Kerry Motor Club’s hardworking couple recognised with the Persons of the Year award

Kerry Motor Club’s hardworking couple recognised with the Persons of the Year award

For the first time in Kerry Motor Club’s 50-year history, its Person of the Year Award was presented to a couple.

The club’s Annual General Meeting took place on Friday night at the Rose Hotel in Tralee.

Gathered members were told about a successful 2022 season, highlights included a new car show in the Brandon Car Park to raise funds for a seriously ill club member and the arrival of the Déjà vu Motorsport event in Tralee in May.

The second event provided €40,000 in funding to Recovery Haven in Tralee.

In October, the club brought its bi-annual Banna Beach Resort Kerry Winter Rally into the heart of Tralee for the first time.

Plans for the year ahead were also announced on the night with club chairman Eoin Duffin selected to take on the role of clerk of the course for the April 2 Circuit of Kerry.

The club’s flagship rally returns this year for the first time since before the pandemic but plans are well underway for the first running of this event in four years.

A new event will run on July 16, to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Ballyfinnane Hillclimb.

The first closed road motorsport event in the county ran on July 15, 1903, and was won by Charles Rolls who went on to found the Rolls-Royce Motor Company.

While this event is still subject to Motorsport Ireland approval and course safety inspections the club is pressing on with preliminary plans to mark this historic occasion.

There were a few changes to the committee and while both Eoin Duffin and PJ O’Dowd stay on as chair and vice chair, Jason Brick was elected as the new club secretary.

Eoin paid tribute to the outgoing secretary Michelle Walsh who put in trojan work, behind the scenes, to keep such a large and busy club on the right track.

Conor Walsh was elected as the club’s new Social Media officer, a new role created to meet the demands of a modern club. He will work closely with the club’s Press Officer, Sean Moriarty.

Christina Fealy stays on as Treasurer, Sarah Leahy continues as Club Development Officer and Mike Cleary retains the Membership Secretary role.

Throughout the meeting, members were asked to nominate their club person of the year by way of a secret ballot.

The coveted shield is presented each year to the person or persons who made the greatest contribution to the club over the previous 12 months.

CAPTION: Christina Fealy and Mike Cleary were presented with the Kerry Motor Club Persons of the Year award at the club’s AGM on Friday night.

When the nominations were counted it turned out that both Christina Fealy and Mike Cleary were tied on votes but as they are a couple it was decided to jointly award the trophy to the one household that did so much background work over the last 12 months.

“We are extremely honoured and surprised to receive this award,” said Christina, “There are a lot of deserving people within this club.”

The club also paid tribute to its competing members who enjoyed success at home and abroad last season.

Noel O’Sullivan won the British Rally Championship co-driving for Welsh driver Osian Pryce. He also won the Rally of the Lakes – a first for a Kerry Motor Club member.
Darren Young won the Kingdom of Kerry drivers title for the second time, Eddie Kennelly and Paul McGlinchy were award winners in the Top Part West Coast Championship and Mossie Costello was second in the Motorsport Ireland Junior 1000 Rally Championship.

Next up for the busy club is a doubleheader this weekend. Several members are either competing or officiating at the Galway International Rally and the club has also taken a display stand at the Killarney Lions Club Fair at Killarney Racecourse on Sunday

Meetings for the Circuit of Kerry will continue every Wednesday night, starting at 8 pm on February 1, at the Rose Hotel.

Kerry Motor Club was officially founded on January 31, 1972. Its 51st year starts this week.

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