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STAGE RACING : Gorey 3 Day Last Updated: 4 Apr 2018 - 3:34:51 PM

By Mick Considine
25 Jun 2012,

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The South East Road Club would like to extend its sincerest sympathies to the family of Sam D'Arcy, who passed away this morning in the Hospice, at Gorey District Hospital. Sam was the motivating force behind a very popular annual cycle, which was a major fundraiser for the Hospice. Indeed, the irony of being a fundraiser and spending his final days in the Hospice was not lost on Sam. His motivation to stage the annual cycle was due to the passing away of his late wife, Betty, in March 2005 in Gorey District Hospital. As a tribute to Betty,Sam at seventy years of age took part in some of the inter-club races that year. He visited her Grave every day.

It goes without saying that Sam had a way of getting things done.

There always was a serendipitous moment when Sam, with his large network of contacts would make the impossible, possible. When the South East Road Club organised the first Youth Two Day, he managed to get sponsorship by boarding an Arklow Waste Disposal Lorry as it was doing its rounds in Arklow. The end result was very generous sponsorship for the event. Sponsorship of the Gorey Three Day came about in not too similar a fashion, when Sam assisted the CEO of An Post, when his bike had broken down on the Gorey Road. That was Sams modus operandi.

Sam organised a very popular disco in Gorey to fundraise for the Irish Road Club. It was held in Hunts Hall in Gorey every Saturday night in the late sixties and early seventies. The DJ was, of course, an IRC member, Terry Curran.

Sam joined the Irish Road Club in 1958 and held many positions in that club. Such was the respect for him that he was elected President of the Irish Road Club in its Centenary year in 1990. The Irish Road Club is Irelands oldest existing club. Sam subsequently was made an honorary member for his services to cycling.

Sam was unique in that he never drifted away from cycling, as so many of us did, only to return later and attempt to make up for the missing years. Sam was steadfast in his passion and enthusiasm for cycling through the good and bad years and certainly, cycling for a time was neither popular nor profitable.

Sam's greatest achievement was the establishment of the Gorey Three Day race. This came about due to Sam's connections with Gorey. His late mother from a well-known Gorey family, the Walkers. Betty was a daughter of Markie Kealy from Clonattin, Gorey. The Gorey Three Day is now the second longest running stage race in Ireland and will approach its fiftieth anniversary in a few years without its inspirational figure, who will be sadly missed. No one can forget the sight of Sam on his motorbike stewarding the race. This always gave rise to many scary moments particularly as Sam's brain was wired to the Continental side of the road as he blightly disregarded white lines, whether broken or straight.

Sam and Betty D'Arcy at the Irish Road Club Dinner Dance back in November 2003, sadly Betty passed away 16 months after this picture was taken.

The Gorey Three day is one of the few races where there is a scramble for entries. All of the great Irish cyclists, such as Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche, Martin Earley and Paul Kimmage have participated in it. It has been a huge boost to the Gorey of Gorey and hinterlands during the Easter period. That's all thanks to the foresight of one man. Sam was honoured by Gorey Town Commissioners for his work with the race and at a special ceremony he signed the Distinguished Visitors book.

It was Sam's ambition both to live in Gorey and to start a bike shop there. This was achieved when he built his house in Kilmurray in the nineties and when opened his bike shop last year. Sadly, the long retirement that he had hoped to enjoy with Betty didn't come about, but they did enjoy a few short happy years together in their beloved house.

Sam was a terrific help when Arklow Cycling Club was set up 1985. He gave a great deal of time to the club and helped out with equipment. He gave a talk on bicycle maintenance, attended and competed in our races. He gave plenty of advice and without him Arklow Cycling Club would not have been as successful as it was. When the opportune time came to establish another club in the area, Sam came on board and was a founder member of the South East Road Club in July 2003. The Road Club part of the South East Road Club name comes from the connections to the Irish Road club, through Sam and other founding members.

Sam was responsible for setting up the very successful inter-club league which is still running. He was particularly interested in under age racing and was the motivating force behind the first SERC two day under age races. This ultimately led to the staging of the All-Ireland under -age championships in 2009. Despite the fact that Sam was involved with the Slipstream club from 2008 onwards, he rang the writer to wish us well with the All Ireland's. That was typical of Sam. He could see that the staging of major event in an area was inestimably superior to minor matters in the past.

Sam's heart was in cycling. There are very few in any sport who have given so much time, commitment, effort and enthusiasm, without adequate reward. Sam didn't get the recognition that he deserved. He wasn't afraid to have a go at City Hall, while may others would have have done the opposite and were rewarded for it. Sam didn't.

Sam has something in common with Bono. Everyone has a Bono story, similarly everyone has a Sam story.

He was a rare individual, unique, individualistic, irascible, fun and determined, but a very decent charitable side that often was forgotten about. When my mother died he sent me a marvelous letter of sympathy.

Ni beidh a leithid ann ar's. (We won't meet his like again)

Mick Considine

---- would like to thank Mick for allowing us to use this tribute to Sam.

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