by Jim Traynor, December 2000.
The world of Irish cycling suffered a tragic loss recently with the sudden death of Paddy Flanagan. The Kildare rider was at the top of the sport for nearly two decades and although he had great success in all branches of cycle sport, he will probably be best remembered for his three victories in the Ras. Only Shay O'Hanlon, with 4 wins, has a better record in Ireland's premier stage race but in some ways Flanagan surpassed the Dubliner, notably in the span of his time at the top, 16 years between his first win in 1960 and his third in 1975. O'Hanlon won first in 1962 and then had a purple period when he took the yellow jersey on the opening stage in 1965 and never lost it for the next three years. It is fitting that Paddy Flanagan should be specially remembered on the Ras website and what better way than to retell the story of those three years. It is also a tribute to another Ras rider who died only a few months earlier. Mick Cahill of Cork was one of the stars of the 1975 Ras and was with Flanagan and O'Hanlon in the break of the race on the final Saturday which gave the Kildare rider his victory. Mick went on to finish 8th overall.
1960 STAGE 1
Torrential rain marked the opening stage of the 1960 event, 92 miles from Dublin to Cavan which was won by 19-year-old Dan Ahern (Kerry) in a sprint from an 11-man group from Shay O'Hanlon (Dublin), whose performances during the season saw him start the event as favourite. After Kells 11 riders went away, Dublin well represented with O'Hanlon, Shay Murphy and the McGrath brothers Denis and Dermot. Kerry had two: Ahern and Mick Murphy, Kildare two: Murt Logan and Eric Ryan; Meath two: Mick Collins and Machlin Gaffney and the 11 were completed by Noel Waddy (Cork). This group got a lead of over 1 minute but the bunch weren't going to let a big gap open and at the finish the 11 were 1.07 up on the main group.
|Jim Killeen President N.C.A Presents Paddy With The George Plant Trophy As Rás Winner 1960|
Stage 1 Dublin - Cavan, 92 miles: 1, D. Ahern (Kerry) 3.22.00; 2, S. O'Hanlon (Dublin); 3, M Gaffney (Meath) all same time.
Paddy Flanagan (Kildare) won the second stage, 109 miles from Cavan to Castlebar and took over at the top of the General Classification by 14 seconds from Dundalk man Paddy Neary (Louth) who was second on the stage, the two finishing 1.25 ahead of the main bunch, led in by Machlin Gaffney (Meath). Flanagan didn't make his winning move until about 25 miles from the finish when he, Neary and Patsy Wall went away.
Stage 2 Cavan - Castlbar, 109m.: 1, P. Flanagan (Kildare) 5.04.00; 2, P. Neary (Louth) s.t.; 3, M. Gaffney (Meath) at 1.25. General Clasification: 1, P. Flanagan (Kildare) 8.26.07; 2, P. Neary (Louth) at 14 secs; 3, M. Gaffney (Meath) at 17 secs; 4, S. Murphy (Dublin) at 1.03; 5, M. Logan (Kildare) s.t.; 6, Denis McGrath (Dublin) at 1.18.
Shay O'Hanlon (Dublin) won the first of his 24 Ras stages after the 110 miles stage from Castlebar to Tuam outsprint Eddie Flanagan (Kildare). Forty-three seconds leader race leader Paddy Flanagan came in with the remains of the break to retain his yellow jersey. It was an epic ride for the Dubliner who, after three punctures, was over three minutes behind the the leaders at one stage. These four riders: Dan Ahern, Dave Kenny (Exiles), Eamonn Kelly (Dublin) and Dave O'Regan (Cork) were out in front for over 100 miles. O'Hanlon went in pursuit at Maam Cross and caught and passed a chasing group of 20 including Paddy Flanagan and his brother Eddie as well as Mick Murphy. He caught the three leaders at Oughterard. The Flanagans joined the leaders after Galway but O'Hanlon attacked again taking with him Eddie Flanagan, whose earlier great riding had done much to save Paddy's yellow jersey bring him up to the leaders.
Stage 3 Castlebar - Tuam, 110m.: 1, S. O'Hanlon (Dublin) 4.25.00; 2, E. Flanagan (Kildare), s.t.; 3, S. Dillon (Dublin) at 43 secs. Ganeral Classification: 1, P. Flanagan (Kildare) 12.51.35; 2, S. O'Hanlon (Dublin) at 56 secs; 3, S. Dillon (Dublin) at 2.10; 4, P. Neary (Louth) at 2.18; 5, D. Ahern (Kerry) at 2.24; 6, M. Gaffney (Meath) at 2.54.
Dan Ahern took his second stage, 98 miles from Tuam to Thurles and moved up to second overall 1.08 behind Flanagan and with the 1 minute bonus for holding the yellow jersey, the Kildare man had 2.08 in hand at the start of the fifth stage. Dave Kenny (Exiles) and Jim Lowthe (Meath) went away shortly after the start and at Ballinasloe, after 40 miles, they were 1.25 ahead of a chasing group of 13. However 20 miles later, the two were caught a group which included O'Hanlon, Ahern and Flanagan. Ahern, Shay Murphy (Dublin), Liam Baxter (Kildare), Frank O'Rourke (Wexford) and Pat Cleary (Tipperary) broke away from the leaders who were caught by the main bunch while the five stayed away to the finish where Ahern took the sprint.
|Paddy Signing Autographs|
Stage 4 Tuam - Thurles, 110m.: 1, D. Ahern (Kerry) 3.50.00; 2, F O'Rourke ((Wexford); 3, P. Cleary (Tipperary) all same time. General Classification: 1, P. Flanagan (Kildare) 16.41.51; 2, D. Ahern (Kerry) at 1.08; 3, S. O'Hanlon (Dublin) at 1.56; 4, E. Flanagan (Kildare) at 2.47; 5, S. Dillon (Dublin) at 2.48; 6, S. Murphy (Dublin) at 2.51.
Mallow-born Dave Kenny (Exiles), who had lived most of his life in London, attacked on a hill outside Tralee with less than 20 miles to go and got away, holding on to a slender lead to the finish where he had just 10 seconds in hand. For 100 miles a strong Kildare team had defended Flanagan's lead by chasing down all breaks. Ben McKenna, who had worked his way up to 10th overall after losing time with mechanical trouble on the early stages, tried to get away with teammate Mick Collins and they had 30 seconds at Limerick only to be brought back. At Rathkeale the field was split into three groups covered by 1 minute but by Tralee they were all together again before Kenny made his winning move.
Stage 5 Tralee - Killorglin, 120m.: 1, D. Keny (Exiles) 5.05.00; 2, J. Whelan (Tipperary) at 5 secs; 3, L. Dunne (Meath) all same time. General Classificaiton: 1, P. Flanagan (Kildare) 21.46.16; 2, D. Ahern (Kerry) at 2.08; 3, S. O'Hanlon (Dublin) at 2.56; 4, P. Neary (Louth) at 3.41; 5, E. Flanagan (Kildare) at 3.47; 6, S. Dillon (Dublin) at 3.48.
Dan Ahern had his third win on the 98 miles run round the Ring of Kerry to Killarney. However he remained 2.08 behind Flanagan. It was a good day for Kerryas Mick Murphy had clinched the King of the Mountains title with second placings on both the Coomakista Pass and Moll's Gap to beat 17-year-old Willie Hynds of Derry by 1 point. It was a day of crashes including one by the race-leader. His brother Eddie was also in a crash, one of four riders who went off the road on the 'Round of Beef' bend on the descent from Moll's Gap. Also in trouble was Shay O'Hanlon whose pedal unscrewed 10 miles from the finish and in consequence he dropped three places on GC. At the end 20 riders remained in the lead after lone breakaway Willie Heasley (Meath) punctured 1 mile from the finish allowing Ahern to win the sprint.
Stage 6 Killorglin - Killarney, 98m.: 1, D. Ahern (Kerry) 4.10.00; 2, S. Murphy (Dublin); 3, S. Dillon (Dublin) all same time. General Classification: 1, P. Flanagan (Kildare) 25.55.16; 2, D. Ahern (Kerry) at 2.08; 3, S. Murphy (Dublin) at 4.05; 4, S. Dillon (Dublin) at 4.18; 5, P. Neary (Louth) at 4.41; 6, S. O'Hanlon (Dublin) at 4.46.
Larry Dunne (Meath) won the 131 miles seventh stage from Killarney to Kilkenny outsprinting his breakaway companion Mick Murphy (Kerry) 26 seconds ahead of the field. Flanagan came home safely in the field and went into the final stage with a lead of 3.34 over nearest rival Dan Ahern. Dunne and Murphy were with the leaders all day but after the race had been fragmented for nearly 40 miles, there was a general regroupment and they were all together at Callan when Dunne and Murphy went again in a successful move.
|Paddy With The George Plant Trophy Rás Winner|
Stage 7 Killarney - Kilkenny, 131m.: 1, L. Dunne (Meath) 5.40.00; 2, M. Murphy (Kerry) same time; 3, J. Whelan (Tipperary) at 26 secs. General Classification: 1, P. Flanagan (Kildare) 31.35.16; 2, D. Ahern (Kerry) at 2.34; 3, M. Murphy (Kerry) at 4.32; 4, S. Murphy (Dublin) at 5.15; 5, S. Dillon (Dublin) at 5.18; 6, S. O'Hanlon (Dublin) at 5.46.
After leading from the end of Stage 2, Paddy Flanagan defended all week to win his first Ras ahead of Kerry's Dan Ahern. The final stage went to Sean Dillon who came home with Mick Murphy and John O'Mahony (Cork) 25 seconds clear of the main field. The race stayed intact for most of the 100 miles stage from Kilkenny to the Phoenix Park and it was only at Lucan that the three riders went away to contest the final sprint. A last stage crash put Eddie Flanagan (Kildare) out of the race and dropped Kildare out of the team placings where they had been lying fourth. Dublin once again took the team title ahead of Meath and Tipperary.
Stage 8: 1, S. Dillon (Dublin) 4.13.25; 2, M. Murphy (Kerry); 3, J. O'Mahony (Cork), all same time. General Classification: 1, P. Flanagan (Kildare) 35.47.51; 2, D. Ahern (Kerry) at 3.23; 3, M. Murphy (Kerry) at 4.12; 4, S. Dillon (Dublin) at 4.53; 5, S. Murphy (Dublin) at 6.05; 6, S. O'Hanlon (Dublin) at 6.36; 7, P. Neary (Louth) at 6.41; 8, P. Wall (Tipperary) at 7.08; 9, M. Collins (Meath) at 7.22; 10, eq., F. Ryan (Tipperary) and M. O'Callaghan (Waterford). Team: 1, Dublin (S. Murphy, S. Dillon, S. O'Hanlon, M. Christle) 148.17.52; 2, Meath (M. Cllins, B. McKenna, M. Gaffney, P. Roe) 148.33.07; 3, Tipperary (P. Wall, F. Ryan, T. Kiely, J. Whelan) 144.12.34. King of the Mountains: 1, M. Murphy (Kerry); 2, W. Hynds (Derry).
1964 STAGE 1
Four past winners were all prominent on the opening stage, Flanagan and McKenna driving the main break of the day, O'Hanlon prominent in the chase and Gene Mangan coming through with a great sprint to take the stage in a big bunch finish. The stage was a short one of 54 miles from Dubin to Carlow and Flanagan and McKenna were immediately into action in a break which contained Mike O'Donoghue, Pat Reidy and K. O'Brien (Cork), John Drumm and John Brosnan (Kerry) Gerry McKenna and Eddie McGrath (Antrim) and Eamon Keane (Waterford). By the time they passed Clondalkin the break was already well established and on the Naas dual carriageway they lead was over a minute on the chasing pair of Shay O'Hanlon and Meath's Mick Crieghton with the bunch 30 seconds further behind. The position was unchanged at Naas but by Kilcullen O'Hanlon and Creighton were caught. The Dublin team, now with nobody away, went to the front and caught the break eight miles from the finish, paving the way for a bunch gallop in which Mangan (riding in this Ras for Carlow) showed all his old speed.
|Paddy Flanagan Kildare 3 Times Ras Winner|
Stage 1 Dublin - Carlow, 54m.: 1, Gene Mangan (Carlow) 2.02.00; 2, J. Kennedy (Dublin); 3, R. Naylor (Dublin) all same time.
There was a surprise early on stage 2 when the race leader retired. At the end of the 118 miles stage to Cork, it was Paddy Flanagan who came home on his own, 15 seconds in front of a group of nine led in by O'Hanlon, which gave the Kildare man the jersey. First to show were Flanagan and McKenna along with Brendan Magennis (Antrim), Mick Creighton, Patrick Sargeant and Paddy Hynes (Armagh) and Bob Shaw (Derry). when they were caught it was the turn of Tom Reilly (Meath), Tommy Hughes (Armagh) and Sonny Cullen, who were chased by Ben McKenna and Jimmy Kennedy going through Kilkenny. After another regroupment O'Hanlon attacked on the hill out of Carrick-on-Suir but he too was brought back. Leaving Dungarvan O'Hanlon went again taking with him Johnny Drumm (Kerry), Liam Baxter (Kildare), K. O'Brien (Cork), Mike O'Donoghue, Sonny Cullen, Paddy Flanagan and Ben McKenna and they soon were over a minute up. This break too was and a group of ten went clear which Flanagan left in the last mile.
Stage 2 Carlow - Cork, 118m.: 1, P. Flanagan (Kildare) 5.14.00; 2, S. O'Hanlon (Dublin) at 15 secs; 3, M. O'Donoghue (Carlow) all same time. General Classification: 1, P. Flanagan (Kildare) 7.17.00; 2, S. O'Hanlon (Dublin) at 45 secs; 3, M. O'Donoghue (Carlow) at 1.00; 4 eq., S. Lally (Dublin), G. McKenna (Antrim), B. McKenna (Meath), T. Pratt (Cork), L. Baxter (Kildare) all at 1.15.
It was Flanagan again on the 82 miles stage to Kenmare, winning on his own 1 minute ahead of Ben McKenna to increase his lead to 2.45. McKenna went to second overall with O'Hanlon had dropping to 7th, ten minutes down. At the start in Cork it was raining gently but as the day wore on the wind got up to near gale force, spreadeagling the field on a day so bad that there were seven retirals. Flanagan made his opening attack on the climb out of Glengariff catching early breakaways McKenna and teammate Mick Creighton. He dropped the Meath riders on the descent of the Tunnel Road coming home a minute ahead of McKenna with Creighton a further 5 seconds back while Johnny Drumm (Kerry) led in a chasing group another 25 seconds behind.
|Paddy Wins A Stage Of The Rás Into Ballinasloe 1967 |
1, P. Flanagan (Kildare) 11.06.10; 2, B. McKenna (Meath) at 1.00; 3, M. Creighton (Meath) at 1.05. General Classification: 1, P. Flanagan (Kildare) 11.06.10; 2, B. McKenna (Meath) at 2.45; 3, M. Creighton (Meath) at 7.05; 4, J Drumm (Kerry) at 7.45; 5 eq., J. Lonergan (Tipperary) and E. Flanagan (Kildare) at 8.20.
Shay O'Hanlon won the fourth stage, 97 miles from Kenmare to Castleisland but although he improved four places to third, he stil trailed Flanagan by 6 minutes. The opening move came from Denis McGrath (Dublin) and Gabriel Howard, a Meathman riding for Derry. They were first over the Coomakista Pass, 1 minute ahead of Sonny Cullen, Kevin O'Brien (Cork), Francie Davey (Antrim) and Meath pair of Mick Creighton, Tom Reilly and Kildare's Jim Halligan. By Cahirciveen the two leaders had been caught and now at the front 30 seconds ahead of the bunch were McGrath, Cullen, Davey, Reilly, O'Brien, Howard and Halligan. With the bunch all together again Sean Lally and Bob Naylor attacked at Killorglin and when they had a gap established Dublin teammate O'Hanlon jumped across and the three, working like clockwork, were 2 minutes ahead as they passed through Tralee. They rode flat out on the run-in to Castleisland, Lally not able to hold the pace but hanging on to take third, just one second ahead of the fast closing bunch.
Stage 5 Kenmare - Castleisland, 97m.: 1, S. O'Hanlon (Dublin) 4.50.10; 2, R. Naylor (Dublin) s.t.; 3, S. Lally (Dublin) at 1.53. General Classification: 1, P. Flanagan (Kldare) 15.59.14; 2, B. McKenna (Meath) at 2.45; 3, S. O'Hanlon (Dublin) at 6.21; 4, M. Creighton (Meath) at 7.05; 5 eq., E Flanagan (Kildare) and J. Lonergan (Tipperary) at 8.20.
Flanagan, who admitted on Wednesday to having taken too much out of himself in the rain on Stage 3, had his second bad day in a row, coming in in the bunch 3.23 behind Ben McKenna, who took over the lead by 23 seconds. The stage went to Sonny Cullen (Dublin) who won from a four-man group on the 144 miles stage to Galway, McKenna coming in 16 seconds later. Johnny Brosnan (Kerry) went away on his own before Ennis and going through the town he had a 1 minute lead over Sonny Cullen, Johnny Lonergan and Wexford's Larry Doran. The four came together and at one time their lead was over 2 minutes but was cut back to under 20 seconds as they approached Galway.
|Paddy With The Winners Laurels|
Stage 5 Castleisland - Galway, 114m.: 1, S. Cullen (Dublin) 5 25.10; 2, J. Lonergan (Tipperary); 3, J. Brosnan (Kerry) all same time. General Classification: 1, B. McKenna (Meath) 21.27.25; 2, P. Flanagan (Kildare) at 22 secs; 3, M. Creighton (Meath) at 4.20; 4, J. Lonergan (Tipperary) at 4.49; 5, S. O'Hanlon (Dublin) at 6.41; 6, M. O'Donoghue (Carlow) at 8.14.
Kildare's Liam Baxter won the sixth stage, 76 miles from Galway to Castlebar leading in a three man group from Sean Lally (Dublin) and Jim Halligan (Kildare) but the bunch, led in by Bob Naylor from Paddy Flanagan was only 52 seconds behind and there were no changes at the top. . The three who were to fight out the finish went away within five miles of the start in Galway and at one time their lead was over 4 minutes ahead of a chasing group containing McKenna, Flanagan, O'Hanlon and Creighton. O'Hanlon gambled on a solo effort and left the chasers and got almost to within a minute of the leaders. He failed but it was a gallant effort as it took the other three 35 miles to catch him.
Stage 6 Galway - Castlebar, 76m.: 1, L. Baxter (Kildare) 3.14.00; 2, S. Lally (Dublin); 3, J. Halligan (Kildare) all same time. General Classification: 1, B. McKenna (Meath) 24.42.20; 2, P. Flanagan (Kildare) at 22 secs; 3, M. Creighton (Meath) at 4.20; 4, J. Lonergan (Tipperary) at 5.49; 5, S. O'Hanlon (Dublin) at 6.43; 6, M. O'Donoghue (Carlow) at 8.14.
It was a home win on the Saturday stage from Castlebar to Navan (134) when local man Frank Reilly was first across the line. Fortune smiled on the Meathman as his companion in the break, Bob Naylor, an acknowledged sprinter, unshipped his chain within sight of the finish. The bunch containing all the top men of GC came in 1.25 behind the leaders and there was no change overall, everything coming down to the last stage time trial. The stage had just got underway when Reilly and Naylor went away and soon had a substantial lead. At one time it was over 3 minutes but they lost 1 minute at a closed level-crossing in Castlerea. Luck was still against them when they lost 30 seconds at a wrong turning in Castlepollard but they kept going. Two more riders got away from the bunch in pursuit Jimmy Kennedy (Dublin) won the sprint for third from Navan's Mick Collins who crashed and was unable to start the next day.
Stage 7 Castlebar - Navan, 134m.: 1, F. Reilly (Meath) 5.30.00; 2, R Naylor (Dublin) at 20 secs; 3, J. Kennedy (Dublin) at 31 secs. General Classification: 1, B. McKenna (Meath) 30.13.45; 2, P. Flanagan (Kildare) at 22 secs; 3, M. Creighton (Meath) at 4.20; 4, J. Lonergan (Tipperary) at 5.49; 5, S. O'Hanlon (Dublin) at 6.43; 6, M. O'Donoghue (Carlow) at 8.14.
STAGE 8 (a and b)
Paddy Flanagan made history by becoming the first rider to win the Ras twice. He didn't win the time-trial stage from Navan to Dublin (25 miles), that honour going to O'Hanlon, but his margin over race-leader Ben McKenna was enough to turn his 22 second deficit into a victory margin of 1.29. O'Hanlon's victory on the time-trial, covering the 25 miles in 54.29, gave him the stage win by 19 seconds from Flanagan and was enough to life him to 3rd overall. The 50 kilometre afternoon stage in the Phoenix Park was never likely to change the GC. Like the rest of the week it was a tussle between Dublin and Kildare, Jimmy Kennedy (Dublin) winning from Kildare's Murt Logan in a six-man sprint, the bunch led in by O'Hanlon in 7th place. On the third of the ten laps Logan, Larry Doran (Wexford), Tommy Hughes (Armagh) and Peter Sargent (Louth) opened up a 200 yards advantage. Next time round Hughes was gone and Johnny Drumm (Kerry) and Jim Halligan (Kildare) had joined the leaders. Two laps later the break was still away but Drumm had dropped back and Jimmy Kennedy (Dublin) had got up, the break holding a 15 second advantage on the bunch. On lap 6 they were still away but there was a chasing group of Patsy Wall (Tipperary) and Antrim pair Francie Davey and Gerry McKenna. Johnny Drumm rejoined the leaders only to be dropped again but when the leading four had 1 minute on the bunch at the bell, it was certain they wouldn't be caught.
|Paddy Receives The Yellow Jersey From General Tom Barry Watched By Mick Christle Race Organiser|
Stage 8a, 25m. TT, Navan - Dublin: 1, S. O'Hanlon (Dublin) 54.29; 2, P. Flanagan (Kildare) 54.48; 3, B. McKenna (Meath) 56.24. Stage 8b, 50kms circuit, Phoenix Park: 1, J. Kennedy (Dublin) 1.10.16; 2, M. Logan (Kildare); 3, L. Doran (Wexford)all same time. General Classification: 1, P. Flanagan (Kildare) 32.19.54; 2, B. McKenna (Meath) at 1.29; 3, S. O'Hanlon (Dublin) at 5.32; 4, M. Creighton (Meath) at 6.38; 5, J. Lonergan (Tipperary) at 8.12; 6, M. O'Donoghue (Carlow) at 10.10; 7, S. Lally (Dublin) at 10.54; 8, R. Naylor (Dublin) at 11.58; 9, T. Reilly (Meath) at 13.43; 10, S. Cullen (Dublin) at 14.49. Team: 1, Meath (McKenna, Creighton, T. Reilly) 97.21.32; 2, Dublin (O'Hanlon, Lally, Naylor) 97.28.06; 3, Kildare (P. Flanagan, Baxter, E. Flanagan) 98.00.23.
The opening 76 miles stage to Monaghan was won by Seamus Kennedy (Ireland) from a group of eight which got away 10 miles after the start and built up a huge lead of 6.48 by the finish. He won in an uphill sprint from D. Zekri (Algeria), J. Zebisch (Germany) with Paddy Flanagan (Kildare) fourth and Mick Cahill (Cork) fifth. Two more of the original break came home 2.05 later: John Lawlor (Carlow) and John McNally (Dublin) with Mick Nulty (Ireland) 10 seconds further back. With such a big gap opened up on the opening stage, it was looking like many of the favourites were already out of contention.
Stage 1, Dublin - Monaghan, 76m.: 1, S. Kennedy (Ireland) 2.55.30; 2, D. Zekri (Algeria); 3, J. Zebisch (Germany) all same time.
Wolfgang Thomann (Germany) won the 81 miles stage to Letterkenny in an uphill sprint which saw him open a 2 second gap on Gabriel Howard (Meath A) and Noel Clarke (Ireland). It was hard and fast racing all the way and with only 26 miles remaining less than a minute covered the field from front to back. The most promising move of the day saw 15 riders with a 30 second lead at Omagh. However they were caught before the border crossing a Strabane when Zebisch and Bobby Power (Ireland) had a lead of 15 seconds on a 4-man group with another six riders between them and the bunch. However on the run-in they all came together for a big bunch sprint with the German jumping out of the pack up the final hill to the line. Stage 2, Monaghan - Letterkenny: 1, W. Thomann (Germany) 3.11.30; 2, G. Howard (Meath A) at 2 secs; 3, N. Clarke (Ireland)same time General Classification: 1, S. Kennedy (Ireland) 6.07.05; 2, P. Flanagan (Kildare); 3, J. zebisch (Germany) all same time; 5, M. Cahill (Cork) at 1.43; 5, D. Zekri (Algeria) at 1.47; 6, J. McNally (Dublin) at 2.05 .
|Paddy Flanagan Rás Winner 1975|
It was a good day for the Ireland team on the hilly 85 miles run through the Donegal hills to Donegal Town as the took first and second on the stage with Noel Clarke and Shay O'Hanlon while their man in yellow, Seamus Kennedy kept the jersey. Immediately after the start Colm Nulty (Meath A) and teammate Denis Devin got away and opened up a lead of 1 minute on a chasing group of 20at Fintown, after 19 miles of racing. At Ardragh Nulty led from Devin and Bobby Power (Ireland) 40 seconds ahead of Christian Dory (France) with the main bunch at 1.40. Power dropped back on the fierce climb of Glengesh but the other two stayed out in front until Glencolmcille, with 32 miles left, when they were joined by Kennedy, Flanagan, Zebisch and Zekri. With 15 miles to go the leaders were joined by Noel Clarke, and Meath A pair Martin McKenna and Eamon Connolly. Connolly and Devin punctured and in a great ride Gabriel Howard (Meath A) closed a 2 minute gap to the leaders on his own. Clarke then attacked and was joined by O'Hanlon, Zebisch, Kennedy, Zekri and Flanagan and they finished in that order. Martin McKenna was 5 seconds down with the Howard and Devin coming home 30 seconds later.
Stage 3, Letterkenny - Donegal Town, 85m.: 1, N. Clarke (Ireland) 4.30.00; 2, S. O'Hanlon (Ireland); 3, J. Zebisch (Germany). General Classification: 1, S. Kennedy (Ireland) 10.10.35; 2, J. Zebisch (Germany); 3, P. Flanagan (Kildare) all same time; 4, D. Zekri (Algeria) at 1.47; 5, J. McNally (Dublin) at 6.23; 6, N. Clarke (Ireland) at 6.45.
Colm Nulty (Meath A) was leading the sprint into Castlebar when he crossed a white line 30 years from the finish and sat up thinking he had won. However the line was a street marking and both Shay O'Hanlon (Ireland) and Tony Murphy (Monaghan) passed him before the actual finish line. Paddy Flanagan was another who saw a mistake cost him dearly. He punctured and took a wheel from another team car and was fined a minute. He stayed in third place overall but was now that minute behind race leader Kennedy who finished the stage in the bunch, 3.15 down on the 9-man break, none of whom were a danger. First serious break of the day went at Ballyshannon, after 14 miles, when Colm Nulty, Tony Murphy and Tony McGovern (Sligo) went clear to be joined by Eamon Connolly (Meath A) and Mickey Kennedy (Meath B). At Bundoran they five held a 30 second lead on Tony Mooney (Sligo) who was caught by the bunch a few miles later. Before Sligo the leaders were joined by O'Hanlon, Mick Cahill (Cork), John McNally (Dublin)T.P. Reilly (Meath B) and Zebisch but the German punctured and dropped back to the bunch which was 2.30 behind at Charlestown and this gap grew by a further minute over the final 20 miles.
Stage 4, Donegal - Castlebar, 95m.: 1, S. O'Hanlon (Ireland) 3.59.30; 2, T. Murphy (Monaghan); 3, C. Nulty (Meath A) all same time. General Classification: 1, S. Kennedy (Ireland) 14.13.20; 2, J. Zebisch (Germany) s.t.; 3, P. Flanagan (Kildare) at 1.00; 4, D. Zekri (Algeria) at 1.57; 5, J. McNally (Dublin) at 3.08; 6, S. O'Hanlon (Ireland) at 3.23.
STAGES 5, a and b
A 50 miles morning stage to Galway was followed by a 20 miles criterium that evening. Noel Clarke (Ireland) won the road stage in a sprint from a sven man group and almost pulled off a double in the crit where he lost out to Colm Nulty but the days's racing produced no change at the top of the GC. An appeal by Flanagan succeeded in getting his 1 minute penalty removed putting him back equal with Kennedy and Zebisch. In the morning Clarke took the prime at Ballinrobe after 18 miles and went ahead being joined by Martin McKenna (Meath A), Alain Gentilhomme (France) and Aziz Merzoug (Algeria). After a chase they were caught by Algerian pair Malek Hamza and Ahmed Haouas and Bobby Power (Ireland). The seven worked well together to the finish where Clarke won from Hamza and Power. Stage 5a: 1, N. Clarke (Ireland) 2.00.10; 2, M. Hamza (Algeria); 3, B. Power (Ireland) all same time. The evening citerium was watched by a big crowd in Galway city centre. It was a good stage for the Ireland team as they took first third and fourth places with Nulty, Kennedy and O'Hanlon. Haous of Algeria was the animator of the first half taking the opening four laps and then, after Clarke took two Haous came back to win the next three. On the 11th circuit Nulty attacked and opened a small gap which he held to the finish winning 10 primes still managed to hold off the bunch to win the stage.
Stage 5b: 1, M. Nulty (Ireland) 45.00; 2, N. Clarke (Ireland); 3, S. Kennedy (Ireland) all same time. General Classification: 1, S. Kennedy (Ireland 17.00.45; 2, J. Zebisch; 3, P. Flanagan, all same time; 4, D. Zekri (Algeria) at 1.57; 5, J. McNally (Dublin) at 3.08; 6, S. O'Hanlon (Ireland) at 3.23.
There was a surprise winner of Thursday's 81 miles sixth stage from Galway to Limerick when Tipperary's Joe Cashin went away with 27 miles of the stage remaining and at the finish he had 1.24 in hand over the chasers. The first break of the day was a solo effort by another Tipperary rider, Billy Kennedy, who was holding a 45 second lead when the race was stopped by a closed level-crossing at Craughwell after 16 miles. They were re-started with Kennedy given his 45 seconds but by Woodford, 30 miles, they were again all together. Then Mick Nulty and Driss Zekri (Algeria) went away and built up a 1 minute lead before being brought back before Scariff where Cashin made his successful bid for victory. Another hero of the day was Meath's Gabriel Howard who after a series of mishaps the previous day was continuing in the race with a broken arm. Before the crash which resulted in this injury he had sustained another injury. In the very hot weather spectators had been throwing buckets of water over the riders. Unfortunately one let go of the bucket which hit Gabriel on the nose.
Stage 6, Galway - Limerick, 81m: 1, J. Cashin (Tipperary) 3.14.55; 2, P. Flanagan (Kildare) at 1.24; 3, C. Dory (France)all same time. General Classification: 1, S. Kennedy (Ireland) 20.16.04; 2, J. Zebisch; 3, P. Flanagan, all same time; 4, D. Zekri (Algeria) at 1.57; 5, J. McNally (Dublin) at 3.08; 6, S. O'Hanlon (Ireland) at 3.23.
It was almost another surprise win after a long, lone break on the stage to Kilkenny but Meath A rider Eamon Connolly was caught and passed with just 800 metres to go by Malek Hamza (Algeria). Various early attempts came to nothing until Connolly raced away with 45 miles still to go. With only six miles to go and the main bunch still intact it looked like he was home and dry until Hamza and Martin O'Hara (Sligo) went in pursuit. They were joined by Salvador Campomones (France) but O'Hara couldn't match the fierce pace they were setting and dropped back to the bunch. At the 1 kilometre to go sign they had Connolly in sight and the Algerian made a huge final effort and caught him just before the home straight and went right past, Connolly fortunatly able to hang on his wheel to take second with the Frenchman 5 seconds back third. The bunch had also been closing in and Flanagan led them in only 15 seconds after the stage winner.
Stage 7, Limerick - Kilkenny, 86m.: 1, M. Hamza (Algeria) 3.40.15; 2, E. Connolly (Meath A) s.t.; 3, S. Campomones (France) at 5 seconds. General Classification: 1, S. Kennedy (Ireland) 23.56.34; 2, P. Flanagan (Kildare); 3, J. Zebisch (Germany), all same time; 4, D. Zekri (Algeria) at 1.57; 5, J. McNally (Dublin) at 3.08; 6, S. O'Hanlon (Ireland) at 3.23.
After a week with three riders tied together on time at the top of the general classification the connection was finally broken on the 86 miles stage through the Wicklow mountains to Naas with Flanagan ending the day on his own in the lead. Twice winner Flanagan and four-times winner O'Hanlon, two of the older men in the race, were in the break of the day along with Cork's Mick Cahill and they came home 1.10 ahead of a chasing group of three, led in by Haous (Algeria), which contained Zebisch who went to second overall, 1.10 behind Flanagan. Kennedy, who had been in yellow all week came home 11th in a group of five, over a minute further back, to drop to third. The mountains started around half-distance and on the steep climb at Aughavannagh Flanagan went away on his own. After a chase he was joined by O'Hanlon and Cahill and these three stayed out in front to the finish where O'Hanlon won the sprint.
|Paddy In The Race Leaders Jersey 1973|
Stage 8, Kilkenny - Naas, 86m.: 1, S. O'Hanlon (Ireland) 4.11.15; 2, M. Cahill (Cork A); 3, P. Flanagan (Kildare), all same time. General Classification: 1, P. Flanagan (Kildare) 28.07.49; 2, J. Zebisch (Germany) at 1.10; 3, S. Kenedy (Ireland) at 2.13; 4, D. Zekri (Algeria) at 3.10; 5, S. O'Hanlon (Ireland) at 3.35; 6, N. Clarke (Ireland) at 6.43.
STAGES 9, a and b
Flanagan showed that even had it gone down to the final day he would still have won his third Ras when he won the Sunday morning time-trial with 9 seconds advantage over second placed Zebisch. Bobby Power (Ireland) was third another 13 seconds down, 12 seconds ahead of teammate Bobby Power. The Ireland team empasised their grip on the team race by finishing all five riders in the top eight places. Seamus Kennedy, who had been in yellow for most of the week finished 7th, but his 63 second deficit on Flanagan would have dropped him out of contention even if he had been able to hold the Kildare man over the climbs the previous day. Stage 9a, 7m. T.T., Naas: 1, P. Flangan (Kildare) 14.30; 2, J. Zebisch (Germany) 14.39; 3, B. Power (Ireland) 14.51. The afternoon stage was a short one over ten laps of the 2-mile circuit in Phoenix Park and unlikely to cause any upsets. A small group managed to get a few seconds off the front over the final miles and Noel Clarke outsprinted Frenchman Christian Dory to take his third stage of the week. Flanagan came home safely leading in the bunch in 9th place, 14 seconds behind Clarke and there were no changes on General Classification. Ireland comfortably beat Algeria in the team race and Meath A had 15 minutes in hand over Kildare in the inter-county team competition. Gabriel Howard, who incredibly had ridden the last six days with a broken arm had his courage rewarded by the organisers who gave him a weeks holiday for two anywhere in Ireland.
Stage 9b, Phoenix Park, Dublin, 30m.: 1, N. Clarke (Ireland) 46.26; 2, C. Dory (France); 3, A. Haous (Algeria) all same time.
General Classification: 1, P. Flanagan (Kildare) 29.08.59; 2, J. Zebisch (Germany) at 1.19; 3, S. Kennedy (Ireland) at 3.16; 4, D. Zekri (Algeria) at 4.02; 5, S. O?Hanlon (Ireland) at 4.22; 6, N. Clarke (Ireland) at 7.38; 7, A. Gentilhomme (France) at 12.11; 8, M. Cahill (Cork A) at 15.48; 9, J. McNally (Dublin) at 16.13; 10, A. Mahdi (Algeria) at 17.49; 11, B. Power (Ireland) at 17.51; 12, W. Thomann (Germany) at 18.17.
International Team: 1, Ireland 87.33.07; 2, Algeria 87.51.02; 3, Germany 88.05...46.
County Team: 1, Meath A 88.16.41; 2, Kildare 89.31.49; 3, Cork A. 89.35.18.
Recited at Paddy's Funeral, author unknown:
Hurrah for Paddy Flanagan,
A Champion from Kildare.
The cycle test to find the best,
From Irelands athletes rare.
His name with honour it shall live,
In the plains he loved so fair.
His graceful style and happy smile,
Young Flanagan from Kildare.
An athlete and likewise Gael,
A credit to our Isle.
On sporting field or racing track,
He shows the Irish style.
around the ring of Ireland
Its Hills and valleys fair.
all Ireland he has conquered.
Young Flanagan from Kildare
So Here's to Paddy Flanagan,
The "Idol of the land".
While thousands cheer along the way,
From many a Stadium grand,
May blessings on your pathway fall,
Brave champion young and fair.
Your name shall ever cherished be,
Young Flanagan from Kildare.
Kildare was always to the fore ,
In the History of the past.
and while there's men like Flanagan,
that name will ever last.
The Kildare flag we'll raise on High,
With cheers that fill the air.
and Welcome to his native home,
Young Flanagan of Kildare.