Racing Roundup
Brian Ahern’s tenure in the A2 ranks ended predictably quickly as he led the bunch in for second place in the Coombes Connor Memorial in Drogheda on Sunday.

Ahern’s performance was enough to carry him above the 15 ranking points necessary to move back up to A1 level just a month into his comeback to regular open racing and capped a great weekend for Orwell riders at the Drogheda Wheelers festival of racing.

Just a few bike lengths behind Ahern, first unplaced A2 was Gary McNulty who produced perhaps the single most meritorious performance from the club all weekend.

Ace galloper McNulty is on the foothills of a long climb back to full fitness after a series of health issues interrupted his 2010 season. With a back operation still pending, McNulty continues to show admirable determination to stay on the bike and his prize envelope on Sunday was just reward for his resilience.

Close behind McNulty, Colm Ahern made it a great double for his family with fourth unplaced A2 while Orwell member Shane Hurley was third A2 riding in Team Barnardo’s colours.

Orwell provided ten riders in the second round of the Louis Garneau and Joe Daly’s Women’s National League where Orla Hendron produced another strong finish to take fourth in the bunch dash to the line. Sandra Telford’s rise to prominence continued with seventh place.

Hendron is now third in the points standings after two events with Telford seventh and Aideen Collard, out of luck in Drogheda after falling foul of another rider in the wind up, now tenth.

Not surprisingly Orwell lead the team rankings and the squad will be eager to hang on to their lead in round three at Bohermeen next month.

Elsewhere on the senior race programme in Drogheda, Patrick Santini continued his upward graph as he took third A4 in Saturday evening’s Peter Bidwell memorial while Declan Quigley took the unplaced veteran’s prize in the Coombes Connor A3 race after finishing fifth in the bunch gallop behind a successful break of six.

The Drogheda Wheelers festival of racing was, by common consensus, a great success aided as it was by balmy weather and huge fields in all categories. The Ras na nNog is a must-do stage race for youth riders and Orwell riders were well represented in the prizes.

First year Under 16 Darragh Long starred in a 60-rider field that included an English national champion, emerging with a fine fourth overall at the end of three busy stages. After finishing fourth on Stage Two, Darragh led the bunch in for third on the final stage to erase the memory of his spectacular crash at the same venue 12 months previously.

Naoise Sheridan’s sixth overall in Under 12 was forged with improving results across the weekend, the summit of which was a fine fifth place on the final stage.

Rachael Kaye Mellor cleaned up all the girls prizes in the Under 14 category, finshing first on all stages on her way to topping the girl’s GC.

Elsewhere in County Louth, the IVCA took its popular league on one of its occasional sojourns away from the Meath-Kildare region for a Divided Mass Start triple header in Dundalk where Dave Tansey showed enduring good form with third in race two, two places in front of Leslie Walpole.

Coombes Connor Memorial
Drogheda, Sunday 10th April
A1/A2 - 115km
1, Martin O'Loughlin (Carrick Wheelers);
2, Brian Ahern (Orwell Wheelers);
3, Paul Dolan (Irish Road Club);
4, Aidan Crowley (U/A);
5, Gary Gorman (Stamullen RC);
6, Brendan Whelan (Lucan CRC).

Unplaced A2
1, Gary McNulty (Orwell Wheelers);
4, Colm Ahern (Orwell Wheelers).

A3 - 72km
1, Cormac Clarke (Newry);
2, Conor Mcilwaine (ECC);
3, Anto Moran (Ravens CRT);
4, Chris Greene (UA);
5, Keith Walls (Dectek);
6, David Wherity (Swords).

1st A4: John Priest (Staggs Lucan CRC);
1st Vet: Declan Quigley (Orwell Wheelers);
1st Junior: Sean Rigley (EuroCycles);

Louis Garneau and Joe Daly’s Women’s National League
Round Two,

Drogheda 10th April
1, Ciara Mulholland (Clann Eireann);
2, Sandra Fitzgerald (Lucan CRC);
3, Melanie Spath (Cycleways);
4, Orla Hendron (Orwell Wheelers);
5, Geraldine Gill (Bohermeen CC);
6, Sarah Piner (Lakeside Wheelers);
7, Sandra Telford (Orwell Wheelers).

Peter Bidwell Memorial
Saturday 9th April
Unplaced A4
3, Patrick Santini (Orwell Wheelers)

Rás na nÓg,
Drogheda April 9th and 10th
Selected Results
U16, Darragh Long (Orwell Wheelers): Stage 2, 4th; Stage 3, 3rd(1st in the bunch gallop); G.C. 4th Overall.
U14, Rachael Kaye-Mellor (Orwell Wheelers): 1st Girl on all stages plus G.C..
U12, Naoise Sheridan (Orwell Wheelers): Stage 1, 8th; Stage 2, 7th; Stage 3, 5th; G.C. 6th Overall.

Sunday 10th April
Race Two
1, Pat Halpin;
2, Michael Scully;
3, David Tansey (Orwell Wheelers);
4, Martin McGinley;
5, Leslie Walpole (Orwell Wheelers).