Pinergy – Orwell Wheelers is proud to announce a strong five man team for this year’s Rás Tailteann. Padraic O’Flynn, Cahir O’Higgins, Mark McKinley, Loughlin Campion, and Aimhirgin O Brannagain will compete over five gruelling stages of this year’s race.

The race starts in Navan on Wednesday, May 17, and will wind its way across the country before finishing next Sunday, May 21, in Blackrock, Co. Louth (full route here). If you can at all, come out and cheer for our team at the start, the finish, or anywhere along the way. Nothing lifts the spirits of a Ras rider more than support from a familiar face.

Padraic O’Flynn started racing four years ago and in that short period of time has become one of Orwell’s strongest riders. Padraic is riding his first Ras.

“I’m not a sprinter and not a climber on hills beyond 10 minutes! I mostly enjoy racing on rolling terrain with short steep climbs. I’m much looking forward to the Ras. It’s a privilege and delighted to be representing Orwell at this year’s event”.

Having made his debut last year at the grand old age for 47, Cahir O’Higgins is back for more this year.

“I started cycling and swimming to rehab a minor fracture in my lower vertabrae, initially with swimming and then cycling. I represented Ireland as a triathlete in European championships (age grouper racing.) I started taking endurance sport seriously after that, so switched to cycling. I was 50th in Grand Fondo World Championship in my category last year. The plan is to improve that stat by 49 places this year!”

“Initially I was more sprinter in A4 and A3 but as I've moved up the categories, I’m not competitive in the sprints so most wins have come from solo attacks or from the break”.

Mark McKinley is competing in his third Ras, having ridden in 2009 with his home club Newry Wheelers and again in 2010 with the Irish National Team.

“I’m looking forward to going back as I’ve planned to go back a few times but just didn’t work out unfortunately. I’m delighted to go back with a club as prestigious as Orwell Wheelers with their experience and history in Irish cycling".

“I’ve two small kids and a third on the way later this year so it feels like now is a good time for me as ever. My wife has been super supportive in my training for this year”.

Another man who is lining out for the second time is Loughlin Campion, having made his debut last year.

“I'm a primary school teacher from Ashbourne, Co. Meath. I started cycling in 2018 with my local club, Ashbourne Wheelers CC, after many years of running and competing in athletics with Dunboyne AC. I started bike racing summer of 2019 and I haven't looked back since. Last year I had a good season overall which included a debut Rás as a guest rider for Moynalty CC".

“This year I have been racing with the All Human-Velorevolution Racing Team. I enjoy the challenge of racing and I'm always hoping to improve where I can as a bike rider. This year's Rás starts in Navan which is where I started racing the Navan Road Club league, four years ago. I'd like to thank Orwell Wheelers CC for the opportunity to ride with them as a guest. I'm looking forward to representing a club with such rich history in Irish cycling”.

Making his debut in the Ras is Aimhirgin O Brannagain. From Castlebellingham, Co. Louth, the 27 year-old is studying in UCD and is about to graduate as a physiotherapist. Hopefully his skills won’t be needed by the team during the race!

“It’s an honour and a privilege to represent a club with such a significant history in Irish cycling. I will do my utmost to represent myself and the club to the best of my ability”.

The team will be managed by Yvonne Doran, one of Orwell’s most experienced racers and a veteran of multiple Ras na mBan. Yvonne will be ably assisted by a dedicated support crew, who include mechanic and Orwell old boy Conor Murnane, legendary soigner John Walsh (apparently some riders will only do the Ras if John is on the team), and feedzone co-ordinator Luke Potter