Impressive haul of medals for Offaly cyclist in World Paracycling events

A VERY talented Offaly cyclist collected an impressive haul of medals when she competed in big World paracycling events over the last two weekends.

Josephine Healion, Cappincur won two silver medals in the Paracycling UCI World Cup and bronze in the World Championships, receiving a glorious reward for years of hard work and commitment.

The Paracyling World Cup took place in Quebec in Canada. Josephine competed in two events, the 26.4km Time Trial on Friday 5th of August and Road Race on Sunday 7th of August. Representing Ireland with her pilot Linda Kelly, in both events, they finished 2nd after two other Irish competitors, Eve McCrystal and Katie George Dunleavy.

The following weekend, Friday 12th of August, Josie and Linda continued their competing with the Time Trial in the World Championships, also in Quebec. They were unfortunate to have a mechanical issue on the start line as the timer was running, but put in a fantastic effort to finish in the seventh place. On Sunday 14th of August, Josie and Linda were in the Women’s World Championships Road Race, competing in the 82km race, finishing in a fantastic third place, winning bronze.

This tremendous achievement was a fantastic result for Josie, her first-time representing Ireland at an international UCI event. Two silver medals and a bronze are an amazing result, and all the members of Tullamore Cycling and Touring Club are so proud of Josie and all she has achieved.

Josie started cycling in 2014, joining the club with her sister Jenny Martin. Both girls are visually impaired but cycle with the club on two tandem bicycles. Quickly the two girls along with their pilots, Billy Colton and Colin Quinn became key members on each club spin, the two ‘dream teams’ in the middle of any craic or mischief that may occur! Over the next couple of years Josie’s strength on the tandem continued to grow and she decided last year that she would like to try her hand at racing. Tullamore Cycling and Touring Club, along with Vision Sport Ireland and Cycling Ireland supported her in this and in 2022, Josie has gone from strength to strength.

In April of this year, Josie started her racing journey, competing in the National Invacare Para Cycling League. Piloted by Francine Meehan they finished in a fantastic 2nd place with a time of 24.24 for the ten-mile time trial. Two weeks later, Josie competed with Claire Ní Reachtagain in the National Championships in Corkagh Park finishing 3rd. In May, Josie and Claire traveled to Ostend in Belgium as part of Cycling Ireland’s Development Squad of cyclists. Two fantastic results of 10th place in both the 20km Time Trial and the 90 km Road Race showed that Josie’s hard work was paying off. At the end of June Josie and Francine took part in the National Time trial Para Cycling Championships. In the 32km time trial, the girls finished in 3rd place, just 8 seconds behind second place finishers.

Selection for the Irish squad traveling to Canada for the UCI Para Cycling World Cup was a just reward for all Josie’s hard work and fantastic results this year. Wearing the green jersey of Ireland on an international stage is the dream of every Irish athlete, but a select few get to experience it. Paired with pilot Linda Kelly, a talented cyclist in her own right, and cycling alongside the fantastic duo of Katie George Dunleavy and Eve McCrystal was a brilliant opportunity and experience for Josie and hopefully she will be able to continue this journey in the future. Having two Irish podium finishers in first, second and third place in both the World Cup and World Championships, is hard to believe but demonstrates the strength and depth of talent in women’s cycling in Ireland.

TCTC has two fantastic pilots in the club – Billy Colton and Colin Quinn. Both men give so much of their time to piloting the tandems and are instrumental in the part they played in Josies success this year, giving her the start in cycling, training with her regularly and helping her on way to her silver medals. Along with Billy and Colin, Francine Meehan has been key to Josies preparation. An extremely experienced pilot and represented Ireland in many Para Cycling events. She has coached, prepared and trained with Josie for the past year. TCTC are so fortunate to have members with such experience, and who are so giving of their time and knowledge to help Josie on this journey.

However the lady who made this all happen, is Josie herself. Through hard work, dedication and determination Josie has achieved so much this year and will undoubtedly continue to achieve more if she wishes to pursue racing. Josie.

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