After catching up with the women's incredible haul of medals, it's time to turn our attention to the feats of the men, with Neal Hudson getting on the A2 podium in the Wexford 2 Day, then grabbing gold in the Leinster Hill Climb. Conor Murnane brought home bronze for the Junior cat in that event, while back in Wexford Stephen Barry put in a great hill climb to take 4th in the A4 event. There was also a haul of medals from the track league, thanks to Fionn Sheridan, Stephen McNally, David Swift, Uisneach Sheridan - and also Naoise Sheridan (who obviously doesn't belong in the men's category, but all the medals look well together).

The heroics of hardman Neal Hudson, who is hitting a purple patch as he peaks for the end of season, were the highlight of the last few weeks. After going close to the A2 podium in Ballinrobe, he was targetting a strong finish in the Wexford 2 Day. While still a relatively new event on the calendar, but attracted a high quality field for the A1/A2 race this year.

Saturday saw a small break get up the road, with Hudson - along with Philippe Bourdarias and Diarmuid Collins - finishing in the bunch. The second stage hill climb was to be a decisive test, with Hudson propelling himself into the position of 5th A2, and 20th overall. With the 2nd A2 only 10" off the top spot, and 2nd-5th separated by less than 5", it was always going to be a tough final stage. We'll let Hudson himself take you through the it:

  "It started very fast, took me a good while to get into it. But when I drew breath - all the jerseys were around me and other big hitters like Paidi and Zippy Doyle, so I thought 'grand'. Realised O'Loughlin and McKenna had slipped away, knew that with those two any group would start putting in time. They did - went out to a minute and a half and stayed there. There were constant attacks for the next while, guys were getting away in ones and twos I think (Shaw and the likes), there was a particularly hard bit after Enniscorthy where I was hanging on by my fingernails.

  "There was a concerted chase of the remnants coming into New Ross - a lot of roadworks and a couple of big drags took it out of the bunch, and two Phoenix lads got away. One was a guy I was watching - Jody Wright who was ahead of me on the A2 GC, so I had to bury myself for a few minutes in an effort to bridge. Bracken from Kilcullen, and Mark McGauley (who beat me to 3rd A2 in Ballinrobe), came across - the 3 of us (eventually) made it over to them, and the 5 of us put the hammer down.

  "The Orwell car pulled up after a few minutes to give me some much needed encouragement, and let us know the situation behind (we had nearly a minute on the chasers), and that Breheny who was ahead of me on the A2 GC had been forced to abandon. A couple more got across to us, and it went from a cohesive unit to a bit of messing. We were close enough to the finish though to see it through, on the run in from the main road I tried getting away from Wright in front of me on GC (difficult because he had a teammate), but was also watching McGauley because he was only 2 seconds down on me and the 3 of us all had the same idea - hoping there was no A2 up the road and going for that prize. Wasn't to be for any of us! We all clung on and the 3 of us crossed the line together, eyeballs out for the whole last kilometre!"

Of the four A2s who were ahead of Hudson after the hill climb, one abandoned, and two he got enough of a gap on to leapfrog. John Hodge of Dungarvan CC used his local knowledge to make the move with the heavy hitters and steal the overall A2, with Hudson moving up two spots to 3rd A2 and keeping his 20th overall slot. He was only a single second behind Wright, emphasising how much Hudson has come on this season.

He was delighted to get in the prizes - especially after getting close in Ballinrobe - and was extremely grateful to Aidan Collins and Tom Blennerhassett for their roles in support. He credited some wise words from both of them at various points over the weekend for aiding his performance, as well as "the much needed shouts of encouragement in the last 15 kilometres when the hurt was well and truly on".

Hudson making a break for it in the Barrow GP earlier this year, where he placed 2nd (photo: Sean Rowe)

Also racing in Wexford were Conor Murnane and Seamus Nolan in the A3 event. Known for his climbing abilities, Nolan put in a superb trial against the clock to move himself up to 20th overall after Stage 2. Murnane had to wait until the provinicial champs later in the week to showcase his testing, but gained valuable experience of stage racing that will stand to him in the future.

In the A4 event, Stephen Barry and David Maher played it safe in the opening stage, before Barry dug deep for a savage hill climb, netting a fantastic 4th on the stage and on GC. Maher wasn't far off the pace, also emptying himself for a terrific 10th - likewise the stage result matching the GC.

Although Maher then abandoned in favour of a leisurely ride in Dungarvan, Barry continued on to secure his overall spot, just off the podium. Although the season is winding down, Barry can take great encouragement from that performance that he is well able to compete with the best of his category, and we expect to see more results when he hits the road again. We already observed his 3rd place on the final night of the league on a tough circuit against some determined opposition!

Not content with his envelope from Wexford, Neal Hudson returned to action the following Thursday for the Leinster Hill Climb Championships. Already documented on these pages were the fantastic performances from the women, and Hudson matched Ciara Kinch's colour to win a hard-earned gold in the A2 category, with a time of 05:01. That blitzed the time of 05:20 set by last year's gold medallist, our own Aidan Collins. Clearly in the form of his life, Hudson will compete for possibly the final time in 2014 at Charleville this weekend, where we wish him the best of luck.

Also competing on the unforgiving slopes of Jenkinstown Hill was Conor Murnane, top Junior in the Orwell League and 3rd overall finisher. Murnane matched that position to take the bronze medal in the Junior category. Murnane made the move to open racing with the seniors this year, and he's been showing great potential - we're looking forward to seeing what he's capable of in 2015! David Swift just missed out on an A3 medal, and was initially awarded bronze before a missed time was corrected, and he was relegated to 4th. 

Finally we turn to the track, where Fionn Sheridan, Daniel McElroy and David Swift all put in hard rides at the National Track Champs last weekend, but it's been a long season for the trio, and there was to be no silverware.

There was some consolation earlier in the week at the close of the Autumn Track League in Sundrive, with Sheridan topping the A category to take home a gold medal, and Stephen McNally replicating his achievement in the B category. McElroy was right behind him in silver, and Swift made it a golden hatrick by taking the top spot in the C category.

While Naoise Sheridan won bronze in the junior mixed male/female cat, Uisneach Sheridan completed the haul for the men by netting silver in the D category. Conor Murnane narrowly missed out on a podium finish in the Junior category, Naoise pipping him at the finish, leaving him in 4th place on 12 points. But that's a total of six medal from the track, half of which were earned by the hard-racing Sheridan clan. We hope Jen Sheridan is a proud mother!


Stafford Wholesale Wexford 2 Day, Wexford (23-24/8/2014)

A1/2 Race

Stage 1
1 Swinand,Greg UCD Cycling 2h45’05″
22 Bourdarias,Philippe DTC DTC Orwell Wheelers 2h46’36″ @01’31″
24 Hudson,Neal DTC DTC Orwell Wheelers 2h46’36″ @ s/t
40 Collins,Diarmuid DTC DTC Orwell Wheelers 2h46’36″ @ s/t

Stage 2
1 Dowling,Mark Dunboyne 06’55.20″
24 Hudson,Neal DTC Orwell Whee 08’02.91″ @01’07.71
48 Bourdarias,Philippe DTC Orwell Whee 08’50.70″ @01’55.50

GC after Stage 2
1 Swinand,Greg 1 UCD Cycling 2h52’48″
20 Hudson,Neal 2 DTC Orwell Wheel 2h54’38″ @01’50″
36 Bourdarias,Phillippe 2 DTC Orwell Wheel 2h55’26″ @02’38″

A2 GC after Stage 2
1 O’Sullivan,D IRC = 2h54’24″
2 Breheny,J @ 10″
3 Lambert,S WEX @ 11″
4 Wright,J PHO @ 13″
5 Hudson,N DTC @ 14″

Stage 3
1 O’Loughlin,Michael NRPT Standard Life 2h30’37″
26 Hudson,Neal DTC Orwell Wheelers 2h35’48″ @04’57″
32 Bourdarias,Philippe DTC Orwell Wheelers 2h38’42″ @08’05″

Final GC
1 O’Loughlin,Michael J NRPT Standard Li 5h24’06″
20 Hudson,Neal 2 DTC Orwell Wheel 5h30’26″ @06’20″
28 Bourdarias,Philippe 2 DTC Orwell Wheel 5h34’08″ @10’02″

Final A2 GC
1 Hodge,J DUB = 5h25’52″
2 Wright,J PHO @ 04’33″
3 Hudson,N DTC @ 04’34″
4 McGauley,M SCO @ 04’36″
5 Rea,C PHO @ 05’03″


A3 Race

Stage 1
1 Murphy,Brendan DUCC 3h02’15″
27 Murnane,Conor Orwell Wheelers @01’41″
41 Nolan,Seamus Orwell Wheelers @ s/t

Stage 2
1 Dillon,Colm Limerick CC 07’30.36″
18 Nolan,Seamus Orwell Wheelers 08’11.56″ @41.20″
53 Murnane,Conor DTC Orwell Whee 08’55.60″ @01’25.24

GC after Stage 2
1 Murphy,Brendan 3 DUCC 3h10’17″
20 Nolan,Seamus 3 Orwell Wheelers 3h12’07″ @01’50″
45 Murnane,Conor J DTC Orwell Wheel 3h12’51″ @02’34″

Stage 3
1 Kinch,Declan Slipstream CC 2h38’28″
20 Murnane,Conor DTC Orwell Wheelers 2h39’00″ @32″
28 Nolan,Seamus Orwell Wheelers 2h39’00″ @ s/t

Final GC
1 Murphy,Brendan 3 DUCC 5h49’17″
21 Nolan,Seamus 3 Orwell Wheelers 5h51’07″ @01’50″
45 Murnane,Conor J DTC Orwell Wheel 5h51’51″ @02’34″


A4 Race

Stage 1
1 Vincent,Pennec Eclanderneau 2h04’30″
24 Barry,Stephen DTC Orwell Wheelers 2h04’30″
33 Maher,David DTC Orwell Wheelers 2h04’30″

Stage 2
1 Brennan,Edward Dublin Wheelers 08’01.18″
4 Barry,Stephen DTC Orwell Whee 08’13.41″ @12.23″
10 Maher,David DTC Orwell Whee 08’27.87″ @26.69″

GC after Stage 2
1 Brennan,Edward 4 Dublin Wheelers 2h12’31″
4 Barry,Stephen 4 DTC Orwell Wheel 2h12’43″ @12″
10 Maher,David 4 DTC Orwell Wheel 2h12’57″ = s/t

Stage 3
1 Vincent,Pennec Eclanderneau 2h03’20″
10 Barry,Stephen DTC Orwell Wheelers 2h03’20″

Final GC
1 Brennan,Edward 4 Dublin Wheelers 4h15’51″
4 Barry,Stephen 4 DTC Orwell Wheel 4h16’03″ @12″


Leinster Hill Climb, Jenskinstown (28/8/2014)

G Neal Hudson Orwell Wheelers CC 05:01
S Keith Hughes Team Bikeworx 05:11

G Conor Kavanagh u/a 04:59
S Nathan McGreehan Cuchulainn CC 05:06
B Conor Murnane Orwell Wheelers CC 05:25


Autumn Track League

A category
G Fionn Sheridan (Orwell Wheelers) 30
S Simon Ryan (Adamstown) 29
B Darragh Zaidan (Adamstown) 28

B category
G Stephen McNally (Orwell Wheelers) 31
S Daniel McElroy (Orwell Wheelers) 30
B Colm Sevastopulo (Sundrive) 27

C category
G David Swift (Orwell Wheelers) 41
S Damien Mooney (Sundrive) 35
B Aine McBride (Sundrive) 34

D category
G Ben Mitchell (Sundrive) 48
S Uisneach Sheridan (Orwell Wheelers) 43
B Callum Byrne (Sundrive) 30

Junior category
G Harry Brookes 22
S Edward Kearns 14
B Naoise Sheridan 13

Full results available at