A monumental day for Sam

 

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Tomorrow morning when young Sam Bennett from Carrick on Suir wakes up and peels back the curtains it will not be the river Suir that he looks out upon.

He will not be leaving the house at ten to nine alongside his Dad to line up at the old ESB office between O’Mahoney avenue and Sean Kelly square.

He will not be casually chatting with fellow members of Carrick Wheelers or the mixed bag that makes up the Carrick group.

Over the years riders from Carrick and those who train with the group have won just about every domestic race including national championships and the Ras. Many have worn the green jersey with pride overseas. Riders like Bobby, Larry, Paddy, Raymond and Robert Power, Anthony and Dick O’Gorman, Stephen Maher, Tony Ryan, Martin O’Loughlin, Vinny Kelly, Spratty, Fitzy, Clarkie, Kenneally, Butler, Lenny Foley, Hugh Mulhearne, John Dempsey and Ciaran Power to name but a few who have gone before. Sean Hahessy and Michael O’Loughlin who are following on close behind.

The main inspiration for a generation of cyclists around the World. Another Carrick man Sean Kelly is the only one to have reached the heights of taking part in a Cycling Monument or Classic. Of course he did more than just take part. He set the bar so high that he is ranked as the third best Classics rider of all time.

Tomorrow Sam will line up at the start line of a race that is at the pinnacle of our sport and we will all dream of seeing his well practiced victory salute seven hours later. This year that dream may be an outside bet, but it will be a huge stepping stone towards making that dream a reality.

The Tour of Flanders is All Ireland final day for cyclists and when Sam wheels out onto the cobbled pitch in the morning all of our hopes and dreams will ride with him. Ballymac will be covered in record time to ensure all get home to see as much of the race as possible.

His family, girlfriend and friends will all be extremely proud. If you hear a loud Croke park roar during the afternoon that will have been caused by the sight of Sam on Eurosport.

Best of luck Sam, and however you get on tomorrow you will have brightened the day of every cycling fan in Ireland !

Barry
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