Poignant scenes as Eoin McCarthy remembered at Killarney Forestry Rally
There were poignant scenes at the finish of the Killarney Forestry Rally in Castleisland on Sunday as the late Eoin McCarthy was remembered by rally organisers and his family.
The young West Cork-based driver passed away after a freak accident at this event last year.
His parents Liam and Nora presented the Eoin McCarthy Memorial Cup to the winners of the Junior 1000 section of the rally.
The Junior 1000 class was introduced into the Sligo Pallets Motorsport Ireland National Forestry Rally Championship a few years ago. It allows 14-to18 years the chance to compete on stage rallies, in limited capacity 1000cc cars while adult navigators drive the road sections.
PHOTO BY CIAN DON
There is always a Kerry connection, and 17-year-old Jack Kennedy from Wexford won the category and the Eoin McCarthy Memorial Cup after a rally-long battle with Tommy Moffet.
Just 1.4 seconds separated the drivers entering the final stage near Mount Eagle, but the Wexford driver set the fastest time over the 10km test to win the category by 5.4 seconds.
Kennedy’s grandfather Peter is from the Knockane area of Annascaul.
He left West Kerry in the late 1960s, first for England before eventually settling in Wexford. His brothers Pat and Dan are still in Annascaul while a third brother, Jerry, lives in Tralee.
This was Jack’s first win in the category after finishing fourth in the championship last season.
A tearful Liam McCarthy presented the trophy to the youngster at the finish in Castleisland on Sunday evening.
“We were on our way home last year when we got the word, Jack burst into tears after realising something like this can happen,” explained his father Mark.
“It was a huge surprise for Jack, we did not know there was going to be a trophy. It must give some comfort to the family that Eoin is remembered this way.”
The top all-local crew in the rally was Diarmuid Lynch and Eleanor Looney.
The Ford Escort team overcame throttle linkage problems to finish 40th overall and second in class 13.
They won the James O’Rourke Memorial Trophy, presented by the O’Rourke family from Brosna in memory of James who died in a road traffic accident while returning from a forestry rally in Cork about 20 years ago.
This was only Eleanor’s third rally as a co-driver.
Other locals to do well include Cordal co-driver Denny Greaney. He guided Limerick driver PJ O’Connor to a Class 4 win in their Mitsubishi Lancer E9. They are the current class 4 National Forestry class champions so got their title defence off to a perfect start.
Rathmore schoolteacher Declan Casey and his driver Hugh McQuaid won the overall Two-wheel driver rally.
Mike O’Donoghue and Padraig Dineen were third in this class 4 in a similar Mitsubishi to that of O’Connor and Greaney.
London-based Shane Buckley guided Tipperary driver Casey Jay Coleman to second in class 2 in what was their first time working together.
Colin Nelligan, from Knocknagoshel, finished second in class 9 in his Suzuki Swift.
Event sponsor Cyril Wharton and co-driver Donal Falvey had to rely on SuperRally rules to get to the finish after the turbo failed in their Subaru on their road section to the opening stage.
The rally was run to raise funds for the Irish Community Air Ambulance and was jointly sponsored by Wharton Tool Hire and Castleisland Tyre Centre.
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