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CONOR HENNEBRY enjoyed the perfect preparation for his defence of Ras Mumhan in Kerry this weekend, as he retained his lead in the Cycling Ireland National Road Series at the Donal Crowley Memorial Road Race in Blarney on Sunday. 

Dan Morrissey-MIG.ie-Pactimo team mate Sean Hahessy won the 127km test with a 25km solo break, taking the pair’s tally of wins this season to six, the latest having come in Dungarvan the previous weekend at the O’Doherty Cup.

With Matthew Sparrow giving the team fourth, they now top both the Men’s General Classification and Team Classification, five rounds remaining of NRS 2019.

Hahessy said: “We’re going well at the moment, Conor and I know each other inside out; we work together and we train together, so that’s a bonus. "Next week all eyes will be on Conor as he tries to win Ras Mumhan for the second year. That’s kind of easier for me, because Conor is so heavily marked I get away with a lot of things, that might change soon though.”

The split began on the first drag in the first 10km of racing, windy, wet conditions quickly whittling the front group down to eight. So brutal were conditions that only 11 of the 31 starters finished the race, Hahessy holding a lead of more than 2mins as he crossed the line ahead on Hennebry and Jamie Blanchfield (Panduit Carrick Wheelers). 

In the Women’s National Road Series race, the Fiona Meade Trophy, 18 of 26 starters saw out the 72km, Irish international Mia Griffin winning the final sprint from her two breakaway companions.

The rider from Glenmore in Kilkenny, earlier this year set a new national Women’s Team Pursuit record at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Poland, and had finished fourth in the opening round of the NRS 2019 at the Des Hanlon Classic.

Griffin said: “In the Des Hanlon, I tried to sprint way too early, so I came into today thinking I would go with 100m to go. I went across to the other side of the road, off Eve’s wheel, and once I saw the sign for 100m to go I just went full gas.” 

She beat Ireland’s National Road Race Champion Eve McCrystal, riding for STRATA3/VeloRevolution Racing Team for the first time, and National Time Trial Championships Silver Medallist Eileen Burns - that trio having worked as a breakaway for the majority of the race.

Griffin said: "Eve attacked about 10km in and her and Eileen just went really hard, and I thought they'd be good to go with because obviously they are so experienced on the road, they are such strong riders.
"I sprinted for about 30 seconds to get over to them, and then we just worked really, really hard together the whole way. It was so windy. "It was great because I think my weight holds me down on to the road while it's so windy like that, and the rain was good as well. I like that kind of dirty day."

Griffin is now second in the Women’s General Classification behind McCrystal’s new team mate Grace Young, who finished fourth in Blarney. The gap of just four points leaves Griffin wanting more, and further trips to Ireland from her base with the Irish team in Mallorca are on the cards.

“My plan for this summer is to do European Games on the track,” she said, “and after getting a taste for these National Road Series races, I love them, so I hope I’ll be home for some of them.”

Dublin club Scott Orwell Wheelers took the lead in the Women’s Team Classification, Yvonne Doran, Monica Marconi and Arron Fox all among the 18 finishers.

The Cycling Ireland National Road Series is Ireland's premier road racing league. The next round is in Ballymena, Antrim at the Red Hand Trophy on Saturday, June 1.


Results - Men's Donal Crowley Memorial Road Race Finishers

  1. Sean Hahessy - Team Dan Morrissey-MIG.ie-Pactimo
  2. Conor Hennebry - Team Dan Morrissey-MIG.ie-Pactimo
  3. Jamie Blanchfield - Panduit Carrick Wheelers
  4. Matthew Sparrow - Team Dan Morrissey-MIG.ie-Pactimo
  5. Colm Sheahan - Blarney Cycling Club
  6. Arminas Meskaushas - Panduit Carrick Wheelers
  7. Cathal Purcell - Panduit Carrick Wheelers
  8. John Brosnan - Killarney CC
  9. James O'Sullivan - Blarney Cycling Club
  10. Richard Cleverly - Sliabh Luachra
  11. Tom Shanahan - Limerick CC

Results - Women's Fiona Meade Trophy Finishers

  1. Mia Griffin - TC Racing Team
  2. Eve McCrystal - STRATA3/VeloRevolution Racing Team
  3. Eileen Burns - Ballymena Road Cycling Club
  4. Grace Young - STRATA3/VeloRevolution Racing Team
  5. Katharine Smyth - Ballymena Road Cycling Club
  6. Agnieszka Wozniak - STRATA3/VeloRevolution Racing Team
  7. Lucy O'Donnell - O'Leary Kanturk Stone
  8. Maeve Gallagher - Castlebar CC
  9. Yvonne Doran - Scott Orwell Wheelers
  10. Maura Claffey - UCD Cycling Club
  11. Gabriella Homer - Team On Form
  12. Leah Desmond - Bandon CC
  13. Laura Campbell - Ballymena Road Cycling Club
  14. Catherine Mahoney - UCD Cycling Club
  15. Ewa Kuras - Arcane Cycling Team
  16. Monica Marconi - Scott Orwell Wheelers
  17. Michelle McKinney - Galway Bay CC
  18. Arron Fox - Scott Orwell Wheelers
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