Dillon Corkery wins Rás Tailteann with dramatic final day attack

He jumped from seventh overnight to the final race victory after a brilliant performance

There was a very dramatic final day at the Rás Tailteann on Sunday, with Irish rider Dillon Corkery jumping from seventh overnight to the final race victory after a brilliant performance. He crossed the line in Blackrock, Co. Louth fifth, rolling in a tearful and elated three seconds behind stage winner Finn Crockett (Derry: Foyle CC) and three others.

They finished over two and a half minutes clear of the main bunch, a group which contained stage one winner and long-time race leader Conor McGoldrick.

Corkery’s success saw him succeed 2022 victor Daire Feeley as Rás champion, two consecutive wins after a 14 year wait for an Irish winner. Feeley crashed on Friday and was unable to continue due to concussion.

“I can’t put it into words. I really can’t,” Corkery told The Irish Times after crossing the line. He made an emotional tribute to his uncle John Mulcahy who died this year after a battle with motor neuron disease. The Corkman had been one of those caring for him as his illness progressed.


“The only thing that was going through my head throughout that whole stage was my uncle. I’d just like dedicate this win to him. It means the world to me and my family. He passed away in February. He was a big fan of my racing and always came to all of my races. It just hasn’t been the same without him. So I think he was waiting for this one for me.”

The 24 year-old had won Saturday’s fourth stage in Monaghan and said then he and the Team Ireland squad would go all in on Sunday to try to win overall.

He duly did that, joining forces with team-mate Aaron Wade to make it into the day’s key breakaway of 13 riders. This group formed when Corkery, Wade, US-based Irishman Cormac McGeough (USA: Good Guys Racing NYC), double stage winner Matthew Fox (UK: Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli) and five others joined an earlier four man group on the approach to Kingscourt.

These worked well together to eke out a lead of over three minutes on the peloton, putting race leader McGoldrick plus his UK: Richardson Trek DAS squad under real difficulty.

McGeough was best placed overall of the move, having started the stage fourth overall, 14 seconds behind British rider McGoldrick. Wade and Corkery were also big threats to the race leader, having been sixth and seventh overall, 18 and 19 seconds down respectively.

“We knew what we needed to do,” Corkery said afterwards. “Our focus was to keep Aaron in the white jersey and once we got into that breakaway with that 10 or 12 guys, we knew we were safe. And we had accomplished that. So I was able to ... I had free rein, I was able to play around. Me and Aaron were both on the same time on GC, so we were a major threat to anybody else. So the minute we went up the road, we were able to play the game.”

Playing the game meant alternating attacks if needs be to distance rivals. They knew that one of them needed to shake off McGeough if Team Ireland was to win the race. Corkery attacked inside the final 25 kilometres, going clear with Crockett, Jack Crook (UK: Richardsons Trek DAS), Matthew Fox (UK: Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli) and Jonathan Oxley (UK: Halesowen A&CC-Mapei), and quickly put time into McGeough and the others.

Corkery then drove the pace, shrugging off a derailleur problem which meant he was unable to change gear.

He beat McGeough by two minutes and 12 seconds in the final general classification. McGoldrick took third, a further five seconds back. Wade finished eighth overall and was the best young rider.

Former world track champion Martyn Irvine was the Team Ireland manager for the race and, like Corkery, was in tears at the finish. Struggling initially to speak due to the emotion, he gave all the credit to the riders he encouraged and advised during the race.

“It was the plan ... They’re good kids, they did the plan ... This morning we spoke about it. It was 90 per cent [likely to be] a sprint, but I was like, ‘lads, we are rarely in this position, we will go for it.’ And Aaron and Dillon got in the move. And they pulled it off. As simple as that.”

Rás Tailteann stage 5 Monaghan to Blackrock

1 Finn Crockett (Derry: Foyle CC) 133.4 kms in two hours 48′06″

2 J Crook (UK: Richardsons Trek DAS), 3 M Fox (UK: Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli), 4 J Oxley (UK: Halesowen A&CC-Mapei) all same time

5 D Corkery (Ireland: Team Ireland) 3″

6 J Bernard Murphy (Ireland: Cycling Leinster) 2′20″

7 L Watson (Ireland: Cycling Ulster), 8 T Martin (UK: Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli), 9 C McGeough (USA: Good Guys Racing NYC), 10 L Doyle (AUSTRIA: ARBO Headstart ON-Fahrrad) 2′39″, 11 J McKay (UK: Cycling Sheffield), 12 J Wilson (UK: Embark Spirit BSS), 13 D Jackson (UK: Foran CCC), 14 O Doogan (Ireland: Team Ireland), 15 T James Armstrong (UK: Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli) all same time

King of the mountains primes

Category 3 climb Meath Hill: 1 Jack Bernard Murphy (Ireland: Cycling Leinster) 5 pts,

2 D Corkery (Ireland: Team Ireland) 4

3 C McGeough (USA: Good Guys Racing NYC) 3

4 L Rosie (UK: Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli) 2

County rider 1 Jack Bernard Murphy (Ireland: Cycling Leinster) two hours 50′26″

2 L Watson (Ireland: Cycling Ulster), 3 C Halvey (Ireland: Cycling Ulster) 19″

4 C McDunphy (Ireland: Cycling Leinster), 5 J Meehan (Ireland: Cycling Ulster) both same time

National/International team: 1 UK: Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli eight hours 29′17″

2 UK: Richardsons Trek DAS 8 hours 29′36″

3 Ireland: Team Ireland 8 hours 29′39″

4 USA: Good Guys Racing NYC 8 hours 31′56″

5 UK: Embark Spirit BSS 8 hours 32′15″

Irish county/provincial team: 1 Derry: Foyle CC eight hours 29′36″

2 Ireland: Cycling Ulster eight hours 31′56″

3 Ireland: Cycling Leinster eight hours 31′56″

4 Cork: All Human VeloRevolution eight hours 32′15″

5 Carlow: Dan Morrissey – Primor Pissei same time

Bective Stud final general classification: 1 Dillion Corkery (Ireland: Team Ireland) 16 hours 32′22″

2 C McGeough (USA: Good Guys Racing NYC) 2′12″

3 C McGoldrick (UK: Richardsons Trek DAS) 2′17″

4 D Gardener (UK: Embark Spirit BSS) 2′21″

5 T Martin (UK: Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli) same time

6 J Laverick (Derry: Foyle CC) 2′23″

7 D Jackson (UK: Foran CCC) 2′34″

8 A Wade (Ireland: Team Ireland) 2′35″

9 J Hartley (UK: Cycling Sheffield) 2′37″

10 G Wood (UK: Cycling Sheffield), 11 J Smith (UK: Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli) both same time,

12F Crockett (Derry: Foyle CC) 3′01 sec

13 G Peden (UK: Team PB Performance) 3′02″

14 B Chiton (UK: Halesowen A&CC-Mapei) 3′03″

15 J Crook (UK: Richardsons Trek DAS) 3′32″

City Break Apartments points classification: 1 Matthew Fox (UK: Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli) 56 pts

2 F Crockett (Derry: Foyle CC) 51

3 D Corkery (Ireland: Team Ireland) 38

4 J Hartley (UK: Cycling Sheffield) 37

5 D Gardener (UK: Embark Spirit BSS) 33

Cycling Ireland mountains competition: 1 Conor McGoldrick (UK: Richardsons Trek DAS) 55 pts

2 T Dahlhaus (UK: Foran CCC) 32

3 D Gardener (UK: Embark Spirit BSS) 30

4 J Laverick (Derry: Foyle CC) 20

5 C McDunphy (Ireland: Cycling Leinster) 11

Spin 11 Under-23 rider overall: 1 Aaron Wade (Ireland: Team Ireland) 16 hours 34′57″

2 J Hartley (UK: Cycling Sheffield) 2″

3 G Wood (UK: Cycling Sheffield), 4 J Smith (UK: Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli) both same time

5 B Chilton (UK: Halesowen A&CC Mapei) 28″

Sport Ireland Irish county rider overall: 1 Conn McDunphy (Ireland: Cycling Leinster) 16 hours 36′30″

2 J Meehan (Ireland: Cycling Ulster) 1 min 34″

3 P Kennedy (Ireland: Cycling Leinster) same time

4 L Watson (Ireland: Cycling Ulster) 3′04″

5 M Cigala (Carlow: Dan Morrissey – Primor Pissei) 3′17″

Cycling Ireland A2 overall: 1 Aureliusz Klus (Louth: Jons-SCME-Dimplex) 16 hours 39′49″

2 R Byrne (Dublin: UCD Cycling Club) 30″

3 J Delaney (Dublin: Lucan CRC) 15′51″

4 C Holt (Dublin: Spin11 Chainreaction) 17′32″

5 J McEneaney (Meath: Moynalty Cycling Club) 23′57″

Cycling Ireland A3 overall: Derek Joyce (Galway: Galway Bay CC) 17 hours 15′33″

National/International team overall: 1 UK: Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli 49 hours 45′07″

2 UK: Embark Spirit BSS 2′45″

3 UK: Cycling Sheffield 2′55″

4 UK: Richardsons Trek DAS 4′59″

5 Ireland: Team Ireland 6′42″

Irish County/Provincial team overall: 1 Derry Foyle CC 49 hours 50′33″

2 Cork All Human/VeloRevolution 4′34″

3 Ireland: Cycling Ulster 6′55″

4 Dublin: UCD Cycling Club 11′45″

5 Ireland: Cycling Leinster 16′35″

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling