Moffett & McKenna Master Monaghan Again

Posted: April 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Josh Moffett & Jason McKenna made it back to back wins with victory on last weekend’s Monaghan Stages Rally. The pair led the event from start to finish coming home well ahead of the opposition. As in 2015, Josh’s closest challenger was his brother Sam. However, Sam & co-driver, James Fulton were always going to struggle in their R5 specification Fiesta compared to Josh’s WRC version. It didn’t stop them from trying though but they had to settle for 2nd place. Niall Maguire & Enda Sherry completed the podium positions after another solid run on their home event.

It was Moffett/McKenna who set the pace on the opening 16.40km Tydavnet stage. They were eight seconds clear of Moffett/Fulton with Maguire/Sherry a further four seconds adrift. A light shower of rain had left some slippy patches which could catch out the unwary. Jonathan Pringle/Alan Keena set a scorching time to lead the two wheel drive cars in 4th overall. Moffett/Fulton were fastest on the short, technical second stage but Moffett/McKenna were unbeatable over the fast flowing third stage at Ballinode.

The leaderboard at first service read Moffett/McKenna, Moffett/Fulton + 14.3 seconds, Maguire/Sherry + 32.2 seconds, Stephen Wright/Fintan Sherry + 51.8 seconds and Pringle/Keena + 54.7 seconds. There was drama in the two wheel drive race when Chris Armstrong & Chris Melly went off over the finish line of stage two and were forced to retire. Less than 20 seconds separated the top six two wheel drive cars which showed just how close the battle for supremacy was. Shane Maguire/Mac Kierans were out in front in the Group N class, opening a 20 second lead over their class rivals.

The top three positions remained unchanged over the second loop of the stages. Moffett/McKenna were fastest on each stage to extend their lead to 25.9 seconds. Jonathan Pringle/Alan Keena climbed to 4th ahead of Wright/Sherry who were a solid 5th overall. Dessie Keenan/Conor Foley retired after going off on stage 4 leaving hard-charging Ryan Loughran/Leon Jordan 6th overall with Gary McPhillips/Paul Sheridan breathing down their necks. Maguire/Kierans maintained a comfortable Group N lead. Richard Moffett/Martin Connolly were making their first appearance in a Skoda Fabia but their event came to an end on the last corner of stage six.

The final loop resulted in no major changes at the top. Moffett/McKenna reeled off three further fastest times to secure a 2nd successive Monaghan win. Moffett/Fulton had a great run to 2nd place in their R5 specification Fiesta.  Maguire/Sherry had a solid run to 3rd overall, Niall getting the opportunity to rally past his own home this year! Pringle/Keena took a superb victory in the two wheel drive battle. The reigning Border Champions were 30 seconds clear of their nearest rival. Stephen Wright/Fintan Sherry took 5th overall and 1st in class 5. Gary McPhillips/Paul Sheridan were glad to see the finish of their home event for the first time in six years! They came home 6th overall after edging Ryan Loughran/Leon Jordan by just 1 second! Loughran was unlucky to lose a few seconds at the scene of Dessie Keenan’s demise. Vivian Hamill/Andrew Grennan, Adrian Hetherington/Ronan O’Neill and Damien Toner/Denver Rafferty completed the top 10, all in class 14 Mk2 Escorts.

Local Performances

David Moffett, with new navigator Ciaran Geaney, finished 12th overall and 2nd in class 13. Michael Carbin/Darragh Kelly brought their Lancer to 14th overall and 1st in class 20 showing their prowess on tarmac as well as on gravel. Michael Conlon/Ciaran McPhillips also switched surfaces to take 15th overall and 4th in class 13. Raymond Conlon/Darren McCague were right behind in 16th overall and 5th in class 13. Shane Maguire/Mac Kierans took 17th overall and 1st in class 4. Roscommon- based Monaghan man, Patrick Brides guided US-based Paul Rowley to 20th overall and 2nd in class 5.

Gerard McQuaid/Gary Quinlan finished 21st overall and 8th in class 13. Seamus Connolly/Gary McCrudden took 23rd overall and 1st in class 11R. Reigning Club Champion Damien Connolly guided Liam Bowhan to 25th overall and 10th in class 13. Barry Treanor/Colm Connolly finished 26th overall and 2nd in class 11R. Martin & Declan Tynan took their Lancer to 30th overall and 1st in class 15. Robert Moffett/Niall Tierney were 31st overall and 3rd in class 5 completing a great weekend for the Combilift Rally Team. Damien & Stephen Hagan enjoyed their run in the Daniel McKenna Mk2. They took 32nd overall and 7th in class 14.

James McCarville/Emmet Sherry flew through to 34th overall and 4th in class 11R. Martin McPhillips/Ciaran Tynan secured 37th overall and 5th in class 11R. Gary Cassidy/Paul Kelly came home 50th overall and 2nd in class 11F on Gary’s first event. John & Niall Kelly took class 10 honours and 55th overall. Kevin Treanor guided Gerard Corey to 57th overall and 4th in class 12. Father & son team, Gerry & Gavin McGivney took their Escort to 62nd overall and 14th in class 13. Jack McKenna guided Terence McCabe to 72nd overall and 12th in class 11R. Declan Connolly/Raphael McCaughey finished 78th overall and 4th in class 9. Donal Crossan/Ciaran Marron also made the finish after running under Rally 2 regulations.

Martin Swinburne/Gretchen Fegan took 2nd place in the Junior Rally which was contested over the final six stages of the event, while Shane Cassidy/Calum Maguire took 4th overall in their Honda Civic.

Retirements

There was disappointment for the following Monaghan crews who failed to make the finish: Dessie Keenan/Conor Foley, Richard Moffett/Martin Connolly, Conor Harvey/Arthur Kierans, Barry McKenna/Evin Hughes, Gerard McFall/Matthew McKenna, Vincent McAree/Andrew Spears, Steven Corey/Declan McKenna, Cathal McGlone/Michael Sheridan, David Smyth/Johnny Rooney, Patrick Corey/Damien McKenna, Sean McCaul/Frank Clerkin, Brendan Treanor/Emmet McCooey, Padraig Connolly/Kaine Treanor, Mark Deery/Peter Deery and Johnny Treanor/Stephen McElroy.

Acknowledgments

At the well-attended prizegiving in the Hillgrove Hotel on Sunday evening, Clerk of the Course Brendan Flynn thanked all who helped make the event such a success. He thanked the residents along the route for their welcome, co-operation and support. Over 200 marshals lined the rally route during the course of the day and they received a special word of thanks a well as the Civil Defence personnel who worked long hours during the event. He had special mention for Monaghan County Council and Monaghan Municipal District who have helped the club to promote and facilitate the rally, which continues to grow in stature. He thanked An Garda Siochana for their help and assistance over the course of the weekend. Their presence was very evident in ensuring that traffic continued to flow despite the heavy volume. There was a final word of thanks to the team at the Hillgrove Hotel for their support, once again ensuring that the Monaghan Stages Rally was another resounding success.

 

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