• 25Nov

    Donegal Bay Youth Review 2014

    2014 proved to be a very exciting and successful year for the Young cyclist in the clubs with several notable highlights. We had up to 40 young cyclists taking part in racing, club spins and other cycling activities throughout the year which is a very impressive number and fantastic to see.

    Cycle Racing

    The racing season proved to be our busiest yet with our cyclists taking part in races in Donegal, Ulster & further afield. Having never really raced away from home before, the list of races participated in this year reflect just how much the Youth section has developed within the club.


    Errigal Youth League,(4 Rounds) Churchill, Co Donegal

    Ciclisport Grand Prix, East Tyrone, Co Tyrone

    Mid Ulster Grand Prix, Cookstown, Co Tryone

    Ras na nOg, Drogheda, Co Louth

    Emyvale GP, Emyvale, Co Monaghan

    Banbridge Youth Races, Co Down

    Ulster Youth Championships, Craigavon, Co Armagh

    Omagh Wheelers Youth League(3 rounds), Co Tyrone

    Errigal International Youth Tour, Churchill, Co Donegal

    All Ireland Youth Championships, Ballymoney, Co Antrim

    Among those who participated in these races were Dylan Gallagher & Ronan McCauley at U-16 level and Oisin Doherty, Jonathon Crawford, Alan Mitchell & Eimear McHugh at U-14 level. It proved to a great season of racing for our young cyclists who all gained valuable experience racing with some of the best young talent in Ireland and culminated with Oisin Doherty from Mountcharles taking a fantastic bronze medal at the National Championships held in Ballymoney in Antrim. Oisin had a fantastic season competing at U-13/14 level even though he was still only 12 years of age. As well as a National Bronze medal, Oisin also won the U-13 section of the Errigal Youth League, the Emyvale GP, a round of the Omagh Youth League as well as a number of Top 10 finishes in other races.

    Alan Mitchell also took a great win at the Omagh Youth League and the rest of the group showed great heart and commitment throughout the year taking several good placings. A number of our cyclists also competed in a few events in the adult Summer league, with the cousins McCauley battling it out for the Junior prize. It was Ronan who just edged in from Caomhan. Oisin Joyce was a regular at the Summer leageu but unfortunately missed the Youth League due to other commitments(namely being the main star in a musical production).

    Donegal Bay Youth League

    For the second consecutive year, we organised a Youth League, increasing the number of events from three to five with 3 Road Races, a Time-Trial & Hill Climb. The league was run on Monday evenings during July and August and proved to be very successful, attracting over twenty young cyclists each week with competitors traveling from all over Donegal and further afield.

    The Doogan family from Gortahork & Errigal CC had a very successful time at the league with Odhran Doogan winning the U-12 competition, brother PJ the U-14 competition and sister Ciara, taking the Girls prize. All 3 would go on to win medals at the National Championships with Odhran & Ciara taking multiple golds.

    There were some excellent highlights for the host club, with it great to see so many of our own riders taking part and to see Dylan Gallagher taking the U-16 title for the club. Dylan from Ardara was in his first season of racing this year, having joined the Club primarily because we had a Youth section which is not case in most cycling clubs. Dylan rode very consistently throughout the league and was a worthy winner. Still U-16 for next year, Dylan has shown a lot of potential in his first season of racing


    Eimear McHugh finished 2nd in the Girls competition and showed that it is more than possible for the girls to compete with the boys. It was also Eimears first season of competition and she demonstrated that she has the ability to progress a lot further.


    Taking into consideration that 6-7 of the young cyclists who took part in our league would go on to win medals at National level shows the amazingly high standard of racing at the Donegal Bay Youth league. Well done to everyone who took part.


    Donegal Bay Cyclists who competed in the Youth League, Dylan Gallagher, Ronan McCauley, Oisin Doherty, Jonathon Crawford, Alan Mitchell, Eimear McHugh, Ciaran McGrory, Oisin Bryson, Eoin McCauley, Joe Reid & Oisin Reid



    Youth Spins

    For most of the year, an adult led Youth spin took place each Saturday morning leaving from the St.John Bosco centre, Donegal Town. These spins were aimed at getting out to enjoy the beautiful countryside around South Donegal and to gain the experience of riding in a group. Most mornings saw a decent size group head out with up to 15-16 some mornings. As well as our racers, we also had other young cyclist’s join in including the Timoneys from Ballintra, David, Sara and Karen who were excellent attendees at the spins and we saw a few new faces as well.


    Sprocket Rocket

    We once again ran the Sprocket Rocket programme which introduces primary school children to the basics of cycling with the aim of developing bike handling skills, teaching riders fair-play and fostering enjoyment of cycling. We had 20 children attend each week and there was plenty of fun and noise along the way.


    Meeting the Stars

    More recently a number of our Youth Cyclists travelled to Letterkenny to meet and cycle with Donegal Professional Cyclist Philip Deignan who is a member of the top ranked SKY Cycling team and top ranked British female cyclist Lizzie Armistead who is an Olympic Silver medalist and the current Women’s World Cup Champion.

    It was a great opportunity to meet, ask a few questions, get an autograph and cycle with some of the top stars of the sport and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the experience.


    Looking forward

    Even though out club is still relatively young, Youth Cycling has really developed in a short space of time from a handful of young cyclists the first year to the numbers we now see involved. Even though cycling has gone through a real boom in recent times, there are still very few clubs who have a Youth section or are interested in developing that area. A lot of work has been done by a number of people within the club including Youth Officer Paul Doherty and people such as Roger McCauley, Greg McHugh, Willie John Gallagher, Michael Bryson, Tommy Doherty who were regular leaders of the Youth Spins throughout the year. We cannot forget another young cyclist Caomhan McCauley who has become a surrogate type father figure to his younger companions leading them on training spins and taking great interest in their progress. Leading by example.

    Of course if wouldn’t be possible without the support of the parents and we would like to thank them for all their assistance throughout the year, especially with the marshaling of the Youth League for which we are also indebted to the many other club members who helped out throughout the league. Of course we will probably miss someone but we really appreciate everyone’s help throughout the year.

    Plans are already being made to develop Youth Cycling in the Club even more for next year. The club will be running their first Open Youth race in July and this is likely to attract Youth Cyclists from all over Ulster and Connacht which should be a great day for the Club. There is also the possibility of a North West League being organised between a number of clubs and the we also hope to host a number of child protections workshops and coaching seminars. All in all 2015 is shaping up to be another busy and exciting year for Youth Cycling in Donegal Bay Cycling Club.

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