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Consistency pays off with victory for Mangan and Feeley in the National Road Series 2021
By Ciara O’Shea, Cycling Ireland
25 Sep 2021,

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Consistency pays off with victory for Mangan and Feeley in the National Road Series 2021
Media Release: 26.09.21

The women’s and men’s National Road Series 2021 has been decided on Carlow’s Killeshin Hills with Fiona Mangan and Daire Feeley taking the honours. On punishing wet rolling roads the most consistent riders of this year found themselves defending their positions of dominance as attacks and intense racing decided both races.

Fiona was first up in the women’s field as they rolled out from the start for their race. The field was small, with the World Championships and other events, taking their toll on the sign on sheet but it did little to disturb the intensity of the racing.

The early kilometres were set to cruise control as the nervous bunch watched closely and monitored each other but the fireworks started on the first of the challenging climbs as attacks went off the front.

There were repeated efforts to get clear and it was a three-up group of Caoimhe O’Brien, Lydia Boylan and Becky Woods who succeeded. It was Caoimhe who started the effort and glanced off the front followed by the two other strong women. It was a nail-biting finish as Fiona Mangan led a spirited defence of her jersey – tracking to within just a few seconds to catch the three escapees.

Caoimhe’s sprint had proven itself in Dromore for the Banbridge CC John Beggs Memorial and again her power and pace led to victory. She took the win with Lydia and Becky following behind in second and third. Fiona came across the line in the leaders jersey, taking the sprint for fourth just a few lengths behind.

Afterwards Caoimhe spoke of her joy at taking a back-to-back victory in the National Road Series.

“I am delighted. It was a good circuit and really suited me. There were three of us away. We got away on the climb and coming into the finish I was confident in my sprint. I saw Lydia go 100 or 150 metres to go and I just jumped on and my legs got it for me.

“I wasn’t really sure about how today would go. I knew it was going to split on the climb – we were on the main road for a good bit and when we came onto the circuit proper then we were on draggy roads.

“Once when we got to the last section of it I just put in a dig on the climb, Lydia and Becky came with me. We pushed on more on the downhill and I knew with about 2kms to go that the road was kind of too flat to get away. I knew it would come down to a sprint and I was confident in my sprint. I pushed at the end and got the win.

“My season has been good. I was at the Europeans two weeks ago in Italy – my form is good, hopefully I’ll have the legs at nationals.”

For Fiona Mangan it was the realisation of a year-long effort to take the leadership of the series.

“I am so happy to take the jersey. Today was a great race. It was a bit slow at the start but once the hills came the girls just kept attacking which was brilliant. It definitely put us to the test.

“I am really happy, coming off Rás na mBan it was really good to get a bit of racing before the National Championships next week. I am just so happy to keep the jersey and a great way to finish off the season.

“I just want to say a big thank you to all the organisers, especially Cycling Ireland for putting together the National Road Series. I know how much work goes into it from the club at home,” Fiona said.

The National Road Series 2021 Fiona Mangan finished with 197 points, Becky Wood was second with 170 points, Caoimhe O’Brien was third with 155 points, and Darcey Harkness had 116 in fourth.

The senior men’s field faced a classic 133km over the Des Hanlon Memorial course in the hills of Killeshin. This was one of those days for riders capable of dealing with heavy roads and rolling terrain.

One of those men was Chris McGlinchey and it was he who set the pace for the day. Breaking away with two other riders with 100kms to go and finding himself alone for the remaining 70kms.

The fact that McGlinchey could not overhaul Daire Feeley meant that some of the stress of the event was off for the leader in the series. But that did little to slow the pace and McGlinchey found himself in the lonely position of solo leader having dropped his companions on the climb.

It was a dominant display and harbinger certainly for what might happen at next week’s National Championships in Wicklow. He found hard to keep the pack at arms length and finished well clear of the field, exhausted but clearly happy as he through his hands in the arm in triumph.

Afterwards Chris told Cycling Ireland: “It was a long day, myself, Mark Dowling and a guy from UCD went on the climb just before the lap. We had 100km to go Dowling and the other guy were struggling a bit and I attacked them with 70km to go - 70 lonely kilometres for me.

“I just dug deep. It was a tail wind up most of the climb, I just buried it on the ascent and recovered on the descents.

“I am really happy to take the win in the Des Hanlon – it is such a prestigious race. It is one of the most important races of the year so I’m just delighted to take it and it being so close to the nationals, is a good sign.

“Feeley and some of the other guys were on my tail but it was very tough to dig deep in the last ten and I am delighted to have pulled it off.”

Daire Feeley spoke of his joy at taking the win in the National Road Series, finishing in second place in a sprint at the line.

“From the gun it was very, very hard. There were a lot of lads who were looking to take the lead in the National Road Series.

“I tried to ride the standard race I normally would, which is just ride from the gun and wear a lot of lads down but that didn’t work. I was marked out of it from the start so I really had to work or it.

“Luckily it was Chris McGlinchey up the road, he had missed a number of the races in the series so that gave me an advantage and I didn’t have to ride to bring him back.

“Chris deserves the win today, he’s an animal. I came here to win the National Road Series, I have done that and I am happy with it,” he said.

Daire spoke of the importance of consistency in pursuit of the National Road Series.

“My teammate Richie Maes said to me in Newcastlewest, I was only twelfth and I nearly threw the head but he said to me that you can win the national series if you stay consistent. And that’s what happened, I picked up a bit of form through-out the year and I came here today with good legs. This league awards consistency and luckily, I had that.

“After today I got a good bit of conditioning for next Sunday at the National Championships and hopefully we can do some sort of a result. It is difficult, we’ll have our work cut out for us with the big boys over for it but we’ll play it cute and see what happens,” the champion said.

The senior A1/A2 National Road Series finished up with Daire Feeley on 170 points, with Chris McGlinchey on 134, third was Luke Smith on 124 points and Liam Curley on 122 points.

Senior Men’s Podium
Gold: Chris McGlinchey
Silver: Daire Feeley
Bronze: Tiit Talumaa

Senior Women’s Podium
Gold: Caoimhe O’Brien
Silver: Lydia Boylan
Bronze: Becky Woods

Carlow and the Killeshin Hills play host to the final round of the National Road Series 2021
Media Release: 24.09.21

This weekend Carlow and the Killeshin Hills play host to the final round of the National Road Series 2021. The stunning league draws to a close on the famous route of the Des Hanlon Memorial, arguably one of the country’s toughest one day classics. It has been an exciting journey across the country from County Limerick, to County Down and now to Carlow.

The event, promoted by Carlow RCC, is a traditional spectacular raced across the rolling terrain of the Dolmen County. The day’s events will begin at midday and will see A1/A2 riders face a 133km route, the women will take on a 100km route. It will be the final opportunity for the elite men to take the coveted jersey and title of the National Road Series and will make for exciting racing.

There is a stacked field of favourites there with in form Daire Feeley, Mark Dowling and Gareth O’Neill likely to be at the front of the racing. Daire Feeley is the one to beat and will compete in the leader’s jersey with 209 points followed by Gareth O’Neill with 104 points. The winner and the rest of the podium of Sunday’s event will also lay down a clear marker of who to watch in the National Road Championships on October 3 in Wicklow.

John O’Shea, an organiser with Carlow RCC, has said the race will be one of the most exciting in years.

“This means a lot to the club to run the race this year and we are looking forward to welcoming everyone on Sunday. This is probably one of the longest standing races in Ireland and this is the forty first running of it. The race is named in commemoration of a junior cyclist, Des Hanlon, who was tragically killed on Christmas Eve 40 years ago – it was run the year after that and every year since except last year when it was interrupted due to Covid-19.We would view it as, if not the hardest in the country, it is in the top three hardest one day races in Ireland. Multiple winners of the event have been the best in the country and it is fantastic to see how many riders who have also won the Rás have won here. It is very a special race,” said John.

No doubt there will be an army of Scallion-Eaters on the roads of Carlow hoping to see the spectacle of the best of Irish cycling and John has some advice for them.

“The best location for spectators is probably the climb of the Rushes. It is not a particularly difficult ascent, it is at four or 4.5% but the action will be on there and is a good vantage point. It will come with 15 kilometre raced and is surely where the first attacks will go. Another good place to watch is a location known as the Yellow Road. As the bunch go into Castlcomer, about two kilometres up that road, there is long vantage point, where you will be able to see the riders for quite a distance. Another spot would be in Rossmore, near the statue, where the race will be in the Killeshin Hills at that point,” he added.

John said the race means a great deal to those involved and was delighted to share that enthusiasm with fans and racers alike.

“From our point of view there is such heritage in the race, there’s a fantastic list of winners and it is great to see, year after year, all the top riders wanting to win this race. There have been difficult times for the club but it has always got this race on and that has been a great boost. I must send our special gratitude to Athy Cycling Club, Castlecomer Cycling Club and Killeshin Cycling Club who provide the stewards. We need 50 marshals and we wouldn’t be able to put it on without their assistance. We also want to thank the local gardai and Order of Malta for their help and club sponsors, Dan Morrissey, for all their hard work and their continued support. We are really looking forward to seeing everyone on Sunday for what will be a great race,” John added.


- Race headquarters will be at Leinster Co-Op Marts on the Killeshin Road, Carlow.
- Race One is the A1/A2 event which begins at 12 midday – 133km long.
- Race Two is the A3 and Junior field will leave at 12.05pm – 100km long.
- Race Three is the Women at 12.15pm who will compete over 100km.

There will also be a race at 12.10pm involving the country’s A4s which will depart for a 67km loop at 12.10pm.


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Latest Headlines
Cycling Ireland E-Racing Winter League Returns
Ryan Mullen does the double at Road National Championships
Wins for Imogen Cotter (Senior Women) and Darren Rafferty (Junior Men) Nationals
Ryan Mullen Produces Powerful Ride to Win 2021 Time Trial Championships
Competitive Field Assembles for Cycling Ireland Road National Championships

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