There was a big turnout for the annual Ger McDonnell Memorial Cycle which took place last Saturday. It commenced in Doolin, Co. Clare and ended in Kilcornan 121km later.

The background to the cycle was to retrace the cycle taken by the late Kilcornan mountaineer Ger McDonnell who many years ago set off on his bicycle from Kilcornan to post a letter in nearby Askeaton but decided to enjoy the fine day and ended up in Doolin, had a toasted sandwich and a pint and cycled home again.

This is the fourth year of the cycle and credit has to be given to brother in law and cycle organiser Barry Lynch for the efforts he has put in through the years and this year was no exception. The charities over the years have included the Brothers Of Charity, Bee For Battens, The Ger McDonnell Fund in Nepal and this year the Kerry Mountain Search and Rescue were the benefactors.

The cycle always seems to gather a great crowd and this year there were 46 cyclists ready to take part in the charity event. The difference this year from other years was that 13 cyclists decided to go the extra leg this year and try and complete what Ger himself did and return home the same day, a total of 242 km over a 9 hour period. Four of Ger’s friends from DCU headed by Shay Walsh along with Con Collins of Collins Press were joined by locals including Brian and Kevin O’Keeffe, Noel Mulcair, Ger Mann, from the UK, Sam Maloney, Kerry Mountain Rescuer John Dowd and his friend Angela O’Connor.

People travelled from the US (John Hanley), Switzerland (Mark Keenan), UK (Sam Maloney), Dublin, Kerry, Cork which was really a great testament to the man and friend Ger was to all. Irish explorer Dr. Clare O’Leary was in attendance as always to travel the route.

The 13 cyclists left Kilcornan at 6am on Saturday morning and headed to Tarbert for the 7.30am ferry crossing to Kilimer, while at the other side the 33 other cyclists were gearing up for their leg across to Kilcornan. They left Doolin at 10am and unbelievably by the time they had reached the top of the Cliffs of Moher they met the other 13 cyclists coming against them heading to Doolin, led by the iron man himself local Ger Mann.

The cycle was as always a fantastic day and special thanks goes to ALL the support team and collectors on the day. Everyone commented that without these vital groups the cyclists would never have lasted as long as they did. Food, drinks and encouragement were always at hand for the cyclists and they really appreciated it.

A mention again this year for the younger cyclists who contributed on their bikes to the cycle, Sarah Lynch, Tracy Lynch, Aisling Holland, Rebecca O’Brien, Emma O’Brien and Roisin Ambrose. It was a brilliant effort by these girls who pedalled with all their might to receive a roaring reception in Kilcornan Community Centre. The McDonnell family would like to thank Barry Lynch for his hard work in organising the cycle, everyone who volunteered on the day and of course the people who gave money and lastly to the road users for their patience and kindness on the roads as the cycle went through town after town. Everyone agreed it was a great day and all looked forward to next year.