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‘I put in the work so it’s good to have high expectations’

May 23rd, 2024 2:45 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

‘I put in the work so it’s good to have high expectations’ Image
Liam Crowley in action for UCD Cycling Club. (Photo: Damian Faulkner)

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LIAM Crowley’s rise from Clonakilty to the Irish national team for this week’s Rás Tailteann is evidence that hard work pays off.

The Clon cyclist (22) has been selected on the Irish team off the back of his impressive results this season that see him ranked second in the country in the domestic A1 rankings.

‘That’s the top amateur level,’ Crowley explained.

‘How you get ranked is you get points from different races throughout the year, from ten points for a win and so on. I have two wins this season, and did well in Rás Mumhan, a stage race on Easter weekend, and was in the U23 leader’s jersey for two days there. 

‘I’m delighted to be picked, it's my first time getting on an Irish team,’ added the Clon man. The Rás Tailteann got underway on Wednesday in Tullamore, and the cyclists will race over five days, and almost 800km, before finishing in Meath on Sunday. This is Crowley’s third time competing in the Rás, having raced for UCD Cycling Club in 2022 and ’23, and he is setting his sights high.

‘I finished in the top 30 last year with UCD, but I am hoping to do better and would love to get into a jersey, and a top-ten finish would be brilliant. I put in the work so it’s good to have high expectations,’ he explained.

‘I also have my eyes on stages, it would be a dream to win a stage but we need to see how the team is going after the first two stages because it will be team tactics too, to see who is in the best position.’

Liam Crowley will race on the Irish national team at Rás Tailteann this week.


The Irish national team is strong, Crowley added, as it includes reigning Rás champion Dillon Corkery, Dean Harvey and Liam O’Brien who are both pros, and also Odhran Doogan and Crowley. The powerful six-foot three-inch Clonakilty cyclist earned his place on the Irish team – he won the Bobby Power Memorial on St Patrick’s Day and then the Coombes-Connor Memorial in Meath in April. Add in his top-ten finish in the Rás Mumhan and it’s been a season of huge progress, but he’s putting in the long hours in the background.

‘I have had more preparation this year,’ said Crowley, who has just finished his final year of college in UCD, having studied English and History.

‘After my exams in December I went to Portugal for a training week, and in January I was in Spain for two weeks. I was doing 16-18 hours a week on the bike as well as going to college. It’s a lot of hours on the bike, and there is the gym as well; I work with Roger Adams for strength and conditioning in Clon. It’s a lot of work. 

‘Mentality is a big thing, too. I really want to push myself this year so I’m glad I have made an Irish team because it has been one of my goals since I started cycling.’

Crowley’s journey in the sport began locally with Clonakilty Cycling Club before he moved to Kanturk Cycling Club to link up with their youth and junior set-up. Once he started college in UCD, that was his next switch. And his cycling career has continued to pick up pace, just like he is on the road. Built for country, rolling courses, he has the power to make an impact, and he is.

‘It’s the survival of the fittest. It’s down to you and the bike. There is no hiding in cycling. If you are on a bad day you are exposed straight away,’ he said, but the good days are outweighing the tougher days this season. Now he has the chance to make an impact in the biggest race in the country, taking confidence from the support of his family, parents Billy and Ida, and younger sister Ava. In fact, his parents drive a campervan all around the country to follow and support him. 

‘I am so fortunate to have that support, they’ve been brilliant from the start,’ he said, noting too how his dad Billy, who won a Cork SFC title with Clonakilty footballers in 1996, has followed him into cycling.

‘He finished second in his masters category at the national championships two years ago!’ said Crowley, who played GAA with Clon from underage up to minor, but the pull of the bike was too strong, and his Irish call-up shows he made the right choice.

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