Round 3 of the Appleby Orwell League saw last week’s gusts and gales exchanged for an overcast and ominous looking sky.  Despite the threatening rainclouds, a sizeable turnout of 37 hardy riders descended on Corcagh to tackle the ‘wrong way around’ course with enthusiasm.

The B riders were the first to take to the track and were divided into a B+/B- group, with the latter getting over a half lap head start. The protests from the waiting B+ group fell on the deaf ears of starter John Twomey, who showed no sympathy - not even to his wife!

An immediate flyer was taken by Marion "sure jaypers I haven’t raced in 20 years" Holland (Velo Club Balrothery)  who clearly had recovered her racing skills within the first 30 seconds and managed to pull out a half lap lead that stuck for the first part of the race.

The B- group before the catch

In the B+ group, the O’Brien sister duo of Aoife and Caoimhe from Mullingar (Lakeside Wheelers) went into TT mode from the gun and set themselves a mission to reel in both the B- riders and escapee of Marion Holland off the front of the group. They were victorious in both of their endeavours - acquiring Catherine Mahoney of UCD en route and at a later stage, Emma Desmond of De Ronde Van Cork who was successful in bridging across with only a few laps to go. Their impressive efforts were rewarded with Aoife winning the sprint from Caoimhe by a narrow margin and the sister duo acquiring both first and second place in the B race.

The O'Brien sisters in TT mode

Team O’Brien were closely followed by Catherine Mahony (UCD) and Emma Desmond (De Ronde) who both put in strong performances on the night while presenting the video judges with the closest sprint of the evening. It took several viewings of the slow motion video from two different angles and all of the finish line marshals adjudicating skills to decide on the winner – with Catherine coming in 3rd and Emma immediately after with 4th. With a mere hairs’ breadth separating them, we predict many more exciting battles between these two!

Emma, Aaron, Muirna & Caoimhe chasing hard

5th place was secured by last week’s winner of the Waller Cup (both junior and ladies if you don’t mind!) - Caoimhe May of Scott Orwell who displayed a few impressive efforts on the last few laps to try catch the lead group, but her efforts fell just short – a strong attempt nonetheless! Arron Fox (Belpark) also put in a very strong ride to round off the first 6 places. Marion Holland (Velo Club Balrothery had an end outcome of 7th with Hannah Tilly coming in at 8th after a good race effort.  The last two top ten places were taken by Helen White 9th (Stamullen) who was last week’s winner of the B race and Ciara Wilson 10th (Performance Science Ireland).

The youngest of our juniors Aine (U12) and Katie (U14) Reilly both displayed some impressive cycling on the night. Aine started off with the big laps and then switched to a few small ones – and kept it all up to speed right to the very end – well done Aine, a great night’s work! Hats off due as well to big sister Katie who despite having had a crash at the weekends Waller Cup, showed great determination and got back on the bike to ride a good race in cold and rainy conditions – the post-race muffins well deserved by both of you!

Katie & Aine get last minute encouragement from dad Terry

A race

In the A race it was Fiona Guihen of Black Rose who set the pace this week and attempted the early break, letting everyone know she was back in town after her absence for the last two rounds. The initial effort was followed closely by Sofie Loscher (Sundrive) and Beata Golzak (Arcane) with first Bea, then Sofie and eventually Fiona herself being reeled in by the group. 

Fiona & Sophie stretching the elastic

From then on the A race was characterised by repeated attacks which lent itself to an exciting pacey affair, with many riders in aggressive mode trying to snap the elastic on the bunch. Jennifer Bates put in a few strong digs but her moves were well monitored after the strong display of last week’s race.

The Scott Orwell riders were in feisty form with Monica Freiband putting in several aggressive attacks to try get clear – a display repeated by both Monica Marconi and Orla Hendron.  Several other riders attacked over the course of the 20 minutes however with the bunch alert and responsive to every move, none of the efforts were allowed to stick.

Scott-Orwell's own American Flyer

With 2 laps to go, Fiona decided it was time to change gears and glided off the front of the bunch with what looked like the greatest of ease. Creating a gap very quickly, she retained the advantage right to the line to claim first place. Lyndsey Bryce (Dublin Wheelers) made an impressive effort to bridge across and almost held the gap, but the group gained on her with half a lap to go leading to an exciting bunch sprint for 2nd to 6th placings.

Sandra Fitzgerald (Lucan CC) was second over the line having ridden a tactical race and taking the sprint for second from Orla Hendron, who followed closely in third place.  Sandra is certainly one to watch for next week having appeared out of the pack right on schedule.

Sandra & Orla battle it out for second

Sinead Molloy (Tullamore) was a close 4th followed by Sofie Loscher (Sundrive)in 5th and the top 6 places rounded out by Lyndsey Bryce (Dublin Wheelers).  7th and 8th places were snapped up by Beata Golzak (Arcane) and Aisling Flanagn (St. Tiernans) with Monica Marconi (Scott Orwell) and Jennifer Bates (Geard DHL) rounding off the top 10.

The league table update

The most exciting update on the league standings this week are a joint 1st in the B group for Helen White and Arron Fox who are on 24 points each. Close behind Hannah Tilly is sitting in 3rd on 22 points with Emma Desmond lurking on the edge of the podium on 21 points. The biggest mover in the B group Catherine Mahony has also catapulted from 17th right up to 5th place after her efforts tonight!  With 3 rounds left to go the table is still wide open and with a lot to race for!

In A, the most impressive jump is Sinead Molloy who has gone from just inside the top 10 to an impressive 4th place.  Jennifer Bates is still leading the A league on 20 points but Sophie Loscher of Sundrive is hot on her heels on 29. The battle for 3rd is equally exciting and close – Beata is currently on 21 points but with Sinead on 19, Lyndsay and Monica on 18 and Sandra on 17 after only two rounds we are set for some exciting racing in the second half of the league!

Jen sitting happy at the top of the league

The league table is available here - Appleby Orwell Womens League Table

As important as the riders are on the night, the helpers are due equal acknowledgment as without them we would be race-less and even more worryingly, tay-less and without sangwiges and post-race snacks! Thank you to John Twomey and Barry Mooney our two marshals for the night – doing an excellent job on the start line and manning the entry to the track during the race. Barry has clearly missed his calling as a nightclub bouncer!

Thank you to Genevieve for the delicious muffins and sandwiches, both of the gluten and non-gluten variety - empty trays this week which are always a clear sign of tasty treats. To Luke GJ for the finish line video and adjudicating assistance - also an excellent source of dry one liners when one is standing on a damp night with wet feet of a Choosdah evening! Thanks to Aga who became an Orwell adoptee for the night and helped with both the tea set up and the Lola-sitting while John carried out his photographer duties.

Thank you to John Hammer for the always excellent photographs which are so appreciated by all the riders and for the presence of the league mascot in the form of the lovely Lola. There were however some legitimate concerns voiced about her getting a bit spoilt and developing ‘notions’ having been observed dining on both a gluten free sandwich and snacking on Luke GJ’s home cooked  dinner of veggie burgers! Her allegiance is also in question having bonded with me last week and this week deciding she would rather spend some quality one-on-one time with both Monica and Aga…..the film crew of ‘First Dates Ireland’ expected to arrive next week to record proceedings….watch this space!

Thank you to Orla and Louise for the general overall organising and also to Emily for her secret scorekeeping work in the background. To Appleby Jewellers for their sponsorship of the event and to Pro-yoghurt for supplying the post-race yoghurts

All still to play for next week in both groups as we return to Corcagh Park for the last time when racing starts at 7pm. Until then…..



B Race

 1. Aoife O'Brien       Lakeside Wheelers
2. Caoimhe O'Brien Lakeside Wheelers
3. Catherine Mahoney UCD FitzCycles
4. Emma Desmond De Ronde Van
5. Caoimhe May Scott-Orwell Wheelers
6. Aaron Fox Belpark Tri
7. Marion Holland Velo Club Balrothery
8. Hannah Tilly Arcane
9. Helen White Stamullen
10. Ciara Wilson Performance Science Ireland


A Race

 1. Fiona Guihen        Black Rose Racing
 2. Sandra Fitzgerald   Lucan CC
 3. Orla Hendron        Scott Orwell Wheelers
 4. Sinead Molloy       Tullamore
 5. Sophie Loscher      Sundrive
 6. Lyndsay Brice       Dublin Wheelers
 7. Beata Golczak       Arcane
 8. Aishling Flannagan  St Tiernans
 9. Monica Marconi      Scott Orwell Wheelers
10. Jenifer Bates       Team Gerard-DHL


Finish Line Videos


John Hammer A Race Photos

John Hammer B Race Photos