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Rás 2012 By Myles McCorry
Myles McCorry
“You’re riding the Ras?” Simple question “YOU’RE riding the Ras!” – Un nerving clarification “You! riding THE RAS”- Sheer Disbelief

I have received all of these over the past few months since I decided to return to our national stage race. Its not like I don’t ask myself the same question every time I struggle the 3-mile climb home. The house was bought in a younger, lighter, fitter time; when the climb was a selling point to the house, like underfloor heating- an en suite level 3 session. But Yes, I am riding it.

The ‘Why’ I'm riding the An Post Ras is a more difficult question, again asked with leading levels of scepticism. Level 1 “Are you riding the RAS?” Level 2 “Are you still thinking of riding the RAS?” Level 3 “You’re not still thinking of riding the RAS …are you!?” Level 4 “The Ras, REALLY? YOU?!”

The WHY is a personal thing for every single soul riding it, mine is a collection of various reasons, excuses and dreams that add up to a rubbish 2nd Cat having only two beers instead of five at Christmas and forgetting my younger son's name.

Paul’s Passing Changed Everything For Me; It Was Time To Get Serious About The Bike
Aaron Buggle
Following a return from injury last year, Aaron Buggle is enjoying his first prolonged period of uninterrupted racing. With a good Ras under his belt he is returning to France with big goals for the weeks ahead. In the first of what will be regular dispatches, he writes about his uncle and friend Paul Healion and how his attitude’s changed after Paul’s passing. He also looks ahead and outlines his hopes of progressing further in the sport and of catching the eye of a bigger team for next season.

Cycling started with me following after my late uncle and mate Paul Healion everywhere he went. I was like a bad smell to be honest. I got mad into cycling very fast and learned a lot from him; mostly good things but some insane stuff also!
In 2009 I started to do some of the track camps with the team pursuit squad and although I wasn’t yet strong enough it was a great learning curve. I had an eye on the TT champs from early in the year. More>>>

Plaque Unveiled To Honour The Achievements Of Local Cyclist
Ben McKenna
IT'S hard to believe that it's 50 years since the late great Ben McKenna won the gruelling cycle race of Ireland, known as the Ràs Tailteann.

The young, 20 year old cyclist from Julianstown had taken part in his first Ràs Tailteann only three years earlier in 1956 and was progressing through the ranks of Irish amateur cycling in the lead up to his greatest achievement over the eight-day race, which began in Dublin on August 2nd 1959 with the first stage of the race passing through Drogheda shortly after 3.20pm on that glorious summers day.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Julianstown man's victory a small gathering of family and friends gathered at Matthews shop at Mosney Cross Julianstown on Saturday last where his wife Grace unveiled a commemorative plaque in honour of her husband's thrilling performance back in 1959.

The Remarkable Story of Paudie Fitzgerald - Kerry's Ras Tailteann Winner of 1956
Paudie Fitzgerald Rás Winner 1956
Year after year I never cease to be amazed at the magnificent sporting stories that continually come to light in this county. Just when you say to your self no other story of great achievement will top the last one, along comes another. And the Paudie Fitzgerald story of his incredible winning ride in the Ras Tailteann of fifty years ago equaled anything that I have heard about in the past. The triumph of the human spirit over adversity and set back is here in all is glory. When you consider that his win in this most grueling of all Irish Cycle races was achieved in the so called "hungry fifties" when training facilities, diet, sponsorship and semi-professional were words you read only in the dictionary, then you begin to realize the magnificence of the West Kerry mans victory

Next Tuesday 23rd May the great cavalcade that is the Ras sweeps into Dingle town. It arrives there to commemorate and honour Paudie's historic win in 1956 and no man deserves the honour more. I have said here in this column many times in the past that sporting men and women outside the realm of the GAA find it very difficult to achieve the recognition they so richly deserve. Now this is only a personal opinion. Being a GAA activist myself for over fifty years I make no apologies for saying that the achievements of many great Kerry sportsmen and women are not lauded and applauded as they should in this county while GAA victories in all grades are generally the talk of every town, parish and village. Nevertheless I must add that that is the tradition and history of the county we live in. How many time have you the reader heard about Paudie Fitzgerald. Not often I would bet. More>>>

Coalisland Cyclist Wins "Toughest" Stage In Rás Tailteann 1958
The Tyrone 1958 Rás Team Left To Right Paddy Campbell Dungannon, Seamus Devlin Coalisland,Stage Winner 1958, Joe McIvor Dungannon, Stage Winner 1954 Tommy Drumm Dungannon And Ned Devlin Coalisland Trainer.
Screamed the newspaper headlines in August 1958 after local cyclist Seamus Devlin claimed victory in the toughest stage of the 8-day Rás Tailteann.

Seamus was one of four local men who represented Tyrone in the 1958 Rás Tailteann: the others were, Paddy Campbell, Joe McIvor and Tommy Drumm. Their trainer was also a local man, Ned Devlin. At that time, to ride the Rás was the ultimate achievement for Irish cyclists, without betraying their principles.

The Rás Tailteann was born out of a complex political and sporting context. After the Partition of Ireland in 1922, cycling in Ireland was organised by the NACA (National Athletics and Cycling Association) and later in 1938 by the NCA (National Cycling Association). Neither organisation recognized ‘Partition’ and cycling was organised on a 32-county basis.

In 1947 the BNCU (British National Cyclists’ Union) proposed a motion to the world governing body of cycling – the UCI “that the NCA confine its area of jurisdiction to the 26 counties.” This motion was strongly resisted by the NCA as its acceptance would have amounted to an endorsement of Partition. The British vigorously pursued the motion, and with the support of the block Commonwealth votes, it was passed by the UCI. More>>>

Rás Memories By Barry Meehan 2005
Barry Meehan
Each year during the third week in May several towns in Ireland reverberate to the sound of Paddy Fitzsimons voice encouraging the people of the town to ‘ Give a big Templemore ( or eight other town names each year ) welcome to the Men of The Rás ‘.

‘ The Rás ‘ holds a mythical place in the hearts of all Irish cyclists along with much of the general public . It gets daily TV and radio coverage along with plenty of column inches of print and even has had an excellent book published about it .

So , what does it take for an ordinary cyclist to become ‘ a man of The Rás ?’

Well , two years ago I completed my first Rás and here is my story .

Having raced as a first cat for two years after turning senior I fell away from the sport as do many others at that age when travel and skirts and beer appear out of nowhere . Cycling , however is a bug which never leaves the system , as can be seen by the number of people who return to the sport in their thirties and forties . When we opened the shop in 1999 I would be tuned in every hour on the hour to Roy Willoughby to see how Ray and the lads were getting on , and that pattern continued for a number of years . Also there is a huge amount of ‘cycling chat ‘ each day in the shop . Even though I had competed in some good races I still felt a pang when the ‘Rás’ talk began . It was as if the Rás is what it takes for a boy cyclist to become a man cyclist . It is akin to a soldier who has been to war . No matter how much training or manoeuvres you take part in , it is only when you experience the battle for real that a deeper understanding sets in and you are never the same again . That for me is The Rás . More>>>

If You Like Wind And Rain, Ireland Is The Place To Be
Men of the Rás If you like wind and rain, Ireland is the place to be

The Late Ned Flanagan Remembered
Ned Flanagan
In January, Kildare bade farewell to a true gentleman and great cyclist, Eamon “Ned” Flanagan.

Ned was born in Kildangan around 1940 and was reared in Kilbeg where he lived all his life. He attended Kildangan National School and in the mid 1950s he came to Monasterevin CBS, where he played football with the Monasterevin CBS School team. He was the first Kildangan pupil to do so, as he liked to point out himself. Ned showed promise as a footballer, but by this time his brother Paddy was already cycling competitively. It was natural that Ned would follow him and Jack Crowe into the Midlands Cycling Club, and football was quickly forgotten.

The Flanagan brothers soon made a name for themselves all over Ireland, on grass track, at mass start road races, time trialling and stage racing, and in all of these they formed a formidable team. Ned, known among his oldest friends as “The Butt” was not only strong but as tough as nails.


Shock As Star Cyclist Dies In Crash
Paul Healion Stage Winner
Seven times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has joined the tributes to Meath cyclist Paul Healion, who died in a road crash at the weekend.

The Irish sporting world is in mourning following the death on Sunday night of Mr Healion, one of the country's leading international amateur cyclists, who lived in Kilmessan.

Originally from Dunboyne, 31-year-old Mr Healion was killed in a single vehicle crash at around 10.25pm on Sunday night at Glack, near Ardee, on the Drumconrath Road. His car burst into flames after it hit a tree. The Minister for Sport, Martin Cullen, this week led the tributes from Government and sporting organisations.

Mr Healion was due to take part in the Tour of Ireland which begins on Friday, as a member of the seven-man Irish team. He will not be replaced on the team and a minute's silence will be observed in his memory on the opening day of the race.

Lance Armstrong is also due to participate in the Tour, and on his Twitter site yesterday (Tuesday) wrote: "It was very sad to hear the news of Irish cyclist Paul Healion, who passed away yesterday. Was due to race the Tour of Ireland with us. May he rest in peace." More>>>

The Gene Mangan Story
Competitive cycling may be but one of the minor sports in the calendar of Irish sporting activities, but in its minuteness the N.C.A. has a national strength which far
Gene Mangan
exceeds that of other athletic organizations many times more large.

The young men of the N.C.A. are more than sportsmen engaged in their favourite athletic activity. Their concept of sport has a much wider meaning than that of simple athletic competition. They clearly realise the significance of the fact that their country is being denied the right to nationhood in international competition and in realising this they are one in an earnest endeavour to break through that screen of misrepresentation which hides the true position of Irish athletics from the eyes of the vast majority of fair-minded sportsmen the world over.

This is the story, or at least the beginning of the story, of possibly the greatest and undoubtedly the most versatile of all Irish cyclists. It is the story of a young man who, despite international suspension, is tackling, the cream of world competition and who, I firmly believe, will by his action and by his triumphs, do much to bring before the eyes of the world the injustice which is being perpetrated against Irish athletics. This is a story of sportsmanship, triumphs and true athletic nationalism .... it is the story of the fabulous Gene Mangan of Killorglin. More>>>

Last Updated: Nov 10th, 2019 - 11:49:23

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