Scartaglin cyclists, Sean Barrett and Conor Kerins, under the watchful eye of their coach Tom Barrett, travelled to Co. Donegal to take part in the Errigal International Youth Tour which was held over the August bank holiday weekend. The four stage event was a big success. The event is now without doubt the top cycling event for youths in Ireland, UK and Europe.
With an entry this year of over 260 youths, every child, parent, guardian and family members from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Isle of Man, South Africa, Belgium, Spain and Malta who have participated in or watched the tour is a potential ambassador for not only our country but Irish Cycling in general.
The racing was hard, fast and furious throughout with the brutally tough climbs. Stage three was the hardest of all in the Youth Tour, with the famous ‘Keelogues’ Category One Climb up to the finish in Churchill. As a cyclist you either fear it or welcome it depending on your climbing ability.
On Sunday, as over two hundred youths in three different age categories battled their way up the climb and were cheered on by the hundreds of spectators that lined the sides of the road, it was truly reminiscent of a scene from the recent Tour de France.
For some, the cheers of the crowd would drive them onto victory, for others a multitude of hands helped push them up and over the steepest sections as exhaustion started to take over.
Sean Barrett represented the Munster Sensa team and Conor Kerins was cycling for Team I Bike both boys were very successful and finished in the top 20 in each event this was a great achievement for both of them. They are now in the cycling Ireland national youth academy and hope to be selected for the Irish squad representing Ireland in international events in 2015.
Sean and Conor also represented Team I Bike last week in the youth national cycling championship held in Ballymoney Co. Antrim and they finished in the top ten in each of the three events.