Silver and Bronze for Ireland at Bucharest Junior ETU European Cup

Bucharest Podium_Maeve G & Erin McC

It was a successful weekend for Irish triathlon internationally over the 23rd/24th June 2018, with podium places in the Bucharest ETU Junior European Cup for Maeve Gallagher and Erin McConnell. In Belgium, there was a top 15 finish for Darren Dunne in Wuustwezel at the ETU Sprint European Cup.

Gallagher & McConnell shine in Bucharest

Junior triathletes Maeve Gallagher and Erin McConnell represented Ireland at the Bucharest ETU Triathlon Junior European Cup on 23 June and proved that they are both a force to be reckoned with on the international stage.

Erin had the fastest swim split of the race, leading at the halfway point after Lap 1, McConnell entered T1 first and heading out on the bike in a group of four. Maeve made up the thirty second deficit on the bike and joined McConnell on the fourth bike lap of the 20 kilometre course. From there the pair worked together on the bike to enter transition in third and fourth.

Onto the run and Maeve Gallagher dug deep to put in the fastest run of the day in 18:28 to finish the race 42 seconds behind Denmark's Augusta Gronberg Christensen for second place. Erin McConnell crossed the line 72 seconds back in 1:02:01 for third place and a double podium for Ireland.

Speaking of the result, transition year student Gallagher was thrilled:

This was my second Junior European Cup triathlon and the first of three big races that I'll be doing over the next few weeks. I was really excited coming in to the race because I was really looking forward to racing in Romania. The swim was in a lake and the water was 26 degrees so we didn't have to wear any wetsuits. It was definitely warmer than the water at Westport Triathlon Club last weekend!

I was very happy with my swim, I came out just behind the leading group. My transition went really good and I had to work hard on the bike to catch up with the first group. I caught up to them but two riders had broken off the front as I bridged over. Three of us came into transition and I felt strong going into the run and I was really happy with my run because I got one of the fastest times out of the field. I was delighted when I crossed the was even more special to see my team mate and great friend Erin come across and make the podium as well.

ETU Bucharest_Maeve G Bike

Having returned from Bucharest yesterday, Erin spoke of how much she enjoyed the race:

The race was really, really good. The swim, I came out first and had a good lead to get into transition. I got onto the front pack with the girls and then two girls dropped me and another girl from Croatia...then Maeve caught up and we worked together.

Got into T2 and ran for my life basically. It was a really good, strong run. I felt like it was one of the best runs that I have had in triathlon in a long time so I was really happy with that. Overall, I was really pleased though I just kept getting stronger and stronger in my run.

ETU Bucharest Bike Pack

A Learning Experience

The race was a great experience for both, each finding certain elements new and different. For Maeve, it was her first swim in a non-wetsuit race;

It was my first time swimming in the swim without a wetsuit so that was different, I didn't have the buoyancy of a wetsuit. The bike course was very flat and it was around laps. The racing at home would maybe be one big lap, but here it was five smaller laps so it was very technical and required alot of bike handling skills.

Erin felt she learned alot from the experience, including her first pontoon start:

Racing abroad was brilliant, such a good learning experience and I always come back having learned something. The bike for me is always somewhere that I learn something. My swim is the strongest and running you're kind of on your own...In Quarteira in Portugal, I got the chance to work in a pack whereas this time I found out what it was like to be on my own and work on my own until someone came along.

Up next

So, what's up next for the two talented juniors? Maeve will be racing in Banyoles, Spain at the ETU Triathlon European Youth Olympic Games Qualifier while Erin will be focusing on the Super Series races in Ireland. Both will travel to the Tartu ETU Triathlon European Championships in Estonia in July.

Bucharest Podium_Maeve G & Erin
Photos: European Triathlon Union

Top 15 for Dunne

Yesterday in Belgium, Darren Dunne completed the penultimate race of his successful trip to Europe, with a 14th place at the 2018 Wuustwezel ETU Sprint Triathlon European Cup. Ailbhe Carroll was also racing for Ireland and finished 34th in the women's race.