A tour first for Thomas

THOMAS Martin became the first Lurgan cyclist to win the Patsy O’Connor Cup on Sunday.

He ran out a convincing and well merited winner of the 52nd annual Classic Mineral Water Tour of Armagh.

The 60 competitors left Lurgan at noon for Portadown and on the road to Loughgall Martin joined a small group of leaders who held a slender 20 second gap ahead of the main field.

By the time they reached the mountain road after Keady, the lead group was breaking up and Martin took the prime award at the top, still with less than a minute in front of the chasers.

Soon he was alone in the lead, still with the main bunch keeping him in sight. Bravely he held on until the finish on Lurgan’s Gilford Road. He crossed the line just eight seconds clear of the next cyclist and with the main bunch a mere three seconds further back.

The Clann Eireann organising club had three men in the race, John Heverin, Martin McConville and Conor Grimes, all of whom finished in or closely behind the main group.

Thomas Martin began his competitive cycling with Clann Eireann where he raced very successfully as a youth and junior rider, before moving to the Dublin based Eurocycles team.

Several cyclists taking part in part in last Thursday’s McCall Foundation 25 mile time trial at Woodgreen recorded personal best times and amongst them were two Clann Eireann stalwarts, John Heverin and Harry Martin.

For Heverin it was a rare defeat in another way, since he was beaten into second fastest place by Irish international rider Aaron Buggle, but nevertheless, he had to be happy with another slender lowering of his best time over the 25 miles, at 49 minutes 58 seconds.

For Harry Martin his 59 minute 14 second effort was his best ever result over the 25 mile distance. There are not all that many cyclists around who can claim to have ever beaten the 25 mile an hour standard, and Harry’s result is a tribute to his perseverance.

This weekend there are open events at Dundrod on Saturday and the Billy Stewart Cup race at Derrymacash on Sunday.

The following Tuesday at 7pm there is another interclub road race to be run off by the Orchard Wheelers, on a circuit understood to be based near Richhill.