Rás Tailteann on the way – Exciting times ahead in Kilmallock

The people of Kilmallock and surrounding areas are on a high this week on foot of the news that the town will host a stage of the Rás Tailteann, Ireland’s premier International cycle race. Stage 1 of the 2024 Rás will finish on the streets of Kilmallock on Wednesday 22nd May, bringing a huge air of excitement to the entire region. The owner of the long established Kilmallock Cycles, Paul Gammell, is the director and Stage 1 finish co ordinator and he has been working tirelessly behind the scenes over the last seven months, attending meetings, taking zoom calls and co ordinating with the Rás Tailteann race director and organisers.
Good news story
He wanted to bring something special to Kilmallock which, Paul feels, deserves a good news story. And, stories don’t get any bigger than the Rás coming to the town. A clearly delighted Paul Gammell this week told the Vale Star, “This event will be talked about for years to come in Kilmallock but securing a stage finish could not have been achieved without the help and support of our Southside Wheely Wheelers Cycling Club, the local Limerick City and County Council Office and the Kilmallock councillors who proudly represent the people and have provided the funding to welcome the biggest cycling event ever to the streets here. We will have 180 cyclists sprinting to the finish line and making history for the first time ever in Irish cycling.”
Cycling strongholds
Starting in Tullamore, riders in the 69th edition of An Rás Tailteann will travel through Birr, Borrisokane, Nenagh, Birdhill, Newport, Caherconlish and Bruff before arriving in the medieval and sporting South Limerick town on the evening of Wednesday, 22nd May. Competitors will take in two category three climbs during the 148km stage. And, as per tradition, there will be three hot spot sprints. The race continues the following morning, Thursday 23rd May, with a stage start in the North Cork town of Kanturk, finishing in Bective, County Meath where the winner will get their hands on the famous George Plant trophy on Sunday, 26th May. Race Director Ger Campbell said, “This year’s route is more difficult than the previous two editions, with a welcome return to cycling strongholds. There are a series of very tricky climbs along the way southwards and back up the country towards our ultimate finish in Bective. I would like to thank all the stage start and stage finish towns along with all the stage co-ordinators for their extremely helpful input and dedication to the 2024 route.”