New Era for Dornan Ras Mumhan 2024

Photo: Caroline Kerley 

As the first warm rays of sunshine emerge from the winter's grasp, the roads of Ireland awaken with the rhythmic hum of spinning wheels and the determined breath of riders preparing for the impending cycling season. 

Against the stunning backdrop of Kerry and Cork, this year marks the dawn of a new era for the Dornan Rás Mumhan, an event steeped in tradition and revered by cyclists internationally. Now in its seventh decade, this iconic race has been the launching pad for countless domestic and international riders, etching their names in Irish cycling history.

From the outset, it's clear that this year's event will be nothing short of spectacular. With five stages traversing the challenging terrain of Kerry and Cork, the peloton will face strong tests of endurance and skill. The legacy of past champions, including the legendary Mike Breen from Beaufort, underscores the calibre of athletes drawn to this prestigious race. 

One such memorable moment echoes from 1979, when Breen claimed victory only to find himself challenged by a young Stephen Roche in that year's Ras Tailteann, as Roche's emergence marked a turning point in Irish cycling. The comparison is apt, signalling the calibre of athletes who traverse these roads. 

Among the competitors this year, a diverse array of talent promises to animate the competition. Previous winners like Lindsay Watson and 2022 Ras Tailteann champion Daire Feeley are among the favourites to shine. Conn McDunphy, a consistent top performer in the Irish domestic scene, and Dean Harvey, eager to avenge last year's controversial defeat, are both primed for contention. 

The Trinity Racing Squad will be determined to support Harvey in his bid for claiming an inaugural victory. The Isle of Man, renowned for its cycling prowess, fields a formidable team, while Foran Construction, a London Irish-based squad, seeks to replicate past successes, winning two stages last year with Thomas Springbett and Dom Jackson. 

The emergence of young domestic talents like Seth Dunwoody, representing Team Ireland at just 18 years old, adds an exciting dimension to the competition, as many fans will want to witness the emergence of the next generation of Irish cycling talent. Coming into the race with promising form after his recent win in the Bobby Power classic in Carrick, Clonakilty’s Liam Crowley riding with UCD is another young rider to keep an eye on.

The local contingent, represented by the Killarney Cycling Club, brings its own brand of fervour to the race. With both senior and U23 squads in contention, the squad will be aiming to make an impact on the race. In particular, Milo Donaldson has displayed promising form in early-season races, along with Euan Buckley, a native of Sneem where stage 2 will be finishing. Ben Murphy hailing from Sliabh Luachra, along with the rest of the squad, embodies the region's emerging talent.

Driving the excitement is the newfound support of Dornan Group, stepping in as title sponsors to ensure the event's future. Micheál O'Connor, Group Managing Director of Dornan, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating: 

"As a Kerry native and cycling enthusiast myself, and with our headquarters based in Cork, I am thrilled to announce Dornan’s participation as the title sponsor of Rás Mumhan. This challenging race not only provides a platform for the growth of cycling talent but also serves as a catalyst for promoting sports across the region. We are excited to be part of an event that showcases the beauty and dynamism of the Munster region to a diverse and extensive domestic as well as international audience."

Beyond the thrill of competition, the Dornan Rás Mumhan serves as a platform for economic growth and national exposure for the Kerry and Cork region. From the tranquil streets of Currow to the scenic vistas of the Kerry mountains, each stage presents its own unique challenges. As the peloton winds its way through historic towns and challenging climbs, the spirit of cycling captivates both spectators and participants alike.

With anticipation building, the stage is set for an unforgettable Easter weekend. Every moment promises excitement and the crowning of a new champion. As Con Houlihan once wrote of a different contest, "Hill 16 was as quiet as Knocknagoshel on a Good Friday." But come race day, Knocknagoshel will buzz with the energy of wheels and the cheers of fans, marking the beginning of a new chapter for the Dornan Rás Mumhan.

Dornan Rás Mumhan – Stage Schedule

Stage 1A - Friday 29th March 2024, Currow, Village, TTT First Team off at 12:02pm with stage finish on the Scartaglin road in Castleisland .

Stage 1B - Friday 29th March 2024 An Riocht AC, Castleisland, departure at 15:50 ceremonial start through the main street and on to Brosna and 5 laps of circuits in Knocknagoshel with finish on the main street in the village.

Stage 2 - Saturday 30th March 2024 | St Oliver’s School , Killarney Roll-Out at 9:45 down through countess and up the main street in Killarney and on to Killorglin via the infamous Bealach Oisin , Cuam a Ciste and finish after a circuit in Sneem Village.

Stage 3 - Sunday 31st March 2024 Green Glens Arena Roll-Out at 10:55. Taking in the climb of Kilmeedy and Mushera and finishing on the Kerrymans Table. 

Stage 4 - Monday 01st April 2024 Killorglin K.C.Y.M.S. – Roll-Out at 09:55 through the town of Killorglin on to the Beaufort loop, on to the circuits in Killorglin town with the finish up the hill in the main street. 

Click here for more information.