Race Report: A Great Day of Triathlon at Loughrea Festival Today's race at Loughrea Triathlon Festival had it all. Family fun and competitive BMW Triathlon National Series racing from two strong fields of seniors; races for over two hundred juniors in the morning and a thrilling sprint finish to top off the day.on form gallagher leads from the offWith a hugely competitive and talented field of women containing many of the top female triathletes in the country - this race was always going to be one to watch. While round 11 of the BMW Triathlon National Series belonged to Maeve Gallagher from the start, the rest of the placings saw an epic battle for the other two podium spots. Coming from the water, Gallagher entered the first transition with Ella Doherty just two seconds behind. These two were on the bike with little to split them and Siobhan Gallagher, showing the same strong swim form from Belfast Titanic Triathlon, just 38 seconds behind after a slower T1. The strong cyclist closed this deficit on the bike and Siobhan and Amy O'Keeffe entered the second transition at virtually the same time.Maeve looked comfortable as she ran on to the 5km run course and was unlikely to be caught, finishing three minutes faster than her nearest rival in 1:04:01, and completing in 11th place overall. At this point the battle was for second and third. Amy O'Keeffe overtook Siobhan Gallagher and she then just needed to hold the gap between them to finish in second spot. However it wasn't until the 2.5 kilometre turnaround point that the two realised triathlon newcomer Becky Woods was working her way through the field in customary fashion. Woods overtook Siobhan Gallagher just one hundred metres from the finish. Turning into the finishing chute O'Keeffe realised what was happening and came around the corner to the line in full tilt, claiming silver in the process. Piranha's Becky Woods finished in third in her fourth ever triathlon, and fourth BMW Triathlon National Series podium. Just nine seconds separated second from fourth in the final results.consistency pays off for donnellyThe men's race also featured some talented juniors showing their promise. Leaving Certificate student Tiernan Burke led out of the water and managed to hold on to that lead on the bike course. Ciaran Madden and Michael Moran rounded out the top three at this point with just four seconds separating the swims of the three men.The undulating terrain of the 20km bike course suited strong cyclists and as such Stephen Donnelly and Donncha Kiely were just seconds behind Tiernan coming up the hill out of transition and on to the run. The pace of the 5k proved too much for Burke today and gave fellow teenager and Predator clubmate Ben Ryan a chance to move in to third place.Making a return to the BMW Triathlon National Series this year for the first time since injury, Stephen Donnelly looked to be on form crossing the line with a strong finish and a time of 1:00:37, 28 seconds ahead of Donncha Kiely, 62 seconds ahead of Ben Ryan. You can watch live coverage of the race on the Triathlon Ireland Facebook Page. Picture galleries will also be available here shortly.Barilla Youth festivalOver two hundred children from the ages of 7 to 15 lined out for this year's Barilla Youth Festival on the morning of Loughrea Triathlon. The Predator Triathlon Club event saw all the children swim, bike and run across various distances depending on their age category.From the 7 - 9 year olds who were within their depth the entire 200 metre swim to the 14 - 15 year old category who completed a 400m swim, 6km bike and 3km run - there were smiles all round at the finish line. A great fun event and one not to be missed in 2019!