Irish rallying is in good health judging by the capacity 140-car entry for this weekend’s Corrib Oil Galway International Rally.
It seems Paul Nagle’s efforts in the World Rally Championship are having an effect at club-level in Kerry – As ever, there is a huge Kerry contingent heading west for the weekend – but more local co-drivers are competing than there are local drivers.
There are 14 Kerry-based navigators in action this weekend but just five Kerry drivers are on the event’s entry list.
Leading the local contingent is Killarney and District Motor Club member and Millstreet, County Cork resident Liam Moynihan. He is on pacenote duty for Cathan McCourt in a Ford Fiesta Rally2, the pair finished third on the Killarney Historic Rally in November and are seeded at seven this time out.
Four cars behind, Daniel Cronin and his London-based Rockfield co-driver Shane Buckley will steer their newly acquired Volkswagen Polo R2 for the first time.
One of the top seeds in the Modified category is Donegal man Declan Gallagher. He has retained the services of Lawlor’s Cross co-driver John McCarthy to guide his Toyota Starlet around the Galway lanes.
Another John McCarthy, also from Killcummin is alongside Peter Wilson for the 15-stage rally.
They will drive another Fiesta at the event.
Aghadoe’s Conor Murphy and his Rathmore co-driver Sean Collins are in action in a Ford Escort Mk2
Lixnaw-based Garda Keith McCarthy, back after a shoulder injury sustained in a Cork ‘20’ crash last September will compete alongside championship sponsor Neil Phelan in a Ford Escort MK2.
“We are hoping to compete in all seven rounds of the championship which is a commitment in itself but we are ready and very much looking forward to the challenge it offers and getting the buzz again,” said McCarthy.
“The shoulder is very good after the fracture. The biggest pain was recuperating while both Killarney Historics and Banna rallies were on.”
West Cork’s Cyril Casey and West Kerry’s Elaine NÍ Shé are competing in Ford Fiesta Rally4.
The first all-Kerry Motor Club crew on the entry list is that of Eddie Kennelly and Paul McGlinchey who are taking part in their first Galway International Rally in their Ford Escort Mk2.
In the historic section, another Lixnaw-based co-driver Tommy Commane is navigating for County Louth’s Philip McKibbin on an Escort Mk1.
Also in the historic section is Rathmore schoolteacher Declan Casey alongside UK visitor Duncan Williams in a Ford Escort RS1800.
Brian Duggan from the Healy Pass is on duty for former National Champion Luke McCarthy in another historic-spec Escort
Wexford’s Robert Leech has employed Denny Greaney from Cordal as his co-driver for the weekend in their unusual Proton Satria.
His brother Killarney-based Sam Leach is competing in an Opel Corsa with Barry Attridge in the passenger seat.
The Junior rally will take place over the six Sunday stages. Muckross-based Jason Farrell has taken on Robert Duggan as his co-driver in a Honda Civic.
Duggan, the winner of the Modified section of the Killarney Historic Rally in November said: “I am a very bad passenger, I only agreed to this because Jason gave me so much help to build my Escort in time for the Lakes.”
Brosna’s Jamie O’Rourke and Patrick Brislane are also in a Junior Honda Civic.
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