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Hillgrove Hotel Stages Rally 2010.

Maguire & Sherry - Monaghan Rally Kings Again


Ballinode’s Niall Maguire & Enda Sherry extended their lead in the Dunlop National Rally Championship after scoring a significant victory over Antrim’s Derek McGarrity/James McKee on their home event, the Hillgrove Hotel Monaghan Stages Rally on Sunday last. After nine challenging stages laid out by Clerk of the Course Conor Maguire and his team, the Monaghan duo were 26 seconds clear of McGarrity/McKee, both crews in WRC Subaru Imprezas. 3rd place, went to visiting Welsh crew Melvyn Evans/Patrick Walsh also driving a Subaru Impreza WRC. Top 2 wheel drive honours went to Rockcorry’s Gary McPhillips/Mark Tierney in their 2.4 litre Mk2 Escort. Clontibret’s Sam Moffett navigated by Domhnall Lennon in a Mitsubishi took victory in the Group N class on a tie-break from Donegal’s Danny McBride & Ambrose Given in a similar car.


It was Maynooth driver Kevin Barrett who set the early pace, snatching a four second lead on the opening stage near Corcaghan. Six time winner Niall Maguire partnered by usual navigator Enda Sherry slotted into an early 2nd place. Scotshouse duo Daniel McKenna/Andrew Grennan were a sensational 3rd overall in their Scanbitz Escort, a mere six seconds off the leaders after a sterling drive through the 20km stage. His nearest two-wheel drive rival Gary McPhillips was six seconds adrift, but his Escort was suffering from a high revving misfire. Stages 2 and 3 saw a major shake-up to the field, with first rally leaders Kevin Barrett/Sean Mullally retiring with a blown head-gasket and then Daniel McKenna/Andrew Grennan retiring with damaged suspension.


Another leading local crew to retire was Maurice Moffett/Jason McKenna, who went off the road after an intercom failure and with so much time lost decided to pull out of the event at service. Niall Maguire & Enda Sherry now took the lead of the event and held a 15 second lead from Melvyn Evans/Patrick Walsh who were rapidly familiarising themselves with the Monaghan Stages.  Gary McPhillips/Mark Tierney continued to hold a magnificent 3rd overall despite their misfire. Derek McGarrity was in 4th place and felt he was on the wrong tyres for the first three stages. Cavan’s Rodney Wilton with Monaghan’s Conor McMahon alongside, completed the top 5.


Derek McGarrity increased his pace considerably on the second loop of stages taking fastest times on stages four and six. His charge moved him up to 2nd place overall, just 17 seconds adrift of Maguire/Sherry with three stages to go. The crews were caught in a heavy rain shower on stage six which made the road very treacherous. Melvyn Evans made it a Subaru 1-2-3 behind the leading duo and was holding on for some solid championship points. Gary McPhillips’ engine was beginning to go a bit better as he changed the plugs on his Escort between stages four and five. He reckoned it did make a big difference as he wasn’t losing as much time as before but was now matching Manus Kelly and Rodney Wilton who were just behind him. He continued to hold a solid fourth place and had a good 30 second advantage over his nearest 2wd rivals. In Group N Danny McBride was setting the pace, but Sam Moffett was closing in going into the final loop of stages.


The pressure was firmly on Maguire & Sherry as McGarrity was eyeing a third straight win after his Circuit of Ireland and Circuit of Kerry victories. Maguire was equal to McGarrity’s challenge as they set equal times on stage seven. On stage eight, Niall really pulled out the stops to take 7 seconds out of McGarrity and added a further two seconds on the final stage to take a well merited 26 second victory. This was Niall’s 7th Monaghan victory and for navigator Enda Sherry it was his 4th consecutive overall win as a navigator. This result extends their lead in the National Championship and strongly bolsters Niall’s hopes of winning a 4th National title. Melvyn Evans & Patrick Walsh made their trip from Wales pay off with a fine 3rd place finish.


Gary McPhillips/Mark Tierney were the top 2wd finishers for the 4th year in a row and equalled their 4th place overall finish of last year. Gary expressed thanks to his sponsors Maurice Grahams Building Suppliers, Westenra Hotel, JMC Wholesales,
Sawyers Transport, Windy City Comfort and McElvaney Waste & Recycling Ltd. The car was expertly serviced by Francis, Paul, Ian and Aiden. Their main rivals on the day Rodney Wilton/Conor McMahon retired on the final loop, so Donegal’s Manus Kelly/Donal Barrett were second 2wd car and 5
th overall. Strabane brothers, John & James Cairns finished 6th overall in their GrpA Subaru. Sam Moffett & Donal Lennon snatched Group N honours on the very last stage on a tie-break from day long leader Danny McBride. Seamus O’Connell/Sean Magee and Brian Brogan/Damien McGettigan completed the top 10 finishers.


Top 10:

1st (1) Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Impreza WRC) 1.22.12
2nd (3) Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Impreza WRC) 1.22.38
3rd (4) Melvyn Evans/Patrick Walsh (Impreza WRC) 1.23.10
4th (5) Gary McPhillips/Mark Tierney (Escort Mk2) 1.24.49
5th (8) Manus Kelly/Donal Barrett (Escort Mk2) 1.25.25
6th (11) John Cairns/James Cairns (Impreza) 1.26.36
7th (46) Sam Moffett / Domhnall Lennon (Lancer N) 1.27.26
th  (19) Danny MacBride / Ambrose Given (Lancer N) 1.27.26
9th (14) Seamus O’Connell/ Sean Magee (Escort Mk2) 1.27.31
10th (16) Brian Brogan/Damien McGettigan (Escort Mk2) 1.27.57


Local crews:

Jim McKenna/Thomas Treanor finished in 13th place overall and 2nd in class 11 after a day long battle with Peter Wilson/Seamus Cooke. A slight excursion on stage six cost a few vital seconds which may have cost them the class on the day but this crew should be very happy with their pace on their first event this year. John McQuaid/Seamus O’Conner finished 16th overall and 6th in class 14 in their Mk2 Escort with Damien Hagan/Fiona Boa just behind in 17th overall and 2nd in class 13, despite a last stage puncture. Mac McKenna/John Loughren took their Peugeot 205 to 18th overall and 3rd in class 13 with Gerry Smyth/Gregory McQuillan finishing 21st overall and taking an impressive win in class 12. Niall Connolly guided Shane McGirr to 23rd overall and 4th in class 11 with Damien Toner/Paddy McCague 24th overall and 7th in class 14.


Defending club champion Andy Mackarel partnered by Richard Cassidy came home in 25th place overall and 1st in class 15 in his Evo. Martin McPhillips with Fermanagh’s Martin McGarritty on the notes finished 27th overall and 5th in class 11 in their Toyota Corolla. David Smith/Austin Hamill took their Peugeot 106 to 2nd in class 6 and 35th overall. Hot on their heels were Martin Tynan/Ciaran Tynan in 3rd in class 6 and 36th overall. John Kelly & Adrian Flynn finished a fine 2nd in class 10 and 37th overall after another successful days rallying. Gerard McQuaid/Gary Quinlan were next home in 38th place overall and 7th in class 11. Vincent & JP McAree finished their home event in 41st place overall and 5th in class 4. Josh Moffett/Damien McPhillips finished their first Monaghan rally together in 42nd place and 4th in class 6.


Michael Conlon/Aiden Boyle overcame numerous problems to finish 45th overall and 8th in class 13. Aaron McQuaid/Aiden Coyle finished 3rd in class 10 and 50th overall in their Mk2 Escort. Jonathan McKenna/Sean McMeel were just behind in 51st overall and 5th in class 6. Shane Maguire/Paul Kelly endured a difficult day to finish well down in 52nd overall and 6th in class 4. Conor Foley/Brendan Cumiskey swapped seats for the event and they brought their venerable Mk1 Escort to 54th overall and 4th in class 10. Mark Slowey/Gerard McKenna took their hired Escort to 61st overall and 5th in class 9, despite road penalties. Michael Carbin/Barry Garvey were 64th overall and 5th in class 10 and but for a two minute road penalty could have been as high as 3rd in class. Sean Agnew/Seamus Connolly were 8th in class 6 and 67th overall while 6th in class 10 went to Sean Sherry/Fintan Sherry in 72nd overall.


Brendan McAree/Paul Fitzpatrick took 76th overall and 9th in class 6. Barry McKenna/Raymond Knox returned to the stags and finished 77th overall and 11th in class 13 after a difficult days rallying. 78th overall went to David & Stephen Smith in their Toyota Corolla, who were also 9th in class 11. Martin Connolly guided Dubliner Peter Barrable to 89th overall and 11th in class 6 after losing several minutes on the opening stage. Richard Moffett/Patrick Brides completed the Monaghan finishers in 90th and 10th in class 11 after long delays on stages 1 and 6 ended their hopes of a good result.


In the Junior category, Darren McKenna/Nicola McKenna took an emphatic win in their Toyota Corolla by over two minutes from Johno Doogan/Pierce O’Callaghan who made it a Monaghan 1-2. Donegal crew Donal Kelly/Christopher McKenna finished 3rd in their Honda Civic.


The 2010 Hillgrove Hotel Stages Rally was a great success with many competitors commenting on the top quality stages that were provided – so well done to the Clerk of the Course and his team for another great rally! Another fabulous ‘home win’ by Niall Maguire & Enda Sherry and a fantastic demonstration of sideways driving from the rear-wheel-drive crews who provided most of the thrills and spills throughout the day, all made this year’s rally a great spectator event.  

Clerk of the Course, Conor Maguire would like to extend his sincere appreciation to all those who assisted him with the many months of preparation that went into Monaghan’s largest sporting event. The dedication, commitment and professionalism of the rally marshals on the stages were very evident as they controlled the large numbers of spectators at every junction. Doctors, Ambulance, Civil Defence, Irish Red Cross and Rescue crews are commended for their efforts during the event. An Garda Siochana played a vital role in the rally proceedings and must be commended for keeping the steady flow of traffic moving at all locations, eliminating any opportunities for congestion.

Monaghan Motor Club wishes to thank the many residents along the route for their support and assistance. Thanks to Monaghan County Council, the roads were in great condition and were praised by drivers from around the country. We also greatly appreciate the support received from Monaghan Town Council, Kieran McMahon Tyres and the residents and property owners in the vicinity of the service area in the town car park. Also, a special ‘thank you’ goes to Colm and Audri Herron who on behalf of the Hillgrove Hotel provided an excellent backdrop and fantastic headquarters for this important sporting event. Thanks again to everyone who helped in any way.

The club extends best wishes for a speedy recovery to popular local driver David Roe, who injured his back while competing on Sunday.

The Hillgrove Hotel sponsored Monaghan Stages Rally was held last Sunday, April 25th and it was very successful. North Monaghan is home to many rally enthusiasts and many participants. Two locals, Darren and Nicola McKenna, Dundian, won the Junior Rally and are seen here being presented with their awards by Dessie Keenan.


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