On the same day that Marcel Kittel sprinted to victory in Belfast, our own Bernard English did the same a little further south. Mark Mulcahy and Eamon Finn also placed at Dunsany, while earlier in the week Claire McEntee chalked up a superb time in Dundalk to take the Leinster 10TT title.

While normally the Dunsany GP is held on the same day as the classic Shay Elliot Memorial to give the lower categories an opportunity to race, this year it clashed with the grand occasion of the Giro d'Italia visiting the island of Ireland. Despite that, and the washout weather, around 50 eager A4s signed on to do battle around the Green Sheds circuit.

The inaugural Dunsany race - held in 2012 - is noted in the Orwell annals as the open début of Eric Downey. What many consider impossible in a flat A4 race happened that day - the break stayed away, mostly thanks to Eric's efforts. He was the driving force behind the move, before sprinting from about 350m out to take the win. Then last year David Halpin was at the front of the bunch gallop to make it two in a row with another flawless win, so there was some pressure for Orwell to perform today. Bernard English did not disappoint, securing a terrific triple for the club!

The usual early attacks went off the front, but nothing stuck in strong crosswinds. The wet conditions exacerbated the accordion effect on the corners and roundabouts, meaning good positioning in the bunch was paramount, and both English and Mark Mulcahy placed themselves near the front of the bunch as the race neared its conclusion in Dunsany and the speed rose accordingly.

Mulcahy had a prime spot for the final kilometre, sitting third wheel, when English launch his race-winning move with 400m to go - pulling out from about seven rows back and sprinting hard. He took the corner in third position, and kept his acceleration to pass those two riders and earn himself a fantastic victory.

Meanwhile Mulcahy had marked the riders behind, hitting the corner in about tenth position. Like English, he managed to increase his pace on the finishing ramp - passing riders left and right to almost take 3rd, but was pipped on the line by Swords McNally rider Paul Hunter.

With those results, both riders have earned themselves their upgrades to the A3 ranks. Currently CI have them listed as the top two A4 riders in the country, on 12 and 13 points. English adds his win to his early season result in Monasterevin, while Mulcahy has already earned points in Newbridge and Slane. With plenty of racing still left in the season, there's ample opportunity for the pair to start work on their path to A2!

Already an A3, Orwell's other prize winner of the day was Rás veteran Eamonn Finn. Like the A4 race, there were several attempts to form a break in the first half, but the elastic didn't snap until the fourth lap. Evergreen Eamonn managed to nab himself 7th place for his efforts, marking a welcome return to form in open racing.

Former Orwell woman Anne Dalton took the unplaced woman prize in the A3 race, while current member Ann Horan was first woman home in the A4 race.

L-R: English, Mulcahy and Finn at the prize-giving

Earlier in the week, Cuchulainn CC held the Leinster 10TT Championships as part of their time trial league. With the 10 miler acting as round one, 35 riders took aim at the title, but UCD's Colm Cassidy scorched home in 19'58" to take the overall.

For the women, Claire McEntee saw off local rider Celine McPhilips to win gold, beating her only rival for the title by nearly half a minute. The former triathlete has been making a name for herself on the bike this season, with a strong showing at the Des Hanlon to add to her testing results. She shares Rachel Glendon's coach in Eanna McGrath, and now can also describe herself as one of Orwell's golden girls!

Given the Giro madness, we missed last Thursday's league action - the first road race of 2014 took place at Brittas around the lakes. The Scratch riders were outdone by Eric Downey's fearsome strength, as the winner of last year's league came across the chalk solo, two minutes ahead of the bunch. Pat O'Brien took the bunch sprint, propelling him into the league lead. He was closely followed by David Halpin and Fionn Sheridan, with recent upgradees Stephen Barry and Bryan Geary rounding out the points.

The Limit race culminated in a bunch sprint, won outright by Conor Murnane. That's another notch on the seatpost for the youngster, following his R2 win in Corkagh Park. TT winner Frank Moriarty took 2nd, with 3rd and 4th going to Jules De Meester and Malcom Garland. Paul Tansey repeated his Corkagh placing of a fine 5th, while Keith Harte nipped in for the final prize.

We had several marshall no-shows on the night, which meant the race was in doubt. With just enough to cover the major junctions, it did go ahead, but suspensions have been handed out to those who failed to arrive. Remember, it is your duty as a member of the league to marshal races - just one or two across the entire year, so that we can run 21 events. If you cannot attend a particular night, it is your own responsibility to organise a replacement. Missing marshals jeopardise the safety of riders, and can prevent a race from going ahead if people don't show up for their slots. The roster is available in the main league spreadsheet at the right hand side of the page.


Leinster 10TT Championships, Dundalk (7/5/2014)

G Claire McEntee (Orwell Wheelers) 25'23"
S Celine McPhilips (Cuchulainn CC) 25'50"

Full results at www.cuchulainncc.com


Orwell League R6: Brittas Road Race (8/5/2014)

Race #1 (SS/S)
1. Eric Downey (S)
2. Pat O'Brien (S)
3. David Halpin (S)
4. Fionn Sheridan (S)
5. Stephen Barry (SS)
6. Byran Geary (SS)

Race #2 (L/SL)
1. Conor Murnane (SL)
2. Frank Moriarty (SL)
3. Jules De Meester (L)
4. Malcom Garland (L)
5. Paul Tansey (SL)
6. Keith Harte (SL)


Dunsany GP, Dunsany (10/5/2014)

A3/Junior Race
1 Mick Leonard (Lucan CRC)
2 Conn Mc Dunphy (Lucan CRC)
3 Keith Hughes (Bikeworx)
4 Damien Creighton (Blanch Wheelies)
5 Tony Bourke (Galway Bay)
6 John Walsh (Carlow RC)
7 Eamon Finn (Orwell Wheelers)
8 Ovario Di Bacco (Galway Bay)

Unplaced Juniors
1 Luke McVeigh (Clonard RC)
2 Daire Feeley (Donamon Dynamos)
3 Dermot White (Lucan CRC)

Unplaced Woman
Anne Dalton (DID Electrical RT)

A4 Race
1 Bernard English (Orwell Wheelers)
2 James Quinn (St Tiernan's)
3 Paul Hunter (McNally Swords CC)
4 Mark Mulcahy (Orwell Wheelers)
5 Lorcan McKenna (Navan Road Club)
6 Michael Mills (Navan Road Club)
7 Alan Kelly (Cuchulainn CC)
8 Brian Morrissey (McNally Swords CC)