Iverk Produce Carrick Wheelers latest rising star, Sean Hahessy, received amazing news last week as he was named as part of a four man team that will represent Ireland in the island’s biggest junior (U18) event – The Junior Tour of Ireland.
The Junior Tour, as it is more commonly known, has been in existence in Ireland since the Kelly-Roche era of the 1980s and the six-day stage race will once again attract strong international competition. The 2012 race boasts teams from as far as America and South Africa, as well as the usual overseas teams from Britain and mainland Europe, with the Dutch being considerably strong in recent years. Former winners of this prestigious international bike race include Nicholas Roche, who is currently riding the Tour De France, and Sam Bennett who now rides as a professional with the An Post – Sean Kelly Team.
Hahessy’s emergence as an international athlete has come as a result of his constant progression within the sport since his first competitive local race in the Iverk Produce Carrick Wheelers Under-age League just a few years ago. Sean was encouraged to give the Under-age League a go by his father Joe who regularly enjoys going for a spin on his bike. Sean duly obliged, enjoyed himself and then with the support of the renowned Carrick Wheelers Club, went from strength to strength as a young cyclist.
Sean began to enter a number of domestic U14 races in the following year but in his own words he was still ‘a bit of a novice’. The novice label certainly didn’t last too long, as 12 months later he collected his first silverware, as he captured a silver medal in the U14 Munster Time Trial Championships, making those within the club take notice of the young man’s potential.
Young Hahessy continued to develop as a cyclist under the guidance of the Carrick Wheelers’ Olympic bound coach, Martin O’Loughlin and added to his medal collection with further podium placings at the U16 Munster Championships, in addition to winning impressive silver in the 2011 U16 All-Ireland Time Trial Championships. The young man from Tanner’s Gate also claimed the first victories of his cycling career with wins in Navan and Blarney along the way.
This year, the teenager further impressed as he began racing in senior events, despite still being in the junior (U18) category. Hahessy extraordinarily started collecting prizes from the opening day of the season as he placed in the top 10 of The Lacey Cup Tralee, even though a field of over 180 (mostly senior) riders took to the start line. ‘The Hulk’ as he is known because of his incredible strength continued to collect prizes on the domestic scene before getting his first big win of the year, which was made even sweeter due to the fact that it was on home soil, as he soloed to success in the Tommy Sheehan Memorial Cycling Race in Carrickbeg. Sean claimed an incredible victory in the B race of the event despite still being only 16 years old. This win was the catalyst in catapulting Sean into the eight-man Irish Development squad from which he successfully made it onto the National Team for this week’s Junior Tour.
Sean continues Carrick Wheelers’ rich tradition of having cyclists on the National Team for Ireland’s biggest junior event as John O’Shea, Cian Power and Sam Bennett have all represented their country in this international six-day race over the past decade.
The race itself starts next Tuesday in Castlebar and continues each day until Sunday, with much of this year’s race being based in the West of Ireland.
Hopefully luck will be on the side the likeable Carrick-on-Suir youngster as he pulls on the green Irish jersey for the first time in his short but impressive cycling career so far.