Sunday 19 January 2014

From the archives:1950's Road Racing in Ireland

Here's another set of pictures from Dad's photo archive.

This is a mixed set showing various aspects of the Irish road racing scene in the 1950's.

As before we've made every effort to put names to faces and places. If you can fill in any blanks and/or spot any mistakes please let us know.

Clicking on a photo will open the set in a gallery.

Dun Laoghaire Grand Prix 1955.
The riders parade to the start.

Front Row: RJ (Dick) Walsh, Paddy Ellis, Sonny Cullen,
Sean Fox, Sean O'Neill(all Eagle CRC)

Second Row: Davy Byrne, Jack Coleman (both Irish Road Club),
Harry Reynolds, Tony James, Bob Maitland (all Solihull RC, Birmingham)

Third Row: Willie Black, Con Enright (both Co. Dublin RC),
Ron Cunningham (Irish Road Club)

Others in pic: Vinny Byrne (Dublin Wheelers), John Lackey, Phil Molloy,
Fred Brew (all Tailteann RC), Bob McNamara (Irish Road Club), Peter Dowling,
Tony Allen, Brendan Hore (all Antlers CC), Mick Manley, Paddy McInerney (Dublin Wheelers), Keith McCarney (Australia)

Climbing the Long Hill during the Tour De Wicklow c.1957.
L-to-R: Sonny Cullen (Eagle CRC), Gerry Kinsella (Dublin Wheelers),
Ron Cunningham (Irish Road Club), John Lackey (Tailteann RC),
Jim Kennedy (Eagle CRC), Mick Manley (Dublin Wheelers),
Sean Fox (Eagle CRC).

Eagle CRC team, Coast-To-Coast 1950's,
L-to-R: JJ McCormack, Tony Allen (in blue), Christy Lynch,
Jim Kennedy, Sonny Cullen, Gerry Kinsella

JJ McCormack, Jim Kennedy, Sonny Cullen (all Eagle CRC)
ready to go at the National RR Championship,
Markethill, Co. Armagh

Jim Johnson (Maryland Wheelers, back to camera),
Dick Comerford (Irish Road Club)
and Peter Crinnion (Bray Wheelers)
before the National RR Championships, Markethill, Co. Armagh.

Matt Scallon (Orwell Wheelers) and Peter Crinnion (Bray Wheelers), 1958

Matt Scallon (Orwell Wh), John Lackey (Tailteann RC),
Sonny Cullen (Eagle CRC), Jim Kennedy (Eagle CRC), 1958

John Lackey (Tailteann RC) wins a sprint, 1958

Peter Crinnion (Bray Wheelers) 1958

Phil Molloy (Tailteann RC) leads Peter Crinnion (Bray Wheelers)
and Jim Kennedy (Eagle CRC). 1958

Dick Comerford (Irish Road Club) on his Vincent 1000
in a race cavalcade through Wicklow, 1958

Phoenix Park, 1958.
L-to-R: Gerry Kinsella (Eagle CRC), Tony Allen (Eagle CRC), Bill Morrissey,
Fred Brew (Tailteann RC), Sean Fox (obscured), Brendan Hore,
Jim Kennedy  (Eagle CRC, back to camera), John Moore (Antlers CC - in helmet)

A Park gallop, Phoenix Park, 1958

John Moore (Antlers CC) in the cavalcade, Phoenix Park, 1958

Jim Kennedy (Eagle CRC) in front of Steve Lawless (Emerald CC), 1958

Tony Allen  (Eagle CRC), 1958

John Lackey (Tailteann RC) leading Sonny Cullen (Eagle CRC) and
Denis Whelan (Obelisk Wheelers), climbing (we think) Slane Hill, 1958
Peter Dowling (Antlers CC), JJ McCormack (Eagle CRC),
Brendan Duncan (Irish Road Club), 1958
Sonny Cullen (Eagle CRC), Phil Molloy (Tailteann RC), 1958

The first Antlers CC race.line up get ready to go in Skerries.
From left: Reg Walker, Peter Jones, Tony Allen, Sean Fox, Peter Dowling,
unknown , Brendan Hore and Paddy Hollingsworth.
It's possible future National Champion, Dowling went on to win but
that can't be confirmed.


  1. Hi, I love your photos. I have some photos of my dad cycling in the early 50's. He was a member of Tailteann rc. I'm actually looking for any information about this club, such as it's location. Length of time as a club etc. If you know anything, or could point me in the right direction I would be grateful.

    1. Hi Joanna, thanks for your comment. I would love to see your photos. If that was possible you can email me at and maybe we can arrange that.

      I'm currently working on digitising some old slides that include some of Tailteann riders in the late 50's.

      My information is that there were actually two Tailteann RC's, due to the split that existed in irish cycling in times past. It started in Dublin as a club in the National Cycling Association (NCA) but then switched as an entire club to the Cumann Rothaiochta na h'Eireann (CRE), probably so some of the members could ride internationally. As I understand it there was then another Tailteann started up within the NCA.

      I sent my Dad your question and this is his reply: "The first race I won,in the Phoenix Park,I came from the bunch on the last lap of the two mile circuit in pursuit of two Tailteann riders, passed them coming out of the Mountjoy corner and soloed to the finish. Couldn't let these two newcomers,only about a week in CRE,win!!!!!

      Tailteann soon became a force in Irish road racing. Most prominent was John Lackey. His brother,Bill,also raced. Both were from Longford.

      Other prominent riders were Bart.Sharkey,Phil Molloy,Peter Schweppe,Fred Brew. There were others whose name I cannot recollect.

      John Lackey was,of course,the most prominent member in the club,winning many races and riding internationally. He remained prominent in the sport for many years until his sad death. He promoted a number of Tours of Ireland.

      Peter Schweppe is the only one,as far as I am aware,who is still involved with cycling,riding still with the Vets."

    2. Yes Peter is still racing (and winning) with the Vets!! ☺

  2. Th man in the foreground of the first photo (Dun Laoghaire Grand Prix 1955) was David (Davy) O'Connor (in suit with white handkerchief in top pocket. He was a cyclist with South Dublin Wheelers and was a race steward for this event. He passed away 22 years ago - (1918-1995). May he R.I.P.

  3. In the first photo (Grand Prix 1955) is a race steward with a handkerchief in his top pocket of his jacket. This was David (Davy) O'Connor (1918-1995) and he was a keen cyclist up to his mid-30s. He was my father-in-law and I think the name of his cycling club was "South County Dublin Wheelers" or a similar title. Best wishes.

  4. Hi, Peter Dowling (my father) confirmed that he did win the race in Swords in the picture above.

  5. My Dad was Bill Lackey, and uncle John Lackey. Dad ran Glen cc and ran a 2 day race to Longford and back to Palmerstown, among the names i checked in were Sean Kelly, Stephen Roach, Martin Early, and many other great cyclists. That would have been early seventies. If i find any photos i will send them on.

    1. Hi Hazel, nice to talk to you. I knew John well. My Dad was a friend of his. He knew your Dad too. You might be interested in a Facebook group called Cyclists From The Past, which is full of old photos and characters from Irish cycling, including several I've posted of John. Everyone in that group would love to see your photos too.

  6. My father is in a few of the photos, Dickie Comerford, he was very good friends with John lackey. Some great photos