Annalise Murphy Impresses Again As Paul Kennedy Takes Victory In Road National Series Round Two

The impressive Annalise Murphy and Paul Kennedy's daring attack were the headlines from a thrilling day of racing at Round Two of the Road National Series.

Blarney Cycling Club played host to the round as riders from all around Ireland competed in the Donal Crowley Memorial (A1/2 & Junior) as well as the Kay Stratton Memorial (Senior & Junior Women) along the roads outside Blarney. 

Murphy made her decisive move on the Nadd Climb, the biggest climb of the day, soloing to an impress victory - racing the final 35km on her own.

Part of the day's main breakaway in the Donal Crowley Memorial, Kennedy attacked on the Nadd Climb descent and held off the chase to take victory. 

Murphy Dominates Kay Stratton Memorial

With the Kay Stratton Memorial race staying together in the opening 50km, it was Murphy who drove the pace up the Nadd Climb.

The Sailing Olympic medallist found herself alone over the top of the climb and kept up an infernal pace on the descent and final 35km to build a lead of over three minutes.

Mary Corless and Jennifer Neenan completed the podium in second and third respectively, finishing strongest of a group of five chasers that also included junior overall leader Kate Murphy, Nicola Lynch and Abi Conway.

Annalise Murphy's performance solidifies her lead in the Senior Women's category following her victory in last month's Des Hanlon Memorial.

As well as defending the jersey, Murphy is looking forward to racing in other disciplines such as Cross-country Mountain Bike and Track in the coming months:

"A great race today and a great course, really nice to have a tailwind for the final 30km. It was a light women's field, there's lots of women racing in Ireland and we just need to get them doing these races so I'll definitely be getting more people to get into races. I got away on the climb and ended up doing a near 40km Time Trial on my own - which I haven't done in a long time! I'm feeling good at the moment and I'm just trying to enjoy it."

"I'm actually going to do a little mountain biking at the Cross-country National Series. I'm looking forward to TT National Championships, Road National Championships and also on the track. I feel like I'm doing loads of cycling and probably don't have the time to do it all. I'm enjoying it."

Hard-fought Donal Crowley Memorial 

With action from start to finish, the Donal Crowley Memorial proved a difficult race to win as a huge pace saw the field finish in multiple small groups.

After an early breakaway of six riders were caught, the attacks came once again as a group of six riders established a strong lead at the front of the race.

Kennedy, Cian Keogh, Liam Crowley, Michael Gammell, Willem O'Connor and Conor Verbruggen kept the pace high and they were soon joined by George Peden, Killian O'Brien and David Gaffney heading inside the final lap.

There were splits in the main bunch as the gap drifted between 20 seconds and a minute before Kennedy, Keogh, Crowley, Peden proved the strongest to stay away over the top of the Nadd Climb.

It was there that Kennedy made his decisive attack on the long and fast descent, and with teammate Keogh behind, he drove on towards the finish as the chasers' spirit began to fade inside the final 20km.

Peden attacked inside the final 2km to take second and also grab hold of the Open Overall Leaders Jersey as Keogh took third. Despite not placing in the day's top twenty, Phillip O'Connor retained his leader's jersey in the Junior category. 

Kennedy paid tribute to Blarney Cycling Club as he walked through a hard race:

"It was a hard race at 140km. We got away early enough, Cian (Keogh) my teammate was up the road so I bridged across to him, we whittled down the group on the last climb and I attacked on the descent, got a gap. The gap just grew and grew, I won it by a minute and a half so I'm happy enough. The Crowley family are steeped in history here in Blarney and there's serious history in Blarney Cycling Club. It's a great honour to win this cup."


Donal Crowley Memorial

1. Paul Kennedy - TEAM SKYLINE - Cadence

2. George Peden - Team PB Performance

3. Cian Keogh - TEAM SKYLINE

4. Liam Crowley - UCD Cycling Club

5. Jason Kenny - UCD Cycling Club

6. Patrick O’Loughlin - Panduit Carrick Wheelers

7. Luke Smith - Moynalty Cycling Club

8. Quillan Donnelly - Team Dan Morrissey - Primor by Pissei

9. Eoin Clifford - Team Dan Morrissey - Primor by Pissei

10. Patrick O’Sullivan - Orwell Wheelers*

11. Conor Verbruggen - Bray Wheelers

12. Jack Conroy - Bray Wheelers

13. Willem O’Connor - JEGG-DJR Academy*

14. Killian O’Brien - Veleka Team*

15. Padraig O’Sullivan - Newcastle West CC

16. Padraig Moran - Lakeside Wheelers

17. Joe-Nathan Matar - Orwell Wheelers

18. Michael Collins - Newcastle West Cycling Club*

19. James Davenport - All human/VeloRevolution Racing Team

20. Milo Donaldson - Killarney Cycling Club

Kay Stratton Memorial 

1. Annalise Murphy - Longcourt Hotel - NCW Wheelers

2. Mary Corless- Challenge CC

3. Jennifer Neenan - UCD Cycling Club

4. Nicola Lynch - Newmarket Cycling & Triathlon Club (Foreign)

5. Kate Murphy - Sliabh Luachra*

6. Abi Conway - Westport Covey Wheelers 

7. Ellen Ni Cleirigh - Longcourt Hotel - NCW Wheelers

8. Rhiannon Dolan - TC Racing*

9. Sophie English - TC Racing*

*: Junior rider.

The full overall rankings are available here. 

Reminder that the Criterium National Championships, hosted by Banbridge CC, will take place on Friday, 10th of May. Entries are now open and will close on Friday, 3rd of May.

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