Hennessy ready to defend title in Fermoy

MICHAEL HENNESSY can keep the big prize at home when he lines up for the Silver Pail Grand Prix cycle race in Fermoy on Sunday.

After a superb performance in the Des Hanlon Classic, he was in the thick of the action in the Killorglin Credit Union Rás Mumhan last weekend and has high hopes.

So too will the likes of Micheal Concannon (Killorglin Credit Union) and the Lynch twins, Denis and Daniel, from Kanturk Credit Union CC, so this promises to be the most exciting race in years.

On a weekend when the Harry Reynolds Memorial (tomorrow) and the Ben McKenna Memorial (Sunday) are down for decision in Balbriggan, as well as the Tour of Ards in Newtownards, most of the top rides will be up country.

John Dempsey (Dan Morrissey Carrick Wheelers), winner of last weekend’s Rás Mumhan, will be heading for the Archer Grand Prix, along with a big group that includes David McCann, John Griffin, Sean and Brendan Lacey, the Cycleways.com team and Team Murphy and Gunn.

Tim Barry and Brian Truman from Dan Morrisseys are taking a break while their club mate, Martin O’Loughlin, winner of the points classification and the Connor Pass stage in Rás Mumhan, is out of the country.

A record number of riders will line up for the 2005 edition of the FBD Insurance RÁS at the GPO in Dublin on May 22.

For the first time, 200 riders will line up, the maximum number allowed by the world controlling body, the UCI, for international races.

The field will include professional, national and continental regional teams and, of course, a big number of county teams, the backbone of the RÁS down the years.

The Irish team may be without defending champion David McCann, and national champion David O’Loughlin, who was third last year. Both are finding it difficult to obtain releases from their pro contracts to take part in this year’s event.

The route for this year’s RÁS will bring riders in an anti-clockwise direction for stage end finishes in Emyvale, Tubbercurry, Lisdoonvarna, Templemore, Abbeyleix, Rathdrum and Wicklow Town before the grand finale at the Phoenix Park on May 29.

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