Maiden Win for McConnan/McCluskey

Posted: March 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


South Monaghan crew Keith McConnan/Micheal McCluskey took a dominant victory on last Saturday’s Navigation Trial. The Novice pairing finished over 30 penalties clear of their nearest rivals which secured them their first outright event win. The event was the final round of both the National & Border Night Navigation Championships.

Defending Gary Nesbitt Club Champions, Laurence Keenan & Ashley McAdoo were COC & ACOC respectively. The pair organised a brilliant 100 mile route through the Lough Egish, Shantonagh, Corduff and Magheracloone areas. The big trick of the night would be on the first SRS. After a plot & bash section the shortest route to the next timepoint passed through the ITC again. All bar one crew would double visit the check resulting in 30 penalty marks being applied to each offender. Eventual winners, Keith McConnan/Micheal McCluskey were the only crew to avoid the double visit at the ITC and by the petrol halt they held a commanding lead on a clean sheet. Colin Duffy/Sam Johnston & Pakie Duffy/Evin Hughes held equal 2nd overall on 31 penalties apiece.

The second half was a tighter affair with the section from TP35 to TP47 being particularly challenging. This also incorporated a Plot & Bash section which would catch the majority of crews out. McConnan/McCluskey held their nerve dropping just three penalties to maintain the lead. Pakie Duffy/Evin Hughes moved into a clear 2nd place on 36 penalties with Andy Mackarel/Conor Maguire moving up to 3rd place on 42 penalties. A wrong departure at TP46 dropped Duffy/Johnston to 4th overall but they were still on course to secure the Border Championship.

The leaderboard remained unchanged over the final few timepoints allowing McConnan/McCluskey to secure a well-deserved maiden win. In the Expert class Pakie Duffy/Evin Hughes took the win from Mackarel/Maguire & Duffy/Johnston. Cork’s Dermot Whelton/Mark McCarthy took the Semi-Expert class win from Joe Friel/Eoghan McCarthy & Eoghan Corr/Darragh Kelly. Derek Mackarel/Seamus McTigue won the Novice class from Mark. Deery/Patrick O’Leary and Johnny Casey/Patrick O’Sullivan. Ciaran Sheridan/Conor Boylan dominated the Beginner’s class and finished an excellent 6th overall to the embarrassment of many of the more experienced crews. Colm Mohan/Conor Mohan took another fine result with 2nd in class with Paddy Sherlock/Oisin Sherlock coming home in 3rd.

That’s the final Navigation Trial until October. Pakie Duffy/Evin Hughes have won the National Championship and Colin Duffy/Sam Johnston have retained their Border title. Details on the prizegiving for each championship will be released in the coming weeks. The next round of the Monaghan Traders Club Championship will be the Stages Rally on April 26th.

Moffett/McKenna take 2nd on Donegal Forestry


Josh Moffett made the switch from his Fiesta WRC and Tarmac to his Group A Lancer and Gravel inside a week to compete on last Saturday’s Donegal Forestry Rally. The event was the second round of the Irish Forestry Rally Championship. Josh also switched navigator to his usual forestry co-driver Jason McKenna. The pair were on the pace from the start moving from 4th to 2nd overall as the day progressed. They eventually finished 2nd, just 7.1 seconds behind overall winner Andrew Purcell.

Michael Conlon/Ciaran McPhillips finished as the top two wheel drive finishers for the 2nd consecutive event. The pair were involved in a close battle with Antrim’s David Crossan and actually started the final stage tied on equal times. When Crossan’s Escort got stuck in 4th gear, Conlon/McPhillips sealed the two wheel drive honours and 5th overall. Michael McGinn guided Fermanagh’s Damien McGauren to 10th overall and 3rd in class 13 in his Corolla. Derek Mackarel/Mark Deery finished 16th overall and 2nd in the Junior class in their Nova, continuing their fine start to the year. Out of luck were Enda McNulty/Paul Sheridan who retired from 5th place on stage 3. The next round of the Irish Forestry Rally Championship is the Moonraker Forestry Rally in Ballyvourney, Cork on April 12th.

Midland Stages Rally


The Triton Showers National Rally Championship continues with the Midland Stages Rally on Sunday next 29th March.  The nine stage event will be based out of Roscommon and it has attracted a full entry plus reserves. Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry are the top Monaghan seeds at No.5 and will be hoping to continue their early season form. Damien Connolly is navigating for Peader Hurson at No.8. Gary McPhillips/Paul Sheridan are at No.16, Shane Maguire/Stephen Thornton at 21, Arthur Kierans navigating for Simon Chapman at 29, Michael Carbin/Emmet McCooey are at 33 and David Moffett/Fintan Sherry are No.38. The other Monaghan entries are Jim McKenna/Thomas Treanor, Jack Maguire/Andy Hayes, Seamus Connolly/Gary McCrudden, Barry Treanor/Gregory McQuillan, Johno Doogan/Padraig Doogan  and Martin McPhillips/Ciaran Tynan. Paul Crosby/Martin Swinburne and Stefan McCann/Stephen McElroy are entered in the Junior class. Full Report next week.

Circuit of Ireland Marshals


As a counting round of the European Rally Championship, the Circuit of Ireland Rally has attracted a bumper entry of International drivers for the 2 day event at Easter. Marshal Reward Packs available and a training course has been arranged on 30th March at 8pm in Lisburn Civic Centre. Those available to help out on either Friday 3rd or Saturday 4th April are asked to contact Paul on 086-2571401.


Upcoming Events:

April 3rd-4th Circuit of Ireland Rally

April 12th Munster Forestry Rally

April 19th Circuit of Kerry Rally

April 26th Monaghan Stages Rally

May 2nd-3rd Killarney International Rally


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