THE community of East Clare were saddened by the death of Garda Michael (Mick) Mulryan in January but his family and friends have collaborated to organise a fitting memorial event in his honour.
Mick died on January 25, 2010, when he lost his battle with cancer. His illness spanned three months and during that time he was nursed by his wife, Gráinne, and in his final days he was given care at Milford Hospice in Limerick.
According to organisers, all who knew Mick would testify that he was a man who would not stand back from any challenge. Because of this, a group of his friends and family have decided to put together a challenge befitting of his character, entitled the Mulryan Memorial Challenge.
The dual challenge encompasses a return cycle from Maam Cross, County Galway to the base of Croagh Patrick, County Mayo and a climb to the summit.
The event will take place on Sunday, June 27 and the challenge can be done in any of three ways; participants can complete the cycling challenge and the climb, or can participate in just one of these challenges, or alternatively a team can participate in both aspects.
Speaking about the event, one of the organisers, John Heagney of Cycle Holidays Ireland, explained that the main reason for the challenge is that it was a goal Mick wanted to complete himself.
“It was something he wanted to do. He had planned to do it and he probably would have done it this year,” John said.
The cycle will begin on June 27 at 8am, with registration from 7.15am to 7.40am at the car park of Peacock’s Hotel, Maam Cross.
The cycle will leave at 8pm and will be at a regimented, regulated pace of 15mph over a 40 mile distance. The participants will travel as a pelaton to Croagh Patrick and there will be a food stop in Delphi. It is expected that the cycling contingent will arrive at the base of Croagh Patrick by 11am, where refreshments will be provided.
The second leg of the challenge will take place between 11.30am and 3pm, where participants will take on the summit of Croagh Patrick, a 2,500ft climb.
Following this aspect of the challenge, refreshments will be provided and a return cycle to Maam Cross will then take place. There will be a scheduled stop approximately halfway through the cycle for water. Refreshments on both journeys to and from the climb are built into the event and there will be a food station for distribution of food packs before the climb at the base of Croagh Patrick.
On the return trip, participants have the option of competing from Lennane for the remaining 13 mile journey to the finish at Maam Cross but the pelaton style of the group will remain in place throughout the cycle.
Sponsorship is required to register for the cycle and all funds raised go towards the purchase of medical equipment for Milford Hospice.
John described his first encounter with Mick and how he will remember him.
“I came across Mick on the Garda Cycle but my first encounter with him was on a professional basis when I arrived up to him at a checkpoint. The shock and suddenness of his illness, it just takes you aback when someone as young and as fit as that can be taken away. You never think of it happening. We were also anxious to make a decent contribution to Milford as a result of their involvement,” John added.
“I remember a story I was told at a Garda Cycle, where some people were at the front of the group trying to push the pace. Mick was always one of those people. He would always have been at the front of the pack, wearing loud-coloured cycling jerseys.
“At the cycle, someone had asked, was the car setting the pace supposed to do 15 or 50 miles an hour and who was the Columbian driving it on? At the time, the Columbians would have been noted for their speed and loud jerseys in the Tour de France and for me, I will remember Mick in that way,” he recalled.
John explained that the cycle challenge itself will follow a scenic and quiet route and said the only difficulties that should be encountered on the day would be with sheep on the roads.
“There are only two junctions that we have to go through. I would classify the cycle as moderate but when you factor in those who are doing the climb as well, it is very important that the pace will be regulated.
“For this reason it will be regimented and we have a man who will not go faster than that, not even for the Pope. Those that want to compete will be facilitated at the end of the event from Lennane,” John concluded.
To further highlight the Mulryan Memorial Challenge, a polo shirt has been specially designed which incorporates the challenge logo and is available to challengers by contacting Margaret Lysaght on 086 1624097.
Anyone interested in getting involved in any aspect of the challenge can contact the organisers for an information pack via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by texting 087 8321200. The closing date to register for the event is June 12, Mick’s birthday.