Champion John earns his stripe

John Brosnan winning the 2019 Michael Blackwell Trophy which is presented annually to the Kerry County Champion. He will wear the Kerry county stripe on this 2020 Killarney kit.
Picture: George Doyle

KILLARNEY Cycling Club is adding a fresh dash of colour to the 2020 peloton by presenting a club kit with the Kerry County stripe to the current Kerry road champion, John Brosnan.

Club Chairman, Mark Murphy, said that while the stripe acknowledged the club’s county champion, it was also a recognition of the significance of the event in Kerry cycling.

“The county championship is prestigious in Kerry and it is important in the tradition of the sport here. Some great champions have won it since it started in 1952 and riders want their names on that trophy,” he said.

Killarney Cycling Club Chairman, Mark Murphy (left) presenting the team kit with the county stripe to the 2019 Kerry County Road Champion, John Brosnan

The first Kerry Road Championship was held in Kenmare in 1952 and it was just 10 miles long – reflecting the infancy of road-racing then – and some riders were on fixed-wheel track bikes.

It was won by 15-year-old Gene Mangan and three winners in the 1950s – Mangan, Paudie Fitzgerald and Mick Murphy – went on to win the Rás Tailteann.

The start of the second Kerry County Championships in 1953 which was won again by Gene Mangan (left) with Jim Sullivan, Tom Foley, Terry Carmody, Gene Moriarty and John Switzer

Mark Murphy added that presenting a club jersey with the county stripe was also a reflection of the club’s strength-in-depth in recent years.

John Brosnan’s win in 2019 was the third successive win for the Killarney club, with Conor Kissane having winning the two years previously.

Brosnan’s win came out of a five-man break that developed half-way through the 2019 race. Killarney had the advantage with three men – Brosnan, Conor Kissane and Marcus Tracey – up against two from Tralee Manor West,Cathal Moynihan and Cormac Daly. Kissane took second place from Brosnan and Cathal Moynihan came third.

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