Lara Gillespie named in Ireland squad for European Championships

Enniskerry’s Lara Gillespie has been included in a 15-rider squad that will represent Ireland at the European Championships in Munich, Germany, August 11-21.

The Irish team is one of the strongest and most diverse for many years with representation on the road, in the velodrome and for the first time, in the BMX Freestyle Park.

After the disappointment of missing out on the Tour de France selection, Sam Bennett returns to lead the men’s team over a 209.4 kilometer course, starting in Murnau a. Staffelsee and finish in Munich, where they will negotiate five laps of a city center loop.

Bennett will be joined by teammate and key leader, Ryan Mullen, as well as Irish champion, Rory Townsend, Eddie Dunbar and Matthew Taggart.

Ben Healy, the 2022 National Time Trial Champion, will focus solely on the time trial. Ryan Mullen, previously fourth in the European Championships, will compete in both the road race and the time trial.

Alice Sharpe and Mia Griffin will represent Ireland in the women’s road race. Sharpe enters the race in good form after winning the Irish championship jersey at the end of June. Griffin, best known for her track racing pedigree, has also impressed on the road with a top 10 on the final stage of the Baloise Ladies Tour in recent weeks.

Kelly Murphy and Joanna Patterson will compete in the women’s 24 kilometer European Championship time trial. The pair finished first and second in the national time trial championships, with Murphy edging Patterson by just 1.12 seconds over the 32-kilometre course.

The track events take place from August 11-16 and will see seven Irish athletes take to the boards. JB Murphy, Alice Share, Mia Griffin, Kelly Murphy, Emily Kay and Lara Gillespie will focus on endurance events while Orla Walsh will focus on sprint disciplines. JB Murphy picked up a stunning bronze medal in the Scratch race last year, adding to the bronze won by the women’s team pursuit team at the 2021 European Championships. Irish track runners will be aiming for more success in participating in a wide range of events throughout the week.

In an exciting development for the sport, Ireland will be represented at the BMX Freestyle Park for the first time at a European Championship. Ryan Henderson discovered BMX after breaking his neck in a motocross accident at the age of 16.

The East Belfast athlete has had a remarkable run since then and hopes to continue that progression at the European Championships and eventually become Ireland’s first freestyle representative at the Olympics.

Ireland Team – European Championships, Munich, Germany. (August 11-21)

Men’s road race: Sam Bennett, Ryan Mullen, Eddie Dunbar, Rory Townsend, Matthew Taggart. Men’s time trial: Ben Healy, Ryan Mullen. Women’s Road Race: Alice Sharpe, Mia Griffin. Women’s Time Trial: Kelly Murphy, Joanna Patterson. Men’s track: JB Murphy. Women’s Track: Alice Sharpe, Mia Griffin, Kelly Murphy, Emily Kay, Lara Gillespie, Orla Walsh. BMX Freestyle Park: Ryan Henderson.

About Frances R. Smith

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