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Killarney rider Richard Maes excels at World Cyclocross Championships

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Experienced All Human Velorevolution rider Richard Maes is still going strong. Adam Moynihan chats to the accomplished Killarney cyclist to find out more about his latest showing at the World Championships.

Richard, congratulations on your recent success. Can you tell me a bit about the competition you were taking part in?

Thanks Adam. Yeah, it was the World Championships for Cyclocross in Ipswich. I came fourth in the masters section. It was there last year as well and I came fifth, so I knew the course and I was able to train more specifically for it.

So, was the goal heading into this year’s competition to finish higher than fifth?

Yeah, I was hoping for that, but last year there were Covid implications as well. A couple of the big fellas from Belgium and Holland didn’t show up. They did show up this year so I wasn’t quite sure how it would go. But it went well on the day, thankfully.

Can you explain how the sport works?

It’s a cross between mountain biking and road; the bike looks like a road bike with mountain bike wheels. It’s done off-road and there’s a lot of running involved and lot of man-made obstacles like stairs that you have to run up and down. They bring in a couple of hundred tonnes of sand for the course and make you go through it. Skilful riders can ride through it, others can’t and they just have sand in their shoes for the rest of the day. Some courses are hilly, some are flat.

As for the event, it a one-hour race that consists of a three-kilometre track. If a lap takes 10 minutes, they say you have six laps to do. They try to get it as close to the hour as possible.

It sounds pretty physical?

Yeah, it’s the hardest event you can do in terms of cycling. It’s the most demanding. My heartrate would be about 185 average for the hour. It’s the same pain as a 5k running race if you’re trying do that as fast as you can for 20 minutes, except this lasts an hour. It’s the same intensity. There’s a lot of high intensity gym training and weight training.

Tell me about this recent event. Did everything go to plan?

Everything went smoothly enough. Conditions were cold but it was bone dry. Normally we’d have a load of muck to deal with! It ended up being the fastest race of the year.

There were six of us together for the whole race, really, and then it split into three and three with two laps to go. It stayed that way until the end. There was only 13 seconds between first and fifth. It was tight racing all day.

What’s next on the agenda?

The National Championships are on in Dundalk the second weekend of January and we’re finished then. It’d be nice to get a medal there. I was fourth last year so it would be good to go one better this time. After that we’ll be back into road training in March. I’ll be looking to do the Rás and all that craic again. No rest for the wicked!

How is the body holding up overall? Is training getting that bit harder with age?

Not yet! The recovery hasn’t slowed down that much thankfully but I’d say if I did stop for a while and tried to get back going, I’d feel it. I’m training 50 weeks of the year. I’ll try and not get fat for another while!

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Cronin’s title fight to be streamed at Jimmy Brien’s Bar

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Kevin Cronin is aiming to make history on Saturday night by becoming the first Kerry man to win a professional boxing title – and you can watch it all at Jimmy Brien’s Bar in Killarney.

The Milltown native will fight for the vacant Boxing Union of Ireland Celtic light heavyweight title when he goes up against Limerick man Jamie Morrissey at the Europa Hotel in Belfast. The eight-round bout is expected to start at some time between 8pm and 10pm.

Cronin and Morrissey are both undefeated in the professional ranks (Cronin is 5-0 and Morrissey is 4-0) so a high-quality encounter is on the cards. Morrissey is looking to become the first two-weight champion having already secured the super middleweight belt.

For those who cannot make it to Belfast or to Jimmy Brien’s, the fight will be streamed live on Cronin’s Facebook page.

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Aidan O’Mahony opens up about his fight with depression

By Sean Moriarty Kerry football legend Aidan O’Mahony will appear on TV tonight (Thursday) to speak about his mental health battle. Aidan, who will appear on the popular TG4 Laochra […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Kerry football legend Aidan O’Mahony will appear on TV tonight (Thursday) to speak about his mental health battle.

Aidan, who will appear on the popular TG4 Laochra Gael tonight – will speak openly about how he overcame chronic health problems in his youth to take his place on one of the greatest teams of all time.

But when he was in his prime, he became embroiled in controversy as the first GAA player to fail a drugs test.

His mental health deteriorated and after a spell in a treatment centre, he faced the greatest challenge of his life – to rediscover his purpose and his love of the game. He found both in a promise he made when his father passed away.

Five All-Ireland senior medals, two All-Star awards and over 70 senior championship outings in Kerry colours, shows just what the Rathmore man gave to Kerry football.

He may have retired from inter-county football six years ago, but only a few short weeks ago he was part of the Rathmore club side that won the All-Ireland Intermediate Club title.

Now, at 42 years of age he is ready to call time on an illustrious career.

“I needed to step away from reality, society, everything that happened externally over the years had crept in and I had a decision whether I wanted to go down a dark path or go and get help about it,” the Tralee Garda said.

Tonight’s programme will also feature contributions from his former teammate Kieran Donaghy and local councillor Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan, as well as family members who helped him through the good and bad times.

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