Two weeks have passed since the Easter stage races, and as well as Conor Murnane's sprints there, the club have been picking up prizes since. Conor and younger brother Seán both featured in Stamullen, along with Jules Cantwell. And this weekend in Drogheda, Paul Kane, Garry Blair and Dick O'Brien all took home envelopes.

The Kerry Group Rás Mumhan was a tough edition this year, with so many of the country's top riders on form and setting the pace. An Orwell team of Tom Blennerhassett, Odhrán Connors, Neal Hudson, Brian McArdle and Dick O'Brien were there to represent the club, with Aidan Collins sadly injured. Patrick O'Brien was on hand all weekend as DS, while Ann Horan and Tralee CC's Theresa O'Sullivan took on soigneur duties, and Helen Horan looked after cooking duties in the evening. 

Hudson had the ride of the weekend - staying the good side of the splits for the most part, but ending on a low note after getting caught up in a crash in the last laps on the final stage. The rest of team acquitted themselves well, putting in solid rides to get their legs geared up for the An Post Rás.

All were quick to thank and praise both O'Brien and the Horans for their time and contributions. The local pairing of O'Sullivan and neutral service's Brendan Cassidy also provided valuable assistance, while Dave Tansey of Joe Daly Cycles provided sponsorship in the form of nutrition and spare parts.

Some of the Munster team - (L-R) O'Brien, Blennerhassett, Hudson and McArdle (photo thanks to Pat O'Brien)

In Gorey, Jamie Busher, Diarmuid Collins, Gavin Dodd, Conor Murnane, Fionn Sheridan and David Swift were sporting the Orwell colours, while Michelle Geoghegan was officially listed with St Martinus CT. Both Collins and Swift had to withdraw with injury, though that luckily meant they missed the end of race pile-up that claimed Sheridan's bike. Busher and Dodd were also unfortunate with punctures and spills, with Murnane clocking up the best results.

With assistance from the team to make sure he made the right moves throughout the weekend, Murnane scored 2nd in the bunch gallop on Saturday, making him 10th on the stage and overall heading into the second stage TT. He nearly matched that result for both of the further road stages, with 11th and 12th in stages 3 and 4 respectively. It gave him a good footing in the points competition, as well as being a valuable learning experience for the Junior. Swift came in useful providing ad hoc support from behind the cavalcade when his race was done. Ever giving of his time, he was a recent worthy recipient of an Outstanding Contribution to DIT Sports award from his college in recognition of work on the athletics council there.

The following weekend the Leinster action was focussed in Stamullen, where on Saturday Seán Murnane made the most of the new Pat Howard Memorial circuit to seal a superb 2nd place. The U16 rider was in a two-man breakaway miles ahead of the rest of race, but was bested in the sprint. Conor Murnane showed the class runs in the family the next day with a fantastic 5th in the A3/Jun race over a testing course in the Stamullen GP set of races. Jules Cantwell earned a fine 4th in the A4 race - inches away from 3rd, bagging some cash for pints, but sadly no points. His Orwell teammates were active in helping to set him up, with Daragh Boyd breaking things up on the second lap, and recent league winner Mark Holland unlucky to miss out in the finale.

Murnane being awarded his prize (photo thanks to Jules Cantwell)

At the Drogheda's Coombes-Connor Memorial races, there was an Orwell result in each event. A block headwind on the finishing side of the circuit made it tough for breakaways to keep up the pace. The A4s meandered around the course at what was described as a "pedestrian pace", before culminating in a predictable bunch sprint. David Cahill, Paul Perry and Daragh Boyd all rode well, with Boyd unlucky to puncture on the final lap. Paul Kane smartly sought shelter for the majority of the day, saving his powder until the last 400m. He jumped from the buch, and passed every competitor bar one to take a strong 2nd, and the points for his long overdue upgrade to A3.

Kane accepting his 2nd place prize (photo thanks to Dick O'Brien)

The A3 event was a team effort, though there were only four to share the work. With a 14 man break up the road, Orwell shouldered part of the burden to chase down the move - Valdis Andersons and David Swift contributing well, along with another unidentified rider. The break were caught within the final kilometre, allowing Garry Blair to go for gold. He confessed to making his move a little early considering the headwind, but only five men passed him, leaving him with a solid 6th place. That marks a very smooth transition from A4!

Blair receiving his prize (photo thanks to Dick O'Brien)

In the main event, Dick O'Brien and Tom Blennerhassett made the move of the day when the bunch broke in two on the third lap. There was some aggressive riding from Brian McArdle and Odhrán Connors behind, but Diarmuid Collins played his cards well to bridge near the close of the race. Shane Hurley also made a welcome return to the Orwell colours. The only one who came away with a prize however was O'Brien, who looked comfortable whether in an early breakaway, or powering across the line with the top ten to claim the 1st unplaced A2 prize.

O'Brien picking up his envelope (photo thanks to Dick O'Brien)

Stay tuned for reports from the women and youth, who have both been busy with their own stage races!


Kerry Group Rás Mumhan, Kerry (3-6/4/2015)

Stage 1
1 Paidi O Brien Osborne Meats-McCarthy Cycles 2:18:05
51 Neal Hudson @s/t
83 Brian McArdle @s/t
134 Tom Blennerhassett @10:11
139 Odhran Connors @s/t
141 Dick O'Brien @s/t

Stage 2
1 Paidi O Brien Osborne Meats/McCarthy Cycles 3:33:26
91 Neal Hudson @24:36
113 Odhran Connors @25:36
125 Tom Blennerhassett @s/t
146 Dick O'Brien @s/t
154 Brian McArdle @s/t

Stage 3
1 Bryan Mccrystal Team ASEA 3:15:57
63 Neal Hudson @16:26
109 Tom Blennerhassett @19:28
121 Dick O'Brien @s/t
124 Odhran Connors @s/t
127 Brian McArdle @s/t

Stage 4
1 Paidi O Brien Osborne Meats/McCarthy Cycles 02:27:22
101 Brian McArdle @06:01
110 Dick O Brien @s/t
113 Odhran Connors @s/t
122 Neal Hudson @12:11
147 Tom Blennerhassett @24:11

Final GC
1 Sean McKenna Ireland 11:34:47
87 Brian McArdle @52:53
88 Neal Hudson @53:16
109 Odhran Connors @01:01:19
115 Dick O Brien @01:03:04
136 Tom Blennerhassett @01:19:29


Gorey 3 Day, Blessington/Gorey (4-6/4/2015)

Stage 1
1 Mahony,Darragh Munster Academy 3h03’48”
10 Murnane,Conor @01’37”
95 Busher,Jamie @03’11”
101 Colllins,Diarmuid
109 Sheridan,Fionn @04’54”
117 Dodd,Gavin @10’59”
158 Geoghegan,Michelle Sint Martinus @18’58”

Stage 2
1 O'Loughlan,Michael Irish National 07'28.09"
40 Busher,Jamie 08'33.89" @01'05.80
57 Sheridan,Fionn 08'42.07" @01'13.98
72 Murnane,Conor 08'44.94" @01'16.85
106 Dodd,Gavin 09'01.41" @01'33.32
132 Colllins,Diarmuid 09'16.64" @01'48.55
173 Geoghegan,Michelle Sint Martinus 10'19.13" @02'51.04

Stage 3
1 Jung,Henri P Vceckwersheim France 2h23'00"
11 Murnane,Conor 2h23'00"
24 Sheridan,Fionn 2h23'00"
96 Busher,Jamie 2h23'00"
135 Colllins,Diarmuid 2h24'37" @01'37"
141 Geoghegan,Michelle Sint Martinus 2h29'27" @06'27"

Stage 4
1 Jung,Henri P Vceckwersheim France 2h11'20"
12 Murnane,Conor 2h11'20"
30 Busher,Jamie 2h11'20"
117 Geoghegan,Michelle Sint Martinus 2h12'47" @01'27"
149 Sheridan,Fionn 2h26'00" @14'40"

Final GC
1 O'Loughlan,Michael Irish National J 7h45'36"
31 Murnane,Conor 7h48'29" @02'53"
66 Busher,Jamie 7h49'52" @04'16"
118 Sheridan,Fionn 8h06'24" @20'48"
133 Geoghegan,Michelle Sint Martinus 8h15'19" @29'43"


Pat Howard Memorial, Ard Cath (11/4/2015)

U16 race
2 Seán Murnane (Orwell Wheelers)


Joey Whyte Memorial, Stamullen (12/4/2015)

A3/Jun race
5 Conor Murnane (Orwell Wheelers)

A4 SafeLink Shield
4 Jules Cantwell (Orwell Wheelers)


Coombes-Connor Memorial, Bellewstown (19/4/2015)

Unplaced A2s
1 Dick O’Brien (Orwell Wheelers)

A3/Jun Race
6 Garry Blair (Orwell Wheelers)

A4 Race
2 Paul Kane (Orwell Wheelers)