Time for a catch-up with the final rounds of Corkagh Park Ladies' Racing, with wins by both Aideen Keenan and Orla Hendron, both heading for a late season peak, and Mary Brady taking her first prize at the head of the B group! We also say goodbye to organiser Siobhán O'Connor, as after three years she's handing over the reins to Aideen Keenan and Lucan's Maria Mulvany.

The eleventh session opened on the 12th August amidst reports of hailstones elsewhere in Dublin, but it was a dry night in Corkagh Park, where Towers CC were in charge of the show. With the likes of Helen Horan promoted to the A group after a string of strong results, the B group consisted entirely of one rider - our own Mary Brady. Having made her racing début over the summer in the ladies' league, it was fitting that she should nab her first result here too.

It may have been by default, but she was reportedly a firm fan favourite on the night as well - drawing huge cheers from the sidelines as she put the head down for her solo test against the A racers. She held the howling pack at bay for about ten minutes, and as the 14-strong peloton passed her, she tagged onto the wheels and held on for dear life.

With many aggressive riders trying to break the elastic, including former Orwell Anne Dalton (DID Electrical), the pace was high and the racing was fierce! None succeeded however, and it looked like the A race was headed for a bunch sprint again, until Orla Hendron powered through the last bend and the drag to the finish, to take the race by less than a bike-length from Eimear O’Reilly (Towers CC).

With Hendron building up to the World Track Masters in October, the result will be a boost to her confidence that her form is coming along nicely. Couple that with two medals in the National Track Champs last weekend, and you have a rider who's on course for further great success!

Brady and Hendron collect their prizes

The following week was run by Lakeside Wheelers, who ran a single race with the A and B groups handicapped. While Brady and Hendron were again noticeable throughout with their hard work and attacks, ultimately no Orwell featured in the results.

The concluding round took place while an autumnal breeze swirled around the track. As well as being 2014's last ladies' race, it was also Siobhán O'Connor's send-off. Lucan CRC were on hand to direct the final proceedings, with over twenty riders in action.

The A group were given a one-lap handicap, with several of them chomping at the bit to get away, including - with no surprise - Hendron once more. There was a small bunch sprint to decide the top woman, with Aideen Keenan taking victory from Garda CC's Catherine McAteer.

Hendron and Keenan in action during the race

Keenan awarded her prize

The most recent season of the Corkagh Park Ladies Racing series has proven to be another great success, thanks to the involvement of so many clubs and riders. There's been consistently high numbers at the races each week, and it’s been great to see so many racers progress throughout the fourteen weeks. Thanks to all the racers, photographers, club supporters, mentors and coaches whose attendance each week help to advance and develop the series.

Most of all, thanks to Siobhán O'Connor. womenscycling.ie ran a great piece on her recently, which covers just about every aspect of her fantastic contribution to women's cycling in Dublin, make sure to have a read: http://womenscycling.ie/siobhan/.

All of us at Orwell Wheelers are very proud of her work, and extend a huge thank you to Siobhán for her dedication to the summer league over the last three years. She has put in place an opportunity for women to not only develop their skills as beginners in a safe and controlled area, but also thrive in a competitive environment that pits them against rivals of similar ability.

Continuing her good work next year will be Maria Mulvany (Lucan CRC) and our own Aideen Keenan who will take over from Siobhán, and put their own twist on affairs for 2015. Best of luck to them both, we're looking forward to it already!

All credit to https://www.facebook.com/CorkaghParkLadiesRacing for source material for above updates, and to Brendan Culleton for all the photos!

O'Connor herself enjoys racing when she can!

Just some of the many racers of varying abilities and diverse clubs who have benefited from the Corkagh Park series,
with O'Connor centre, standing in old school Orwell kit


Corkagh Park Ladies' Racing - R11 (12/8/2014)

A Race
1 Orla Hendron (Orwell Wheelers)
2 Eimear O'Reilly (Towers CC)
3 Niamh Stephens (UCD CC)

B Race
1 Mary Brady (Orwell Wheelers)


Corkagh Park Ladies' Racing - R12 (19/8/2014)

A Race
1 Karen Robinson (Garda CC)
2 Niamh Stephens (UCD CC)
3 Sarah Dennedy (DID Dunboyne)

B Race
1 Angela Hoare (Ossory CC)
2 Sorcha McCann (3D Tri)
3 Deirdre Walsh Naas


Corkagh Park Ladies' Racing - R13 (26/8/2014)

A Race
1 Aideen Keenan (Orwell Wheelers)
2 Catherine McAteer (Garda CC)
3 Niamh Stephens (UCD CC)

B Race
1 Kristina Rutkauskaite (Lucan CRC)
2 Angela Hoare (Ossory CC)
3 Susan Wall (Ossory CC)