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Shay O'Hanlon 1961 Cycling Season By Paddy Hoare
By Published By Eddie Dawson
Feb 8, 2024, 09:56

Shay O’Hanlon’s 1961 Cycling Season By Paddy Hoare

Shay O'Hanlon, Dublin Winner of The 1962 Rás Tailteann

For some years past it has been customary to select the top stars, in the various sports, by the top sporting journalists in their own field. When it comes to cycling for 1961 there is only one star – Shay O’Hanlon of the Clann Brugha Club Dublin.

During last year, O’Hanlon was week after week in the news and the results of his endeavours have carved another niche in the Annals of the National Cycling Association.

In a short but brilliant career, O’Hanlon has proved himself the perfect bike rider. He can win overall mediums- track, road and time trials. This he has proven since he first took up the sport a few short years ago.

His success can be termed phenomenal. But this success, or can we turn it climbing to the top of the tree, has he yet reached it?  I doubt it; can be fully gleaned from his great devotion to training and his avid love of the sport.

Last season Shamus established records ad lib. His greatest was of course, his Irish record for the all-Ireland 50 mile time trial championship.
in this race Seamus really excelled himself and the manner in which he finished the event- he was really flying- showing the cycling qualities which this Insurance clerk possess in his legs.
He came through the line in 1-59-58. For the distance. The first time two hours was ever beaten for the journey in Ireland.
On finishing, he was mobbed by well wishers, but Seamus took the lot in his stride for on this May Day he had other engagements.
Yes he was going to the opening of the Lourdes Stadium in Drogheda to compete in the All-Ireland 10 kilos point to point title. A quick change saw him away from the Navan road to Thomas Street, where Paddy Ryan gave him a rub down, a quick meal and then to Drogheda.
The news of his “50” time trial ride had preceded him and accordingly the promoters agreed to put back the All-Ireland track title race. When they went to the line Seamus was there but Lady Luck did not shine on him on this occasion. Every thing went wrong. He had two spills, then his handlebars went loose but he finished a gallant second.
From there on he never looked back and then want on to win the All-Ireland100 Mile Massed Start Championship, the All-Ireland 25 Mile T.T. title and the All-Ireland 100 Mile T.T title in record time of 4-23-32: the 30 Mile T.T. title in a new record time, and culminated a great season by winning the Palmer cup 25 mile T.T. promoted by the Harp C.C. in 58.05. Another Irish record. On top of all this he won the 5 mile point to point All-Ireland track title at the National Championships at  Fermoy, was a member of the all-conquering Dublin team in Rás Tailteann, won the longest one stage race in Europe Dublin to Killarney and a host of other awards.
In relation to Rás Tailteann, He Started off a warm favourite, but tactics decreed that he was well down after two days. However the O’Hanlon spirit can never be curbed and he finished this great race in a blaze of glory when winning the last three stages.
Other notable successes which he gained were in the Ulster 3-Day, Tour of Kildare, Tour Of Wexford, Leinster Grand Prix, George Plant Memorial, Tour Of North East (2Day), Lemass Cup, Liam Healy Cup(Individual), Brian Boru Cup.
That was indeed a record which will take some beating- the only man that can do it will be Seamus O’Hanlon himself, who for the past two seasons has been acclaimed as the Caltex Award winner as Irelands top cyclist- an honour he richly deserves and one he is certain to hold on

Shay O'Hanlon Dublin & Mick Murphy Kerry

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