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Rás Mumhan to remember Kerry cycling greats

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By Sean Moriarty

Two legends of Kerry cycling will be remembered during this year’s Rás Mumhan.

The four-day international race – the biggest cycling event in Kerry – was launched this week.

Rás Mumhan, taking place over the four days of the Easter weekend, is the first major Stage Race of the Irish cycling calendar.

One of the highlights of this year’s international event sees a return to the amphitheatre that is Killorglin, taking in the traditional Beaufort loop before they head on to the circuit around the town for 10 laps with the finish on the main street up the hill. It will allow for a spectacle for all and ignite the passion for those who love the sport of cycling.

“The final stage in Killorglin is this year an even more fitting tribute to the great John Mangan who won the Rás Tailteann in 1972, and for those of you that remember the giants of the past, to get to the roadside to support the present and future warriors of the Rás Mumhan,” said event PRO Mark Murphy.

As well as winning Ireland's biggest bike race 50 years ago, Killorglin native Mangan enjoyed 14 years as a professional cyclist and won several races in France.

Kerry Group Rás Mumhan has been traditionally run by Killorglin Cycling Club but is now a regional wide effort by Killorglin, Tralee Manor West Cycle Club, Sliabh Luachra Cycling Club and Killarney Cycling Club. Without the combined support the event would certainly be way more difficult to run.

“We wish to acknowledge the passing of our great friend Padraig Harnett who for years so willingly gave of his time in the promotion and coverage of the event and his loss has been felt throughout the sporting world here in Kerry."

Padraig, who passed away last October was the most influential cycling journalist in Kerry.

Last year’s winner Lindsay Watson of Velo Revolution will make a defence of his title.

He will be challenged by local riders who have laid their claim in the form of Tom Moriarty from Castlegregory who had a successful year in 2022 in the professional ranks, and Lorcan Daly of Milltown who is the current Munster criterium champion.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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‘More Precious Than Gold’ book launch

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At the official book launch of ‘More Precious Than Gold: My enduring connection with John McShain – the man who built Washington’ by Alice O’Neill-McLoughlin at Killarney House, was Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D.

Alice was born the eldest of eleven children into an Irish farming family in Rosbercon, New Ross, County Wexford. In 1978, she was awarded a scholarship from John McShain- the iconic builder, philanthropist, devout Catholic with Derry ancestry, responsible for many famous American landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon.

Her book records the lifelong personal correspondence Alice exchanged with ‘The Man Who Built Washington.’ His philanthropy extended to the Irish people in the bequeathing to the State of Killarney House and the surrounding thousands of acres incorporating the Lakes, Ross Castle, and Innisfallen Island. In 2019, Alice had the honour of inducting John McShain into the Irish America Hall of Fame in her home town of New Ross in the presence of his relatives from Philadelphia and Derry. This is a tale of altruism, of gratitude, of faith and of a life lived in the pursuit of excellence.

Alice also donated her treasured correspondence of letters from John McShain for the archive at Killarney House. Also in attendance were Members of the Ignatius A. O’Shaughnessy family, who was founder of The Globe Oil and Refining Company – and part of a consortium of wealthy American businessmen who were going to purchase the lakes of Killarney as a Country Club in the 1950’s.

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