It was a mixed weekend for Monaghan crews last weekend on round 9 of the Dunlop National Rally Championship, the Oakwood Arms Hotel Clare Stages Rally. The event proved very challenging as the nine stages pushed crews to their limits. Shane Maguire and Stephen Thornton took their Mitsubishi Evo 9 to yet another Group N victory, the Ballinode man had to fight off competition from local rival Josh Moffett and John Rowan as well as Paul Kiely and Eugene Donelly. The Monaghan man led championship rival Josh Moffett and John Rowan on the opening test with Gary Kiernan and Niall Tierney, in Sam Moffett’s Evo 9 taking third. Role reversal for Paul Kiely as he had multiple Tarmac Champion Eugene Donnelly on the notes, they lay fourth after stage 1. On the second test Moffett managed to overhaul Maguire to lead by 3.5 seconds but a puncture on the stage three dropped them to last in class over three minutes off the lead. The second loop saw Maguire extend his lead once again but Kiernan was not letting him run away with the lead and remained within 40 seconds off the Monaghan man with Kiely in third. Josh Moffett called it a day after the second loop of stages with an oil leak forcing him into retirement. Maguire held the lead over the last three stages but had to battle a turbo issue to take the win but it was heartbreak for Gary Kiernan as the Cavan driver retired from second in Group N and ninth overall on the final stage. Maguire and Thornton won Group N by 1 minute and 53.6 seconds from Paul Kiely and Eugene Donnelly with Gary Cairns and Justin Coyle a further 8.6 seconds behind. Maguire heads into the final round in Donegal knowing a top ten finish overall will secure him and Stephen Thornton the 2014 Dunlop National Group N title.
In the modified section it was Richard Moffett and Martin Connelly who took the win by 33.8 seconds over Ed O’Callaghan and Gerard Clancy. After a disrupted stage 1 Moffett went on the attack on stage 2, to finish the test second in the modifieds and seventh overall. Heading into the first service the Starlet driver remained second behind O’Callaghan by 16 seconds. All was to change on stage 6 when O’Callaghan hit trouble. Moffett took advantage and inherited first place leading second placed Frank Kelly by 11.8 seconds. Heading into the final loop Kelly managed to snatch the lead but mechanical failure forced him into retirement on the last stage. Moffett and Connolly took the win by 33.8 seconds from O’Callaghan.
Elsewhere it was a tough day for Monaghan crews. Sam Moffett and James O’Reilly entered the event in Gary Kiernan’s Mk2 Escort but crashed out on stage 1. Niall Maguire was making a welcome return to rallying with Enda Sherry on the notes but clutch problems ruled him out on stage 1. Michael Carbin and Emmett McCooey were leading class 20 but retired on stage 4.
The event was won by Declan and Brian Boyle in their subaru, followed by Hugh Hunter and Andy Marchbank, also in a subaru. Roy White and James O’Brien took their MG ZR rover home to 3rd overall.
Appreciation Night for Daniel McKenna and Arthur Kierans
An appreciation night will be held in honour of the 2014 British Rally Champions Daniel McKenna and Arthur Kierans this Saturday night, the 27th of September. The event will be held outside the courthouse in Monaghan Town at 7.30 p.m. A number of dignitaries from the motorsport world will be in attendance as well as the Citroen DS3 that took the Monaghan crew to the BRC title. The night will filmed and will be presented by Sean McCaffery. Make sure and come out for an unforgettable night!
Monaghan Night Navigation Trial
Monaghan motor club will kickstart the night navigation season on Saturday week next, 4th October. CoC’s for the event are Michael McCluskey and Keith McConnon with headquarters in the Corduff GFC complex. Regulations and entry forms are available from motor club website on http://www.monaghanmotorclub.net and entries must be with event secretary Paul Hughes before 2nd October. As always marshals are in short supply so if you are available on the night please contact any committee member and be in Corduff GFC complex for 7.30 on Saturday 4th October.