Joe-Nathan Matar finishes second on stage 3. (Pic Credit: Westport Covey Wheelers)

Pinergy-Orwell Wheelers’ Joe-Nathan Matar continued his blistering start to the season taking third overall and winning the white jersey at the first stage race of the year, Ras Mhaigh Eo.

Matar put in a strong ride on Stage 1 and the Stage 2 time trial, leaving him 13th overall going into the third and final stage and within touching distance of the yellow jersey. An aggressive final stage saw him get into a break with overall winner Daire Feeley.

Matar demonstrated how far he has come over the past twelve months by being one of three remaining from the break to contest the stage win. He finished second on the stage, running stage winner Luke Smith close right to the line, with Feeley having to settled for third on stage. The time gained on the final stage saw Matar move up into third overall and putting him into the white jersey for best A2/Junior rider.

Joe-Nathan Matar picks up his white jersey for best A2/Junior rider. (Pic Credit: Westport Covey Wheelers)

Killian O’Brien meanwhile rode strongly all weekend and was in contention right till the very end, finishing 13th overall. Patrick O’Sullivan likewise was a consistent threat throughout the race until a puncture and bike change on Stage 3 cost him time. Another Orwell rider to have a big weekend was Junior Ilie Gabuja who, having only started racing last weekend, was mixing it with the A1s and getting his first stage race under his belt.

Closer to home, a large Orwell contingent rode the Newbridge Grand Prix in wet and challenging conditions, where Sean O’Kane began his racing career in fine style, taking eighth place in the A4 race. An unusually aggressive opening saw the race splinter in the early stages with O’Kane among the instigators, riding away from the chasers in a strong break and scoring points in his first ever race.

Sean O'Kane (L) and David Fox (R) brave the elements at the Newbridge Grand Prxi (Pic Credit: Sean Rowe)