Hillgrove Hotel Monaghan Stages Rally is Go!

Posted: April 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

The time is nigh as this weekend brings the spectacle that is the Hillgrove Hotel Monaghan Stages Rally. The culmination of months of planning and dedicated hard work by CoC Conor Maguire and his team comes to a head on Sunday next as the rally departs the Hillgrove Hotel from 9am onwards for round 2 of the Dunlop National Rally Championship and Sligo Pallets Border Rally Championship.

A full entry of 140 cars will see some of the finest examples in the country do battle over the 3 stages run 3 times format, totalling almost 160 km. Stage 1 is a whole new stage running along the main Monaghan/Clones road passing the Bailinode area towards Seloo, approximately 18 km in length, it is considered the fastest stage of the event with straights and sweeping corners. Stage 2 takes in the Killeevan, Magherarney and Greenans Cross areas, again just over 18 km in length, this stage has a mix of everything with tight and testing sections opening to fast flowing straights. Once again this stage will pass the now famous Magherarney junction at the chapel, which is a popular junction for spectators with excellent viewing. Stage 3 visits the Threemilehouse, Corcaghan and Aghabog territory and is the longest stage of the event at just over 19 km. This too is a testing stage with some very tight sections leading to open fast flowing roads. Yet again the latter half of this stage passes the very popular Aghabog complex junction towards the finish with some good vantage points also.

            There will be some great individual class battles on the day as classes 2 & 3 sees a host of Civics go head to head while the popular class 4 has no fewer than 17 entries, all group N Evos and Imprezas. Colm Murphy and Don Montgomery will head this class at No 8 with notable names such as Brendan Cumiskey 19, Sam Moffett  20, Shane Maguire  21, Stuart Darcey and Donegal’s Trevor Bustard all capable of achieving class awards amongst others. Martin and Ciaran Tynan along with Josh Moffett and Domhall Lennon are running at 65 and 66 respectively in this class in there newly acquired EVOs and would probably hope to be on the pace towards the end of the day as they get acquainted with their new cars. Class 6 sees Sean Agnew and Seamus Connolly in a C2R2 with Dublin’s Peter Barrable behind in a similar car with Joe Shrimpton and Ciaran Geaney at 78 also in a C2R2. They are closely followed by Monaghan’s David Smith and Austin Hamill at 80 in a 106 with Jonathan McKenna and Matthew Skinnader next up at 81, also in a 106. Once again class 8 looks like a real humdinger with the top 7 entries all listed in WRC spec cars. Ballinode’s Niall Maguire and Enda Sherry are top seeds with Tim McNulty at 2, Kevin Barrett at 3, Derek McGarrity 4, Robert Barrable and Damian Connolly 5 in their S2000 Fabia, Adrian McElvaney and Paul Kelly 6 and Darragh O’Riordan 7, all in WRC Imprezas. Should the conditions suit it would be hard to pick a winner out of this group. Class 9 sees the quick Mini of Lloyd Hutchinson at number 49 followed by Cavan’s Damian Reilly at 103 with Laurance Sherry listed at 122 in his Escort. The ever popular class 10 sees Baileboro’s Paul Clarke lead off a host of  Monaghan crews with Adrian Fox making a return to the stages at 74, Michael Carbin and Evin Hughes slot in at 76 with Barry Treanor and Colm Connolly at 77, both in 205s with Aaron McQuaid at 82 and Cathal Sheridan at 83. These men are sure to have a great battle throughout the day. Class 11 sees 21 entries with Darren and Nicola McKenna top seeds at 54 ahead of Cootehill’s Mark Wedlock (55) with Corcaghan’s Martin McPhillips 56 and Donegal’s Paul Gallagher at 57. Club members Damian Sherry and Janice Mackarel at 88 are sure to be in the mix along with a host of others, too many to name! Class 12 sees 7 entries with Aghabog’s Arthur and Macartan Kierans top seeds at 40 with James Cassidy at 46 and Noel O Donnell at 47 in a 205. Class 13 has 17 entries with Michael “The Blind Man” Conlon leading off at 35 followed by Damian Hagan at 36 and Raymond Conlon and Darren McCague at 37 with Mac McKenna 38 and Frank Kelly 39. Richard Moffett and Martin Connolly slot in at 43 and are sure to be on the pace following some good stage times in the Midlands recently. Other Monaghan men in contention in this class include Jack Maguire and Emmett Sherry at 52 with Kieran McCarra and Mark Hamill at 58. The ever popular class 14 is sure to provide some spectacular entertainment as top seeds Gary McPhilips and Mark Tierney are at 11, followed by Daniel McKenna and Andrew Grennan at 12, Donegal’s Declan Boyle at 14, Cavan’s Rodney Wilton at 15, Manus Kelly 16 and Wesley Patterson 17, all in immaculate Escorts. Others sure to feature are Trevor Mulligan at 29, Damian Gallagher at 30 and Brian Brogan at 31. Other Monaghan men in this class include John McQuaid at 34 and Paddy O’Reilly at 100. Class 15 accommodates cars out of homologation and includes Cork’s Liam McCarthy at 10 in a Corolla with England’s Mark Jasper at 26 in a Hyundai Accent. Next up are Andy Mackarel and Richard Cassidy at 61 in their EVO 4 followed by Michael and Declan Tynan at 62 in their EVO 5, this being Michael’s first tarmac stages event in 15 odd years. Cathal McGlone slots in at 64 in an Impreza.

            The junior category has approximately 10 entries and is Round 1 of the National Junior Championship. Anthony Finnegan is once again CoC of the Junior Rally, which takes in the final 6 stages of the main rally, an extra stage added this year giving real value for money to these young competitors. Clontibret’s David Moffett with Scotshouse man Patrick Brides on the notes are car J1 in their pristine Starlet followed by Johno Doogan at J2 and Chris Snow at J3. Justin Smyth makes his stages debut with Gregory McQuillan on the notes at J6 whilst an all-female team of Ballinode’s Claire McAree and Clontibret’s Laura Moffett take to the stages in a 206 at J10.

            Service will be in the main car park at St. Peter’s Lake, behind Fleming’s Super Valu throughout the day on Sunday and with large crowds expected to gather. Patrons are urged to exercise extreme caution in the area, especially with children. Parc Feirme will be based at the rear of the Hillgrove on Saturday evening between 3pm and 9pm where you can get a chance to view the spectacle of top cars on show and whilst there, why not call to the Hillgrove and join in the party atmosphere of a rally weekend. Sunday evening will see the finish of the event around 5.30 back at the hotel with prizegiving to follow around 8pm.

            The Clerk of the Course Conor Maguire has appealed to all spectators to obey the marshals at all times. In his statement he added: “Marshals will be briefed on their locations and are best placed to guide spectators to safer and more suitable vantage points. I would urge that spectators stand well back from competing cars and be alert at all times. Please respect your surroundings and ensure that no damage is caused to private property and that all litter is brought home. Finally, I hope you enjoy the event and please join us afterwards in the Hillgrove Hotel for prizegiving.”

Top 25 Seeded Entry List

1/ Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Impreza WRC) 8

2/ Tim McNulty/Paul Kiely (Impreza WRC) 8

3/ Kevin Barrett/Sean Mullally (Impreza WRC) 8

4/ Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Impreza WRC) 8

5/ Robert Barrable/Damian Connolly (Fabia S2000)

6/ Adrian McElvaney/Paul Kelly (Impreza) 8

7/ Daragh O’Riordan/ Tony McDaid (Impreza) 8

8/ Colm Murphy/Don Montgomery (Impreza) 4

9/Seamus Leonard/John McCafferty (Impreza) 8

10/ Liam McCarthy/Dennis O Mohoney (Corolla) 15

11/ Gary McPhillips/Mark Tierney (Escort) 14

12/ Danial McKenna/Andrew Grennan (Escort) 14

14/ Declan Boyle/Brian Boyle (Escort) 14

15/ Rodney Wilton/Conor McMahon (Escort) 14

16/ Manus Kelly/Donall Barrett (Escort) 14

17/ Wesley Patterson/Martin Mc Garrity (Escort) 14

18/ Washington James/TBA (Darrian) 14

19/ Brendan Cumiskey/TBA (Lancer) 4

20/ Sam Moffett/James O’Reilly (EVO) 4

21/ Shane Maguire/Charlie McEnery (Impreza) 4

22/ Stuart Darcy/Eamonn Walsh (EVO 8) 4

23/Thomas Fitzmaurice/Fiona Foley (EVO 9) 4

24/ Trevor Bustard/Kenny Bustard (EVO 9) 4

25/ John Stone/Rob Fagg (Fabia) 8

 Marshal’s Training Night

All marshals willing to help out at this year’s event are kindly asked to attend a short training night tomorrow Friday 15th April in the Hillgrove Hotel Monaghan at 8.00pm sharp. This is necessary to maintain a high standard of safety on our event, which is imperative for the future of the sport. All sector marshals already appointed are expected to attend along with his or her respective teams, as well as anyone else available to marshal on the day. 

  Two Monaghan Crews on Podium at Moonraker

Two Monaghan crews made their long journey to Lismore in Co Waterford worthwhile on Sunday last 10th April. Cousins Vincent and JP McAree finished 2nd overall on Munster Car Club’s Moonraker forestry rally with the brother and sister pairing of Stephen and Suzanne Wright taking 3rd on the podium with a fine drive in their relatively new EVO 6. Winners on the day were Tipperary’s Liam Ryan and Aidan Burke but the McArees pushed them all the way beating the southern pair on three of the eight stages to finish 9 seconds in arrears. The Monaghan duo had to overcome problems throughout the day as they struggled early on with changes in road surface, coupled with a puncture on stage 5 which almost unravelled their challenge. Stephen and Suzanne Wright reported an enjoyable day and their confidence is certainly on the up in this car after some recent good results, a spin on stage 5 their only trouble of the day. Top seeds John Reid and Enda Shields hit trouble on stage 2 dropping almost 6 minutes while Craig Breen and Gareth Roberts finished 5th in their Ford Fiesta.

This result for the McArees leaves them joint leaders of the Valvoline Irish Forestry Championship as they grow in confidence with every event, next round being Donegal in July. Their position in the championship means that they have had to withdraw their entry for their local event, the Monaghan Stages Rally on Sunday next as they set their sights on the forestry championship, but they would like to wish the club the very best of luck on Sunday.

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