Oisin Ferrity (Island Wheelers) and Erin Grace Creighton (McConvey Cycles) made it two victories for Ulster in the junior road race championships in Kanturk, with both riders winning their races in an uphill sprint to the line. 

Ferrity was one of six riders who reached the finish together in the junior men’s race, with 119 tough kilometres splintering the peloton and making it very difficult to close down the day’s breakaway riders. The first year junior had been active all day, bridging across to two early leaders with four other chasers, and maintaining enough energy to fend off challenges from fresher riders as the race progressed. 

He won the uphill sprint against Niall McLoughlin (Westport Covey Wheelers Cycling Club), Patrick 

O’Loughlin (Panduit Carrick Wheelers) and three others. 

Darragh Doherty (VC Glendale), Finn McHenry (The Cycling Academy) and Ruairi Byrne (Panduit Orwell Wheelers) completed the top six. 

“It’s brilliant,” he said after the medal ceremony. “I went out in an early break, the first main group of four, and we jumped across to another couple of riders. Then we had a few riders dropping and jumping across from the groups, but I was out front all day. 

“This is something I have worked towards all year so it is great.”

Being a first year junior makes the achievement all the more special for him. “I get to wear the jersey all year and then hopefully defend it next year.”

The day’s first attackers were Matt Griffin (O’Leary Stone Kanturk), Finn McHenry (The Cycing Academy) and Timothy Lane (JRC Interflon Race Team), who went clear in the early kilometres of the 59 kilometre opening loop. Lane slipped back and was picked up by a chase group comprising Ferrity, Rory Gallagher (Castlebar Cycling Club), Daragh McGee (Dungarvan CC) and Darragh Doherty (VC Glendale). His earlier efforts cost him his place with those riders, who successfully bridged up to Griffin and McHenry. 

The peloton was a minute and a half back and while various riders tried to get across, nothing was able to bridge. 

Shortly after starting the first of four 15 kilometre laps of the finishing circuit, McHenry applied pressure on the tough early climb. This put an end to the chances for Gallagher and Griffin, who were each dropped and reeled in by the bunch. McGee would also lose his place out front, yielding to the pressure the second time up the climb. 

Ruairi Byrne (Pinergy Orwell Wheelers) attacked from the peloton and chased hard, eventually being joined by his teammate Tadhg Killeen and Curtis Neill (Carn Wheelers). They were approximately 20 seconds behind the leaders starting the second of the smaller laps, and caught them soon afterwards. That made it six out front, and this number increased to eight when Patrick O’Loughlin (Panduit Carrick Wheelers) and Niall McLoughlin (Westport Covey Wheelers) bridged almost exactly one lap later. 

McHenry attacked but was hauled back. The increase in pace saw Killeen lose his place in the group. Curtis Neill (Carn Wheelers) was dropped heading into the final kilometres, with Ferrity proving best of the six leading riders on the uphill push to the line. 

In the junior women’s event, Creighton (McConvey Cycles) showed her own speed, beating Aoife O’Brien (Torelli-Assure-Cayman Islands-Scimitar) and Shauna Finn (Newcastle West Cycling Club) at the end of their 59 kilometre event. 

O’Brien was aggressive from early on, with her surges thinning out the field. The group whittled down to those three riders, with the medals being settled in the sprint. 

Emma Smith (Navan Road Club) finished five minutes 29 seconds back in fourth, 12 seconds in front of Ellen Murray (TC Racing). Aoife Mooney (Navan Road Club) took sixth. 

“There weren’t a lot of us in the race, but we all worked really well together,” said Creigton. “On the last drag Aoife O’Brien attacked and me and Shauna Finn were able to go with her and then the three of us worked really well to the finish. 

“Then it came down to a sprint and I knew that suited me, so I was pretty happy. This is the biggest competition you can win in Ireland at our age level. It just feels amazing knowing that I have won it now.”

Cycling Ireland National Road Race Championship: 

Junior men: 

1, Oisin Ferrity (Island Wheelers) 119 kilometres in 2 hours 59 mins 20 seconds

2, Niall McLaughlin (Westport Covey Wheelers)

3, Patrick O’Loughlin (Panduit Carrick Wheelers)

4, Darragh Doherty (VC Glendale)

5, Finn McHenry (The Cycling Academy) all same time

6, Ruairi Byrne (Pinergy Orwell Wheelers) at 6 secs

7, Curtis Neill (Carn Wheelers) at 44 secs

8, Christopher Marshall (Pinergy Orwell Wheelers) at 1 min 23 secs

Junior women: 

1, Erin Grace Creighton (McConvey Cycles) 59 kilometres in 1 hour 47 mins 9 secs

2, Aoife O’Brien (Torelli-Assure-Cayman Islands-Scimitar)

3, Shauna Finn (Newcastle West Cycling Club) both same time

4, Emma Smith (Navan Road Club) at 5 mins 29 secs

5, Ellen Murray (TC Racing) at 5 mins 41 secs

6, Aoife Mooney (Navan Road Club) at 15 mins 7 secs