Rás na nÓg 2019 (Sponsored by ŠKODA Ireland)

The dust has just about settled on Rás na nÓg for 2019! What an action packed weekend it was with 15 finishes across Rás na nÓg, The Peter Bidwell Memorial and The Coombes Connor Memorial. 
Firstly, a huge thank you to all 170 competitors in Rás na nÓg and an even bigger congratulations on your results and performances over the weekend and for conquering ‘The Hill’ for 2019! Also thanks to everyone who supported our two senior races which are of huge importance to our club. Saturday evening, we remembered Peter Bidwell who is our dearly missed former chairman and also one of the founding figures of Rás na nÓg. It is with great pride and poignancy that we see so many take enjoyment from the race that he worked so tirelessly to establish, along with our long serving chairman Gerard Campbell, back in 2007. 
Yesterday, on Sunday, we remembered two instrumental figures in the establishment of our club and without whom, we wouldn’t have such a strong organisation to bring to you this weekend of racing! 
I want to thank all the parents, guardians and managers for their support at Rás na nÓg. No competitor, regardless of age or talent, could have completed the weekend without you. You’re the people who brought them to the hill and also the people who insured that our race regulations were followed and upheld and we all, both the organisation team and the competitors, owe you a huge amount of gratitude. 
We were very lucky to have the support and backing of An Garda Síochána and St John’s Ambulance for the weekend who both are of the upmost importance in keeping the riders of Rás na nÓg and all our events safe. 
We had a fantastic amenity in Bellewstown Racecourse and we are very thankful for being granted permission, for the fifth year now, to use the premises. It allows families and teams to park up on Saturday morning and see two great stages of racing without having to move to different locations so we are very lucky to have it. Thank you to all the riders who used this facility in the correct manner over the two days and made use of the provided bins, litter and waste was minimal and that’s really important so to keep it for future events. 
To all the commissaires over the weekend, along with judges, time-keepers, camera operators, the results team and all other officials – thank you, we were blessed to have such a nice and competent team around us. 
Now, the biggest thanks of all, to the army of volunteers from both our own and outside clubs. Every single person who assisted in the weekend was acting on a voluntary basis, they were giving up their time to support all the competitors in our events. It is only getting harder to obtain help yet we are very lucky to have a great group of people who turn up at every event. Sign on crews, marshals, car parking operator, refreshments providers, CPO, broom wagon, moto marshals, drivers, neutral service, results, website operator, those who sorted prizes, put out branding, took the branding back in, prepared before hand and cleaned afterwards, to absolutely anyone who assisted in the weekend in any way – we all owe you a great deal of gratitude. The event simply could not run without these people and I hope that everyone recognises the great deal of work that was undertaken by these people. Our events can only be as good as our volunteers and those willing to help so for us to be able to run the amount of events that we did in the three days just shows how lucky we are to have such a great team in the club.
Races can also not run without sponsorship and a major appreciation goes from everyone in the club and surely every competitor to Škoda Ireland for their third consecutive year acting as our title sponsor. They allow us to bring the race to a level that we wish for and without their generosity, we simply could not continue this event. Also a huge thanks to all the club sponsors, particularly our title sponsor Jon’s Civil Engineering along with SCME and Dimplex. To all our team car sponsors, thank you very much also! Rás na nÓg is lucky to receive backing from Cycling Ireland’s stage race grant program and thanks to all the team at Cycling Ireland for giving us this oppurtunity, likewise to all at Cycling Leinster for the help and support. 
To anyone who I’ve forgotten, thank you, to anyone who will I forget in the future, thank you. Without the support of everyone who I’ve mentioned this race could not go ahead and I recognise the help and roles played by so many in this weekend! Thank you to absolutely everyone. 
Lastly, on a personal note, there’s one man who I have to give my full appreciation to. That’s my Dad, he has ran and directed this race since it’s establishment back in 2007 and I was very lucky to be handed the role and honour this year. There’s no point saying that I done it all, because I didn’t and I couldn’t without him. Plenty of arguments were had about different issues, lots of debating about results, prizes and regulations but at the core of it all was the best interest for the race. I done my best to run and direct this edition of Rás na nÓg well but I couldn’t have even started if it wasn’t for the never-evening and unconditional support from him. Thank you Dad. 
So lastly, well done and congratulations to everyone on their results and participation in Rás na nÓg 2019 and in our other two senior events. A special mention to Katie Murphy of Sliabh Luachra CC for her bravery and spirit during the race which earned her the Klaus Peter combativity award and to our six fantastic champions – Oisín May (Scott Orwell Wheelers), Aliyah Rafferty (Island Wheelers), Quillan Donnelly (O’Leary Stone Kanturk), Shauna Finn (Newcastle West CC), Darren Rafferty (Island Wheelers) and Caoimhe May (Scott Orwell Wheelers). The whole team at Rás na nÓg are very proud of everyone who took part and wish you all the best of luck for the remainder of the season! 
Again, thank you to everyone who helped and supported our events over the weekend. I look forward to welcoming you all back to ‘The Hill’ in 2020! 

Gearóid Campbell, Race Director.

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