With the Irish cycling season coming to a close, Donie Walsh was the only Laois cyclist to make the trip to Gorey, Co Wexford for the Betty Darcy Memorial on Sunday week last.
Having been prominent in Wicklow the previous week by being involved in a break that was pulled back by the main bunch, this time he timed his move to perfection and got himself into the crucial move of the day. The race got underway in beautiful sunshine in the Southeast but by the halfway mark had turned into torrential rain making conditions hazardous for racing.
With 30km left a breakaway of six riders formed but it never got out of sight of the main bunch and 5km later on the last climb of the day Walsh jumped across to the break. The seven men in the break worked hard together keeping up a relentless pace but as they turned on to the main road for Gorey again the gap had been reduced to just fifteen seconds with 12km to go.
The strong Naas and Slaney CC teams at the front of the bunch had worked hard on closing the gap but with the breakaway now benefiting from a strong tailwind it reinvigorated their efforts and the gap began to grow again.
With 2km left the break was well out of sight and had opened an almost two minute gap as the attacks began among the breakaway. Eoghan Kevlihan from Lakeside Wheelers Mullingar provided a great lead out for Walsh as the finish came into view and with 150m to go Walsh was first out of the saddle and powered away from his breakaway companions holding off Wexford sprinter Albert Walsh to take the win.
The win gives Walsh enough ranking points to see him upgraded and he will now join club mate Eoin Whelan at the season ending National Championships in Mayo where both will be hoping to continue some recent good form.