The 2018 Kerry Group Ras Mumhan – 4 Great Days in Review:
By Padraig Harnett
I have had the pleasure of working on Kerry Group Ras Mumhan for the fifth time and each year my admiration for the organisers and the competitors grows year by year.
The four days of the Easter Weekend demonstrate what sport can be all about – an event organised to the highest level competed in by sportsmen performing at the highest level.
The Ras – One of the big sporting events on the calendar:
The event draws big numbers to the Killorglin area with over 181 riders starting out on Good Friday. Add to this the back-room staff each of the 38 teams have plus those who travel to Kerry to cheer on the cyclists and were are talking about well over 500 visitors to the mid Kerry area for three nights.
Then you see the publicity this brings including coverage on the RTE News plus the local and social media and add this to financial benefits and you see the size of the event.
Now does it get the backing from the tourist interests in the county? I don’t believe it does and as an aside I feel sports tourism in general it neglected in this county.
On the positive side the event is well supported by title sponsor Kerry Group, a wide range of other sponsors and enjoys a great working relationship with the Gardai, County Council and the Emergency Services.
The Unsung Heroes:
Many of you who are reading this know the people that put incalculable hours over months into getting everything right. I am not going to mention anyone by name as I know they will not want me to. Suffice to say that the standard of the event is testament to their work.
Then there are the volunteers who marshal the Ras and who are at every junction and at the stage ends. These men and women give up their time on a Bank Holliday weekend because they know that they are a vital cog in the big machine that is the Kerry Group Ras Mumhan organisation.
Mention must also go to the motorbike marshals and the Commissars and results staff who ensure everything is 100% every day.
The Men on the Bike:
Coming up we will look at those at the front of the stages and on the final General Classification. But everyone member of the peloton deserves great respect. Many of these riders will never trouble the top of the timing charts but everyone one of them will fight for every second as cycling is first and foremost a battle of rider against the clock.
Like all races there were tough stages to tackle, hills to climb and descent including the Category 1 Coom an Easpaig, the elements to battle – even though the weather gods did ok for three of the four days while they certainly tested the riders on Sunday in South Kerry and of course nearly 200 opponents! But for all of these riders there is no better way to spend the 4 days of the Easter weekend than on the Kerry Group Ras Mumhan.
The Story of the Ras Mumhan 2018:
Conor crowned King of the Ras Mumhan in Killorglin:
Killorglin is well used to crowing kings and on Easter Monday Conor Hennebry (Viner- Caremark –Pactimo) was crowned the king of the 2018 Kerry Group Ras Mumhan and the latest in a prestigious list of winners of the Donal McKenna Cup.
The Waterford man and his team were in control on the final day which saw the riders do three loops of the Killorglin, Beaufort, Killorglin circuit plus 9 laps of the Donal McKenna circuit including climbing the hill in Killorglin each time.
While the final stage of many races is a leisurely ride this is never the case on the Ras Mumhan but the leaders team, with Sean Lacey organising things, were able to mark all of the winner’s closest challengers. However it was one of the closest races of all time as only seconds separated the top six on general classification after four days of racing. The winner of the final stage and the Paddy O’Callaghan Memorial Cup was by the Dutch West Fresia rider Joury Ottenbros.
Lacey took 12th overall and was once again the top Kerry rider taking another Paul O’Shea Cup while the team also took the top spot.
Hennebry, a former rider with the An Post/ Sean Kelly team, took the yellow jersey after winning Stage 3 in South Kerry, a stage that will live long in the memory for many years!
The wind, the cold and the rain made what is a tough 155km tour of South Kerry, including the Category 1 Coomaneaspaig climb, one of the toughest tests that the cyclist faced in many a year. Attacks were made all day and in the last 5km a group of 10 got away. Hennebry sprinted clear on the always exciting finish on Waterville’s main street to win the Eamon Scully Memorial Cup and move into the lead of the race.
The race began on Good Friday with the annual 100kmroute around East Kerry starting and finishing in Killorglin, the town of the host club of the Ras Mumhan. This was won by Alex Lurhs from Ribble UK Pro Cycling team. It was the first of four good days for the Killarney Cycling Club as Conor Kissane took the King of the Mountains jersey and Patrick Clifford the SC jersey.
If anyone wasn’t sure that the Ras Mumhan was an international race then the Stage 2 podium after the 130km ride from Listowel to Athea. The stage and the Gene Moriarty Cup was won by Wouter Been from West Fresia with his Dutch teammate Harry Sweering in third while an Italian living in Navan Matteo Cigala, the winner of the Lacey Cup was second. Marcus Treacy took over the S2 Jersey.
Being a race based in Kerry we always keep an eye on our own and there were many good performances by the counties riders with Tralee Manor West’s Cathal Moynihan 17th overall. Listowel’s Eugene Moriarty deserves a special mention as he completed his 21st Ras Mumhan with a top 30 placing. Marcus Treacy took 3rd overall in the S2 Category and Patrick Clifford 9th while Cormac Daly, Tralee Manor West, took 8th in the Young Riders classification.
Go to the Results Section to get all the details of the Stages and Overall Placing’s.
Planning for the 2019 Ras Mumhan will begin in the coming weeks. Who will be the next winner to add his name to the prestigious list of winners? That’s the question we will ponder until Easter Monday 2019.