Dunne and Foley Super in Sligo

Sligo SS 11

Darren Dunne and Heather Foley have both cemented their overall leads in the 2016 Super Series with victories at Hazelwood Triathlon near Sligo town.

Both athletes were clear winners on the technical, compact, and extremely scenic course, which was staged in-and-around Lough Gill, to the east of the town.

Sligo Triathlon Club ran three separate races at the venue with Nollie Kavannagh and Hannah Shields winning the non-drafting Olympic distance triathlon earlier in the morning.

Dunne The Victor in Mens’ Race

The men’s draft-legal race was one of the most exciting of the Super Series so far, with the lead changing a number of times and plenty of attempted breaks on the bike.

Kieran Jackson swam superbly to hold a relatively large 26 second lead over the rest of the field as he exited the water.

Sligo SS 1

Behind him, Cillian Tierney, Darren Dunne, Eoin Lyons and Aichlinn O’Reilly all entered T1 together but with O’Reilly taking more time than was necessary in transition, the trio of Tierney, Lyons and Dunne formed the main chase pack on the bike. They duly hunted down and caught Jackson in the early stages of the 20km multi-lap bike course. 

Sligo SS 3

O’Reilly, who biked the first two laps alone, was made to work hard before he finally managed to bridge across to this lead group. But as soon as he made contact, the Westport man set about launching a series of attacks in a bid to go solo. None stuck however and all five men entered T2 in a single group led by Cillian Tierney.

Sligo SS 4

Tierney was also first out on to the run, but before long it became clear that the race would come down to a battle between pace setter Darren Dunne and Kieren Jackson as both men moved to front. Ultimately however, Jackson was unable to stick with Dunne, who pulled clear to win by 17 seconds in a time of 1:00:01.

Jackson took second place while Cillian Tierney clinched third a mere 15 seconds further back.

Sligo SS 5

Most Exciting Race - Dunne

Afterwards Darren Dunne described the race as the most exiting of the Super Series so far:

“We all did our turns on the bike, Aichlinn tried to break away a few times and Cillian tried to put in a few digs and because it’s so technical, gaps did open up and it makes you work harder trying to close those gaps.”

Dunne said he raced strategically once he got on to the bike: “I didn’t do too much work on the bike because I was hoping I’d run away later on. Kieran pushed me really hard on the run and I was thinking ‘oh crap I am not going to get this one' but thankfully he seemed to go through a bad patch cause the gap I got was just enough to hold on, although he really came back to me at the end.”

Sligo SS 6

Women’s Race

In the women’s race, pre-race favourite and Super Series leader Heather Foley put in an all round strong performance to seal a victory that rarely looked in doubt. Despite trailing by more than a minute following the swim, Foley was able to bike her way to the front and put in the quickest run split of the day to win by more than 30secs.

Second place went to Lynne Algar, who coaches a number of the leading athletes in the men’s field. Algar showed she’s able to put her theory in to practice with a strong swim, a clever bike leg and a run that saw her finish nearly a minute ahead of 3rd placed athlete Siobhan Gallagher.

Sligo SS 8

Foley Taking A Break

Following her victory, Heather Foley agreed with Darren Dunne’s assessment of the course: “It was a great race, really good course and really well organised.”

And she revealed that she will sit out the next round of the Super Series at DCT later this month.

“It’s been a long season and I’ve come right through from the duathlon season so I will take a break now. I might do Pulse Clogherhead, I am ahead on races and with two to go, we will just have to wait and see what happens.”

Sligo SS 9

Kavannagh and Shields Win Olympic Distance Race

Before the Super Series events, Sligo Triathlon Club also hosted an Vodafone National Series, Olympic distance race at the Hazelwood venue, which was won by Nollie Kavannagh with Edward Kearney in second place and Brian Sexton in third.

The women’s Olympic distance race was won by Hannah Shields ahead of Dervla Owens in second place and Anne Marie Hayes in 3rd.

Provisional results from all races are on CoreTiming.ie and keep an eye on the Triathlon Ireland Facebook page for a gallery of hundreds of images from the day.