A TEENAGE cyclo-cross star is set to realise her dream of representing her country on the world stage.

Roisin Lally has been selected to race for Ireland at the first cyclo-cross world championships for U18 women, at Dubendorf in Switzerland.

The honour will cap an outstanding season for the 16-year-old, during which she finished top of the North-East league in both junior and senior women categories.

Last weekend, the pupil at Hexham’s Queen Elizabeth High School travelled to Sligo for the Irish National Cyclo-Cross Championships, where she finished second junior, and after a sprint finish, fifth woman overall.

The achievement earned her selection for the world championships - a goal she has worked towards for the past three years.

In February 2017, a then 14-year-old Roisin attended a question and answer session hosted by the multiple British champion rider Helen Wyman, who was keen to inspire emerging young competitors.

Helen told Roisin about plans by the sport’s Swiss-based governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), to launch a world championship event for U18 women within three years.

It was a significant meeting for Roisin, who immediately set a long term goal, and worked on her ambitious plan alongside coach Dan Small.

Her proud father Sean said: “Now three years later, after month upon month of hard work training down on Tyne Green or the Sele, often in the dark and driving rain, and off the back of an excellent season for Roisin, has been selected to race for the Irish national team in the first ever cyclo-cross world championships for U18 women.”

Roisin, who is now approaching her 17th birthday, won all of her junior races, and three of the seven women’s races in the North-East League, while never finishing outside of the podium places.

She also excelled in national races, achieving four top 10 finishes in the junior category, and several high placings within the elite category.

The teenager’s excellent form saw her selected to represent Ireland at the European Championships in Italy, last November. On a brutally heavy and muddy course, Roisin was the highest placed Irish finisher, in 26th place.

In December’s Sport Tynedale Awards, she was shortlisted as young sportswoman of the year.