Gerry Keogh Stage Winner In His First Rás Tailteann
Nov 13, 2017, 10:47
Ratoath native Gerry Keogh, who died in Dublin recently, was a prominent cyclist at a time when Meath riders were enjoying considerable success nationally, in the 1950’s. A native of Halltown on the Skyrne Road Ratoath, he lived in Clonsilla, and was aged 91 when he passed away at Connolly Memorial Hospital Blanchardstown on the 16th November 2015.
Working in Dublin as a young man, he began his cycling career with The National Cycling Club in his twenties. He worked in Allied Irish Finance alongside Kerry cyclist, Gene Mangan, having earlier worked at construction, including operating what was then Ireland’s biggest crane at the building of the church in Finglas.
He took part in his first Rás Tailteann in 1955, and won the sixth stage, a testing 88 mile spin from Cork to Tralee over mountainous terrain. He was in an eight-man breakaway group for nearly 100 miles before breaking away on his own in the closing stages to win by 10 seconds from Gene Mangan, Kerry who was the outright winner.
In 1957, Gerry took second place overall to Dublin team-mate Frank Wark and was on the winning team with Ward and Archie Williams. Meath Rás legend Ben McKenna, the winner two years later, was third with another Royal county rider, Alec Davis, fourth.
Gerry Keogh rode with Meath in the 1958 Rás won by Kerry’s ‘iron man’ Mick Murphy, along with McKenna, Tommy Flanagan, Willie Heasley, Fred Harris and Jack Courtney, while Mick Creighton from Bective rode as an individual.
In 1959, when Ben McKenna gained his place in the Rás roll of honour, Gerry Keogh was a team-mate along with Willie Heasley, Paddy Roe, Larry Dunne and Jack Courtney, all St Patrick’s clubmates of the winner.
In 1972, when Rás race director Joe Christle had to step aside because of an ear infection, Gerry Keogh was part of a three man team of officials which ran the race, alongside Ronnie Williams and Padraig Murphy.
In 1978 when Meath man Seamus Kennedy won the Rás riding for Kerry, Gerry was part of the backup team along with his former rival and goo friend Gene Mangan.
He won two National Cycling Association All-Ireland road championships, 100miles in 1955 and 50 miles in 1957.
Gerry and his brother, Jack, finished first and second respectively in the tour of Meath, and similarly, in the tour of Louth, with Ben McKenna third. He always kept in touch with his native Ratoath, and enjoyed following a Ward Union Hunt outing as a spectator. He passed away peacefully after a short illness.