At long last Irish rallying is set to resume this weekend with the Cork ‘20’ International Rally.
It will be the first Irish event since the Mayo Rally in March 2020 that ran just days before the first of the Pandemic restrictions came into force.
Competitors have been very eager to get back into action, the Munster Car Club has attracted a strong entry of over 150 cars and many of them are representing the two Kerry clubs.
The top Kerry seed for Sunday’s rally is co-driver Ger Conway. He has linked up with Monaghan driver Stephen Wright in a Ford Fiesta R5 and will start at 12.
Running right behind are former Kerry Winter Rally winners Daniel Cronin and Shane Buckley in a similar car. Another Kerry Winter Rally winning crew, Stephen McCann and Damian Fleming make it three Ford Fiestas in a row with Kerry co-drivers.
Lixnaw’s Keith McCarthy will start at 45 alongside Neil Phelan in a Ford Escort Mk2.
The first all Kerry crew on the road is that of Mike Quinn and Tony Healy, another Kerry Winter Rally winning team on their first full attempt at the Cork ‘20’.
Mike is rearing to go. “I started the car the other evening, and after smelling the petrol fumes, I was like a little terrier,” he said. “I will probably be quicker in my van, but if I get out of this one, I will go to Wexford and I should be ok for Kerry in November,”
Kenmare’s Vincent O’Shea and Eoin O’Donoghue are in action in their Darrian T90, while Killarney’s John Hickey hopes to debut his new BMW M3.
Peter Falvey and Mark O’Leary, former front-runners in the junior class are making a step up to the main rally.
Starting at 66 are Kerry Motor Club committee members Eoin Duffin and Mikie Cleary in their Ford Escort. Thomas Randles is listed at 75 but he has not declared a car on the entry form.
Adrian Randles will start at 93 in his Escort.
Killarney’s Mark Murphy is on his maiden voyage in a newly built Toyota Starlet. Darren Young, the defending Kingdom of Kerry Rally Champion and Pa Lawlor wheel out their usual Honda Civic.
Rathmore’s Don Moynihan and Pat Cashman are another Kerry crew on the entry list, as is Ray O’Neill and his North Cork co-driver Padraig O’Donovan. Carragh Lake’s Colin Fisher of RallyFish Raffles is at 136 in his Citroen C2.
Lispole’s Alan O’Sullivan is the sole Kerry entrant in the Junior Rally. He and his Abbeyfeale co-driver Mark Doody opting for their usual Honda Civic over their newly acquired Ford Escort.
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