O’Sullivan pips Barry to claim first national senior title

STEPHEN O’SULLIVAN (Cycleways Lee Strand) won his first national senior title in the All-Ireland Criterium Championship around the famed Monaghan Road circuit in Cork yesterday.

The 28-year-old Dubliner, who has claimed glory in practically every bike race across the country, took the title after a ferocious two-man sprint with local international, Timmy Barry, who rides for the Cidona Carrick club.

Paul Helion (North Kildare), who won the title with a lone crusade in Midleton a couple of years ago, attempted a repeat performance but was reeled in by a group which included the top two.

The 11 man pack also included Paul Griffin (Earl of Desmond Tralee), Mark Kiernan (Total Cycling.com), Ray Clarke (Cycleways), two young riders from Killorglin Credit Union, Barry Woods and Micheal Concannon, John Murphy (Fermoy) and Maurice Hartery (Autoview, Carrick-on-Suir).

Then came the exciting finish between Barry and O’Sullivan after the former made a break with eight laps remaining.

“I thought Timmy had gone a bit early,” recalled O’Sullivan. “But I told Ray (Clarke) I was going to have a go and then I knew once I caught him that he would give it 100% and that we would stay away. Once we got the gap I knew it was between the two of us.”

Behind them there was an equally exciting race for the bronze medal which went to Paul Griffin with young Barry Woods pipping Paul Healion for fourth place on the line.

A former junior time trial and track champion, Stephen O’Sullivan won a stage in the FBD Milk Ras a couple of years ago and has also won the Tour of Ulster, the Shay Elliott Memorial and the Gene Moriarty Cup among other races.

The sensation of the weekend was Sinead Jennings, the 2002 world rowing champion.

Jennings, a former Community Games cycling champion and under-age international, made a sensational comeback by winning the women’s time trial at Ballyboughal on Saturday with a minute and 3 seconds to spare over Siobhan Jacob (Usher IRC). Cheryl Fisher (Phoenix CC) was third. She covered the 20km course in 32 mins 31 secs and still won despite the fact that she punctured with two miles to go.

The victory wins her a place on the Irish team for the world championships in Canada in two weeks with possible qualification for the Olympics which could leave her in something of dilemma should she also qualify in rowing. She will also compete in the road race at the world championships.

David McCann (Endura Sport), two time Olympian and bronze medallist at this year’s world B championships, claimed the place on the team for the world championships when he won the men’s time trial by 52 seconds from national champion, David O’Loughlin (Ofoto Lombardia Sports) and Andrew Roche (Maesto Nella).

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