THE MULLIGAN family from Omagh had plenty to celebrate after father and son, Johnny and Paul almost pulled off a sensational double at the Emyvale GP on Sunday.
Paul, wearing the colours of Caldwell Cycles, recorded a magnificent triumph in the flagship event while dad Johnny, who has just come out of retirement, rolled back the years to finish runner-up in the Masters race (over 50s).
Paul Mulligan’s outstanding GP victory came as a result of a tremendous effort by the Omagh-based Caldwell team which at one point had four riders in a break.
Newcomer Craig McAuley, who has just returned from injury, backed up Mulligan’s success by sprinting home in third, Darnell Moore charged across the line in fifth while Conor Murphy was seventh.
In the A3 race the in-form Ciaran O’Hagan just got pipped into second place by seasoned rider Chris McCann of Dig Deep coaching with Calvin Moore and Dylan Russell managing to stay upright and finish safely in the bunch. Darren Murray crossed the line in the A4 bunch.
However it was Johnny Mulligan’s success in representing Strule Wheelers that had fired the imagination. The man who hadn’t raced competitively for over a decade was back enjoying his moment in the sun.
“The winner was long gone, then there was a mass sprint and I hung in there and managed to get to the line first,” said John, who 48 hours earlier won the over-60 section at a race in Donegal.
“I have to admit I was more than a little surprised. I went there with the intention of going as far as I could. I didn’t intend to be in the mix at all, if I’m honest.
“Next week I could be well down the road so I may enjoy the glory when it’s there.
“Back in the day when I used to compete in the Grand Prix itself I twice finished runner-up. I have come out of retirement and still got second again, so it could be argued that I’m not making any real progress!”
The truth, of course, is something altogether different and having tasted success, the name Mulligan is likely to feature prominently in Masters races over the coming weeks and months.