Monaghan Motor Club members put in starring roles in this year’s Donegal International
Rally. The event is Ireland’s only three day rally and attracted a full field of
crews competing in the International, National, Historic and Junior Categories. The
event was the fourth round of the 2017 Irish Tarmac Championship.
In the International section, Sam & Josh Moffett led the Monaghan crews while Conor
Foley was navigating for local man Donagh Kelly. The Kelly/Foley combination led
the event from the off and held a 12 second advantage after Friday’s six special
stages. Sam Moffett/Karl Atkinson were involved in a closely fought battle with Alaister
Fisher for top R5 and trailed the Fermanagh man by less than 3 seconds. Josh Moffett/James
Fulton continued to build speed after their Monaghan accident and held 3rd R5 just
17 seconds adrift of Sam.
Kelly/Foley continued to lead on day two but were coming under increased pressure
from Manus Kelly/Donal Barrett who had closed to 7 seconds behind at the end of the
day. There was an equally absorbing battle between Fisher & Moffett for top R5, less
than 10 seconds separated them going into Sunday’s final leg. Josh Moffett/James
Fulton held a solid 6th place. Pauric Duffy/Kevin Glynn were 8th overall in another
The fight between the two Kelly’s for the overall win went right down to the wire.
Manus Kelly took the lead on stage 16 but a brilliant run through the Glen Stage
allowed Kelly/Foley back ahead. Going on opposite tyres for the final loop it was
hard to see who it would come out on top. Manus was on the better rubber for the
Fanad Stage and slashed 15 seconds off Kelly/Foley to retake the lead. Kelly/Foley
tried to pull it back on the following Atlantic Drive Stage but were caught out three
corners from the finish, rolling their car. The damage sustained unfortunately forced
them into retirement.
Sam Moffett/Karl Atkinson were unable to challenge Fisher/Noble on the final leg.
They secured 4th overall and 2nd placed championship points, maintaining their overall
lead in the Irish Tarmac Championship. Josh Moffett/James Fulton and Pauric Duffy/Kevin
Glynn came home 5th and 6th respectively. There was early dissapointment for Robert
Barrable/Damien Connolly who retired their Hyundai on stage five. Aaron McHale/Darragh
Kelly also retired their Citroen on Friday.
The National Rally was well represented with Monaghan men. Gary McPhillips was the
top seed with local man James McNulty on the notes. They finished the opening leg
in 4th place but their event came to an end on the Carn Hill stages on Saturday.
Gary’s former navigator Paul Sheridan was navigating for Cavan’s Jonathan Pringle.
They made steady progress over the weekend to come 4th overall. Andrew Grennan guided
his regular driver Vivian Hamill to 5th overall in their Escort.
Michael Carbin/Conor Mohan had a great run in their Lancer to take 10th overall and
1st in class 20. Emmet Sherry guided Tommy O’Connell to 11th overall and 2nd in class
13. Matthew McKenna guided Liam McFall to 28th overall and 1st in class. John & Niall
Kelly completed the great Donegal adventure in 36th overall and 1st in class 10.
They would like to thank their service team, sponsors and Lorraine & Moira for their
support all weekend.
Gerard McQuaid/Gareth Quinlan had to resort to Rally 2 to get a finish. They came
home 47th overall. National retirements included Paul Purtill/Paul Kelly, Anthony
Hand/Peter Deery, James McCarville/Paddy McCrudden and Barry Treanor/Colm Connolly.
Jonathan Treanor/Stephen McElroy held an incredible two minute 30 seconds lead in
the Junior Category but suffered a heart-breaking final stage retirement. Martin
Swinburne/Paul Lennon didn’t make it that far, retiring on the opening stage. Gary
McKenna/Calum Maguire also failed to finish. Shane Farrell was at least able to make
the finish with his driver Colette Rooney, taking an 8th place finish.
Click HERE for some images courtesy of Brenda Flynn, Richard Cassidy and Declan McMahon