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1954 Joseph O'Brien Wins Eight Day Rás Tailteann
By Eddie Dawson
Feb 23, 2007, 19:10

Joey O'Brien Receives The Race Leaders Yellow Jersey From Wexford Lord Mayor After Stage 1

Rás Tailteann Triumph


From the start in O’Connell Street where thousands of Dubliners blocked the thoroughfare to cheer the racers on their way the race wended its way around the four Provinces  in a triumphal procession and where hundreds turned out to see the Tostal Tour with its eighty Englishmen. Thousands turned out to cheer on the N.C.A. riders.


At one point a train actually stopped on the line and passengers got out to watch the race go by. Holiday-makers touring the country by car joined in with the cavalcade, and followed the race for days. At Tralee a crowd estimated at 20,000 lined the finishing straight.


Greatest triumph of all however was the number of finishers. Only nine men fell out and of them four were Gate men, who pulled out when Andy Christle, a brother of team members Mick and Colm, was killed in an accident at Tralee.


The competitive side of the race was dominated by the National C.C. Team, which nearly did not start at all. Joey O’Brien won the individual race and with his team mates, Dick Sweeney, Leo O’Connor took team honours as well.

Joey O'Brien & Matt Sands

Willie Cooper Paddy Edgerton Dick Sweeney Joey O' Brien Leo O' Connor

Back Row:- Paddy Edgerton Willie Cooper Dick Sweeney Leo O'Connor Joey O'Brien Front Row:- Matt Sands Joe Clarke Percy Spallard

The Start Of The Tralee - Ennis Stage

Joseph O'Brien Wins Eight Day Rás Tailteann

Nineteen year old Joseph O’Brien Of The National Cycling Club was declared the winner of Ras Tailteann which concluded in the Phoenix Park yesterday, with the eight and final stage (Newry-Dublin) a distance of 110 miles.


O’Briens time for the eight day’s journey of 700 miles was 40-01-20


The King of the Mountains winner, Cecil O’Reilly of Antrim, was placed second, 2mins 21 seconds behind the winner, with the Connaught rider, Mick Palmer 3rd.

After a close and exciting struggle over the early stages with the Army, the National Club, Dublin, captured the team honours from a young and promising Meath Team


Leaders Jersey


The vice President of the Ulster Council (N.A.C.A.) Mr Joseph Conhallen M.P. presented the yellow jersey to the race leader Joseph O’Brien prior to the start of the final stage from Newry.


Shortly after the start W. Cooper of the National C.C. was rather lucky  to avoid a serious crash as the frame of his bicycle just folded up. He was given another bicycle and continued on.


Approaching Dundalk the Ulster man P. Devlin punctured, changed immediately, but failed to catch up with the field and so retired.


McIvor got the Navan prime from Fitzgerald by inches with the field, led by the National Rider Seamus Sweeney 4min. 30sec behind in hot pursuit and the race leader Joseph O’Brien sitting nicely with Cecil O’Reilly.


Held His Lead.


Approaching Phoenix Park McIvor drew into a 50 yards lead over Fitzgerald who dropped back into the pursuing group. They chased McIvor all the way up the main road but the Tyrone rider hung on bravely to cross the finish line winner of the last stage by a length from Frank Ward, Harp C.C. with Cecil O’Reilly inches away third. and Steve Abbot close up fourth.

The first eight finishers with the overall winner J.O’Brien in sixth place were all clocked at 4-44-20 for the 110 mile stage.


Race Director:    Joe Christle


Joe McIvor Tyrone Winner Of The Final Stage Newry To Dublin


Newry – Dublin Stage


1. J. McIvor, Tyrone                                         4-44-20

2. F. Ward, Harp C.C

3. C. O’Reilly, Antrim.

4. S. Abbot, Harp C.C.

5. P. Hickey, Cork.

6  J. O’ Brien,  National C.C.

7. T. Whelan, Kildare.

8. C. Dunne, Harp C.C.


Prime Winners. 


                           Dundalk        C. Dunne, Harp C.C.

                           Drogheda      P.O’Shea, Army C.C.

                           Navan          J. McIvor, Tyrone C.C.


Stage Winners :


Mick Christle Winner Of Stage 2


Stage 1:    Dublin to Wexford 171 Kms.    J. O'Brien (National C.C.)  4-37-06


Stage 2:    Wexford To Cork 205 Kms.   M. Christle (Gate C.C.) 6-10-28


Stage 3:    Cork To Tralee 208 Kms.  T. Carmody (Kerry) 6-01-50


Stage 4:    Tralee To Ennis 176 Kms.  P. White (Army C.C.) 4-06-04 

Stage 5A:
  Ennis To Galway 64 Kms T.T..   J. O'Brien (National C. C.) 1-38-24 


Stage 5B:  Galway  To Athlone 93 Kms.  T. Flanagan (Meath)  2-10-10


Stage 6:    Athlone To Armagh 170 Kms.   W. O'Brien (Cork)  4-07-07


Stage 7:    Armagh To Newry 187 Kms.   W. O'Brien (Cork)  5-27-00

Stage 8:    Newry To Dublin 187 Kms.   J. McIvor (Tyrone)  4-44-20



Cecil O'Reilly Antrim Mountains Winner & Joe O'Brien National C.C. Dublin Overall Winner


General Classification











J. O’Brien, National C.C..

C. O’Reilly, Antrim.  

M. Palmer, Connacht.

D. Ryan, Limerick.

F. Ward, Harp C.C..

P. Fitzgerald, Kerry.

C. Dunne, Harp C.C..

P. Rogers, Ulster.

T. Flanagan, Meath.

P. O’Callaghan, Kerry.











Mountains Winner


Cecil O'Reilly Antrim Mountains Winner


List Of Competitors 1954


Gate C.C Dublin

M. Christle

P. Clarke

C. Christle

H. O’Toole-King



W. O’Brien

J. Hickey

P. Hickey


Harp C.C.

S. Abbott

C. Dunne

F. Ward



T. Carmody

P. Fitzgerald

G. Mangan

J.  Connor



J. Crowe

C. Carr

T. Whelan



S. McGreevy

P. Rodgers

S. Devlin

L. Laverty

B. Monaghan


National C.C.

J. O’Brien

W. Cooper

P. Edgerton

D. Sweeney

    L. O’Connor


Army C.C.

K. Sloane

P. White

P. O’Shea

J. Rowe



T. Flanagan

T. Gerrard



 M. Palmer



D. Ryan



J. O’Meara



C. O’Reilly



J. McIvor



V. Bridges


Tailteann C.C

W. Kennedy

S. Condron



P. O’Callaghan

P. Murphy


Winning Team National C.C.

J. O’Brien, P. Edgenton, D. Sweeney, Willie Cooper, Leo O'Connor


1954 Winning Team Plaque

 Tragic Footnote.
The Rás suffered its first tragedy when Andy Christle Brother Of Race Director Joe and competitors Colm and Mick was killed in a motorcycle accident in Tralee. The Gate Cycling Club Team withdrew from the  race as a mark of respect.

1954 Ulster Rás Team Seamus Devlin,Seamus McGreevy,Liam Laverty,Pat Rodgers And Brian Monaghan

Andy Christle R.I.P.

Due to the deterioration of the original paper clipping there may be some errors in this reproduction.

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