner-up to Eve McCrystal 12 months ago but made no mistake this time around (File photo by Sean Rowe)


By Brian Canty

Aideen Keenan has re-lived the moment she thought she’d messed up a perfect scenario in the Gas Networks Ireland VisitNenagh Classic yesterday.

The eventual winner was in a break of four coming to the line alongside her teammate Ciara Kinch, Orla Mantague (Dublin Wheelers) and Claire McIlwaine (Phoenix CC).

But Keenan found herself on the front approaching Nenagh – the last place she wanted to be.

“I led us into to the final corner,” she reflected.

“I was leading out the sprint and I remember thinking ‘we’ve messed this up massively’.

“But I remembered the sprint from last year and thankfully it worked.

“Claire (McIlwaine) is just back from the Isle of Man and Orla Montague is another who just really has it on the climbs so I knew I had to make it as hard as possible when we got away.

“I opened up and took it by a bike length in the end, it was just sheer relief.

“I knew I would never beat Eve last year when we came to the sprint but I’ve been working on it this year and it seems to have paid off,” she added.

Orwell Scott had eight in the race so knew they had a big numerical advantage and when Orla Hendron went in an early move and was joined by two more the plan seemed to be going accordingly.

Julie White (Black Rose) and Roisín Kennedy (Arcane Adamstown) joined Hendron and they weren’t seen again for 50 kilometres.

“I was happy enough with that,” said Keenan. “I thought ‘they’d take it to the 20-kilometre mark but the bunch didn’t do anything whatsoever.

“There were five from Lakeside Wheelers and in the end it was quite dangerous.

“They got to the 50k mark but we caught them on the second climb and then I knew the big guns would come out.”

As predicted the real racing began, with the riders going at it hammer and tongs up that incline.

“We just beat the crap out of each other on the climb and almost managed to drop Claire (McIlwaine) at the top of the third, but it wasn’t enough.”

Alas, the furious pace narrowed the group down to four and the combination was perfect; Scott Orwell had two, Phoenix CC and Dublin Wheelers with one each.

“We just drilled it, there were four of us and we worked together quite hard and opened up a gap.

“We knew we had to hold that or it’d be a bunch sprint – and I don’t think anyone wanted that.”