McNulty & Kiely win 2011 Hillgrove Hotel Stages Rally

Posted: April 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

Monaghan Motor club ran  its  biggest event of the year with the Hillgrove Hotel Monaghan Stages Rally
on Sunday last 17th April and what a day it was. Months of  preparation for Clerk of the Course Conor Maguire and his many helpers came to  a head when a sun- drenched mid-Monaghan came to life with the sound of some of  the best rally cars in the country with 138 cars taking to the stages in style.
There was to be a close battle at the front but it was Meath’s Tim McNulty and Sligo’s Paul Kiely in a Subaru S12B who brushed off the  challenge from Ballinode’s Niall Maguire and Enda Sherry in an older
specification Subaru to take their first Monaghan win. The victors had a 43  second advantage after 9 stages totalling almost 110 stage miles. Dublin’s  Robert Barrable with Monaghan man Damian Connolly had a fabulous drive to take  the 3rd podium spot in their Skoda Fabia S2000. Cork’s Darragh ’Riordan/Tony McDaid finished 4th ahead of Daniel McKenna and Andrew Grennan who rounded
off the top 5 and claimed the two wheel drive category in the process.

Conditions  couldn’t have been more favourable from an organiser’s point of view, with the  sheer volume of spectators testament to the high regard this annual event is  held. However the dry conditions also took their toll on a number of cars with  just 79 finishers. There were 23 casualties on the first loop of three tages  alone. McNulty led the event from the start, pulling out a 14sec lead after the  first stage and setting fastest times on 6 of the 9 stages with Maguire taking  2 fastest stage times and Barrable fastest on stage 7 by 4 seconds. The two  wheel drive battle was intense with Tydavnet’s Gary McPhillips and Mark Tierney
having a slender advantage over Daniel McKenna after the first 3 stages but  that was where his challenge would end as the dry conditions finally took its  toll on Gary’s  engine as it cried enough over the finish line of ss3. This left Daniel McKenna  well out in front in the race for two wheel drive honours and he duly  0bliged  with some fantastic stage times to finish inside the top 5 with Wesley  Patterson his closest rival back in 14th and Donegal’s Declan and  Eoin Gallagher 3rd in 15th overall.

There  were many fine battles for class honours throughout the day with Donegal’s  Stephen Bradley taking class 2 honours in a Honda Civic. There was one finisher  in class 3 as another Donegal man Stirling Taylor survived the elements to  bring his Civic home to a class win. The group N production cars running in class
4 were next up and some great individual drives here as Barrable’s 3rd  overall result promoted Sam  Moffett and James O’Reilly to a class win and 8th o/a in their EVO with a 53second victory over Balinode’s Shane Maguire and  Charlie McEnery in his Impreza although Shane had to contend with differential  and brake problems throughout the day. There was only 1 finisher in class 5 as  Donegal’s Shane Timony made the finish ramp in his Ford Puma. Class 6 had 7  finishers with the Citroen C2R2s making up the bulk of them. Dublin’s Peter Barrable took a 20 second  class win ahead of Rodger Donnan in a Puma with the Citroens of Samantha Thom  and Sean Agnew 3rd and 4th respectively. Monaghan’s  Jonathan McKenna finished 5th with David Smith and Austin Hamill 6th in class, both in Peugeot 106s. The latter ran into difficulties on the first  stage to end their hopes of crystal early on. Class 7 saw Peter Taylor in a Clio
finish just over a minute ahead of Cavan’s Cathal and Gerard O’Reilly. With McNulty and Maguire in the overall awards it was  Cork’s Daragh  O’Riordan/Tony McDaid who lifted the class 8 award 32 seconds ahead of Adrian  McElvaney and Paul Kelly with the Triton Showers-backed Impreza of Kevin
Barrett and Sean Mullally 3rd in class . The super quick Mini of Lloyd  Hutchinson/Kevin Flanagan took class 9 honours ahead of Cootehill’s Damian  O’Reilly and Gene Mc Donald with Pa Bellew 3rd, both in Escorts.  There were only 2 finishers out of 11 starters in class 10 as Aaron McQuaid and
Aidan Coyle’s persistence finally paid off on the Monaghan Stages as they  brought their Escort home to a convincing win ahead of Sean and Fintan Sherry. Class  11 featured 13 finishers with the brother and sister pairing of Darren and  Nicola McKenna having what could be considered their best result to date with a
29 second victory over Peter Wilson and Karen Kelly, but more importantly were also  21st overall for their efforts. Other Monaghan men to make the  finish ramp were Jim McKenna and Thomas Treanor in 4th, Martin  McPhilips 6th in his twin cam while Damian Sherry and Janice  Mackarel rode their luck, running out of petrol at the service in control to  eventually finish 8th in class. David Smith and John G Hamill
finished 10th. With 7 finishers out of a possible 10 in class 12 it  was Arthur and Macartan Kierans who led the way with a 36 second lead from  James Cassidy with Noel O’Donnell 3rd in a 205. After the disappointment of 2010 it’s probably fair to say this was a sweet victory for  these men on their home turf.

The ever competitive class 13 didn’t disappoint as Donegal’s Declan and Eoin Gallagher had a massive push on all day to take a  minute and 16 second win from Tyrone’s Aidan Caldwell with Threemilehouse man  Damian Hagan 3rd, a further 7 seconds in arrears but still 20th  overall showing that they weren’t hanging about either. Raymond Conlon finished  6th in class and 29th overall. The powerful Escorts of
class 14 were next up as the Scotshouse/Aghabog duo of Daniel Mc Kenna and  Andrew Grennan in the Scanbitz Escort took advantage of McPhilips’ dismay to  take an incredible 5 minute win from Wesley Patterson with Damian Gallagher and  Mac Walsh 3rd. Class 15 had 2 finishers as Cork’s Liam McCarthy took  their Corolla home with a class win and 9th overall with Monaghan’s  Cathal McGlone 2nd in class 15.

The  Monaghan Junior Stages Rally took in the final 6 stages of the main event and  it was number 1 seeds David Moffett and Patrick Brides who didn’t disappoint,  taking a 50 second win in their immaculate starlet ahead of Christopher Snow  with Justin Smyth and Gregory McQuillan showing great pace on their maiden  voyage on tarmac to finish 3rd, despite only having 1st,  2nd and 5th gear for the final two stages. Castleblaney’s  Johno and Padraig Duggan failed to finish the junior event after setting some  good stage times early on. The all-female team of Claire McAree with Laura  Moffett calling the notes hit trouble early on with electrical difficulties  forcing them over their time limit, effectively removing them from the final
results but did manage a finish and looked to be going very steady throughout  the day.

Unfortunately  not everyone competing had as good a day with 49 crews failing to make the  finish of the event for one reason or another. The title of first casualty of  the day must surely go to Kieran McCarra (Bilko) and Mark Hamill as they broke  a drive shaft while warming tyres at the control to the start of stage 1.  Reigning Border champions Declan and Brian Boyle over stepped the mark on stage  1 ending their challenge in the hedge. Emyvale’s John McQuaid was stopped on  ss2 while Michael Conlon and Aidan Boyle broke a strut after a heavy landing on  ss2 following relay switch problems on ss1. Mac McKenna and John Loughran’s  charge came to an end as an excursion to the scenery resulted in a broken  window screen and oil cooler while lying high up in the overall rankings.  Richard Moffett and Martin Connolly had a close shave with a tree resulting in  2 punctures, thus ending their day after putting up some impressive times.  Jack Maguire and Emmett Sherry’s day came to  a sudden stop on stage 3 when they hit a bank . Monaghan Motor Club extends  best wishes to Jack for a speedy recovery. Andy Mackarel and Richard Cassidy’s  day ended on ss 8 with a broken differential not far from Andy’s house while  the Tynans also left their luck at home as Michael and Declan stopped on ss4  with clutch trouble and Martin and Ciaran were forced to retire on ss8 with  engine abnormalities. Josh Moffett and Domhall Lennon retired in service as  their engine also cried enough. Adrian Fox and Ciaran McPhillips couldn’t have  timed their retirement any better as their engine ceased on Ciaran’s front  doorstep! Michael Carbin and Evin Hughes’ day ended on ss6 as the wee Peugeot  engine gave up the ghost while pushing for the class lead. Barry Treanor and  Colm Connolly failed to make first service while Joe Shrimpton and Ciaran  Geaney put their C2R2 off the road on ss8 also. Cathal Sheridan didn’t make first service either  while Barry and Jason McKenna’s immaculate Escort dropped a valve on the first  loop. Ryan and Gary McKenna along with Donal Crossan and Damian McCabe also  succumbed to the dry grippy conditions with mechanical woes. Conor Foley  encountered head gasket trouble while Ryan Loughran who had James McCarville on
the notes picked up 2 punctures to end their day. Other Monaghan men who also  failed to finish include Ciaran Marron in an EVO, Ballybay’s Paddy Connolly and  Stephen McElroy along with Paddy O’Reilly and Steven Rushe. The travelling Welsh  brigade didn’t bring much luck with them either. Washington James picked up 2  punctures, forcing their retirement, with John Stone in a Skoda Fabia visiting  the scenery at the start of stage 5 while Mark Jasper pulled in at the end of  ss3 with mechanical trouble in his Hyundai Accent.

So that’s the story from the 2011 Hillgrove Hotel Monaghan Stages Rally. Well done
to all finishers and award winners, to the CoC Conor Maguire and his team on running a safe and enjoyable event for both competitor and spectator. Conor thanked everyone for their dedicated efforts and assistance to make this event happen with such great success: “I extend thanks to Monaghan County
and Town Councils who have helped the club to promote and facilitate this event, which has grown greatly over the past number of years. I would like to thank An Garda Siochana for their help and assistance over the course of this event. Their presence was very evident as traffic through the town and surrounding areas flowed seamlessly under their guidance – again many thanks.
To all the residents along the route we thank you for your welcome, co-operation and support to help make this rally one of the best supported and largest in the country. To all the many doctors, ambulances, fire ervice and civil defence personnel who worked long hours during the event, we extend a warm thanks for all this great assistance. Over 300 marshals lined the rally route during the course of the day and they deserve a special note of thanks, as their role is very demanding, as they had to organise the vast numbers of spectators from early morning to evening. Special thanks must go to the entire organizing committee and their teams who have worked tirelessly on this event over recent weeks and months. Indeed a special word of thanks to you all for supporting my role as COC over the past 4 years, and as always it has been a
pleasure working with you. Your dedicated efforts ensure this event runs smoothly and this was very oticeable on Sunday past. Finally a special word of thanks must go to the Hillgrove Hotel. The Hillgrove Hotel has been the main sponsor of the event over many years now and provides excellent facilities to
the club for the running of one of Monaghan’s largest sporting events each year. To Colm & Audrey Herron and their efficient staff, we extend our thanks once again.” As a result of the efforts of all, the Monaghan  tages Rally was another resounding success.

Top 10 overall:-

1/ Tim McNulty/Paul Kiely (Impreza WRC) 87m 48s,

2/ Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Impreza WRC) 88m 31s,

3/ Robert Barrable/Damien Connolly (Skoda Fabia
S2000) 88m 56s,

4/ Daragh O’Riordan/Tony McDaid (Impreza WRC) 89m

5/ Daniel McKenna/Andrew Grennan (Escort) 89m 38s,

6/ Adrian McElvaney/Paul Kelly (Impreza WRC) 89m 50s,

7/ Kevin Barrett/Sean Mullally (Impreza WRC) 90m 32s,

8/ Sam Moffett/James O’Reilly (Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 92m

9/ Liam McCarthy/Denis O’Mahony (Corolla WRC) 92m

10/ Shane Maguire/Charlie McEnery (Impreza Gp N) 93m 07s.

Motorsport Safety Team Group N Production class:

1/ Robert Barrable/Damien Connolly,

2/ Sam Moffett/James O’Reilly,

3/ Shane Maguire/Charlie McEnery. Two wheel drive class:

1/  Daniel
McKenna/Andrew Grennan

2/ Wesley Patterson/Martin McGarrity (Escort) 94m

3/ Declan Gallagher/Eoin Gallagher (Starlet) 94m


1/ David Moffett/Patrick Brides (Starlet) 65m 16s,

2/ Christopher Snow/Jonathan Treanor (Civic) 66m 06s,

3/ Justin Smyth/Gregory McQuillan (Escort) 70m 44s.

Post event Rally Video Show

Don’t forget to come along to the Aghabog GAA centre
tonight, Thursday 21st April at 8pm for the post event video show. Plenty of
action from the rally will be screened including many exciting in-car footage
shots. This is an excellent opportunity to meet and greet the many competitors
in action in the rally and indeed, for the many residents to enjoy the footage
over the entire event. Food and refreshments will be served on the night.


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