While Pat O'Brien unleashed his trademark sprint to take the Scratch race, the talk of the night was newcomer Greg O'Donnell's outstanding win from Limit.

There was a distinct lack of chill in the air at Corkagh Park, with sixty riders showing up to enjoy racing in the May sunshine, including several newcomers who took advantage of the amnesty window.

With three of those joining Limit for this round, that category's strength was perhaps higher than usual. Semi-limit failed to organise a proper chase, with the result that Limit stayed away until the close.

Several riders tried to get a break going from that group, with Michael 'Bling' Hanley making an aggressive effort out front over a few laps, but ultimately returning to the bunch. It was Greg O'Donnell's solo move that stuck, giving him a gap of over ten seconds at the line.

That's a great indication of strength for the late joiner, and he'll be straight up to Semi-limit to see if he can repeat the feat in next week's road race.

The sprint finish behind him featured gaps of bikelengths between riders, as seen in the video below. Graham Scanlon took 2nd from youth rider Sean Murnane, while vet Malcolm Garland repeated his result from last week to again snatch a fine 4th.

Strongman Gavin Moutray netted 5th, while Bling Hanley managed to recover from his earlier attack to take 6th ahead of the remnants of the Limit bunch.

Semi-scratch were given a fair handicap in the second race of the evening, but with several in the group pushing the pace and trying to get away, they began to shell riders, and Scratch eventually got on terms with a severely diminished bunch.

A late effort by Diarmuid Collins was countered by Brian McArdle, and when Bryan Geary bridged across, it looked for a moment that Brian and Bryan might take the top two spots.

The chasing bunch didn't allow it, with top sprinter Patrick O'Brien searing past to take the win, and Eric Downey pushing McArdle hard for silver. Downey had to settle for the bottom step of the podium however, and the night ended with the familiar sight of three A1s filling the top placings.

Recently upgraded Fionn Sheridan showed he's as able for Scratch as he was for Semi-scratch, scoring a remarkable third 4th spot in a row. Behind him, Liam Rowsome held off Brian Ahern for the last of the points.

A third of the way through the league so, and O'Brien has a 13 point lead at the top of the table, having placed in the top four of every event he's attended. Downey can boast the same, in third spot behind first year senior Sheridan.

David Swift provided this spectacular on-bike footage captured during the race

Next week we return to Brittas for another road race - please check the marshalling roster in the spreadsheet to see if you're on duty, and if so, get there early! The race notice is up on the forum.


Orwell League R7: Corkagh Park Criterium (15/5/2014)

Race #1 (L/SL)
1 Greg O'Donnell (L)
2 Graham Scanlon (L)
3 Sean Murnane (L)
4 Malcolm Garland (L)
5 Gavin Moutray (L)
6 Michael 'Bling' Hanley (L)

Race #1 (SS/S)
1 Pat O'Brien (S)
2 Brian McArdle (S)
3 Eric Downey (S)
4 Fionn Sheridan (S)
5 Liam Rowsome (S)
6 Brian Ahern (S)