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Damien Shaw Wins Silver as Irvine retains Title

posted 14 Jun 2011, 14:43 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 18 Jun 2011, 08:54 ]
Martin Irvine successfully defended his  National Criterium title in Mullingar on Friday evening, taking the sprint from a breakaway group of three riders to win gold for the second year in a row.   From a local perspective however, the real story is the phenomenal performance by Damien Shaw to take second place and silver medal – the first national championship medal by a Mullingar cyclist.  Stephen O’Sullivan was third, taking bronze.

Damien Shaw was one of a team of five Lakeside Wheelers riders who went to the line in what turned out to be one of the best run and exciting examples of twon centre cycling seen in the country in the hstory of Irish amateur cycling.

The three medalists broke away early on in the hour long race, along with East Antrim man Glen Kenning and established an unassailable lead within a short time.  As the race progressed, Kenning fell away, leaving three in contention for the medals.  

The local interest in the breakaway group certainly kept the large crowd’s attention and as the time ticked towards the final five laps the leading trio consolidated their lead, lapping all but a handful of riders. 

In the 3rd last lap, Damien found himself slightly off the pace and it looked for a while that the gold medal battle would be fought out between Irvine & O’Sullivan but true to form he dug deep and regained contact before the end of the lap.  

The three leaders shared the effort over the remaining laps.  In the end Irvine proved too strong and claimed gold with a couple of bike lengths to spare from Damien who claimed silver and the first national championships medal for a Mullingar cyclist.  O’Sullivan was a similar distance back in third.

This was a powerful performance by Damien  in a very tough and technical discipline in very strong company, all the more impressive given that this is just Damien’s second season racing.

The other Lakeside Wheelers -  John Murray, Robbie Kenny, Stuart Cox and Peter Rimmer - turned in good performances with John finishing strongest in fourteenth place.   Well done to all the team and it’s fantastic to have come away with a medal, especially in a locally hosted event which was a spectacular advertisement for the sport of cycling. 

The club can be justifiably proud of the whole event, which was professionally organised run and topped off with Damien and the team’s performance on the night, it makes it all the better.   The excitement and anticipation – especially in the closing laps – was palpable and was contributed to not only by Damien’s performance on the streets but with Gay Howard’s running commentary and Mossie’s pulsating sounds.

Steve Franzoni and John Murray in the chasing Group

The 3 medalists in the 2011 National Criterium Championships -
LR: Stephen O'Sullivan (Bronze), David Irvine (Gold) and our own Damien Shaw (silver)