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Motorsport ireland national rally championship

Circuit Of Munster Preview

This weekend’s Lyons Motor Group Circuit of Munster Rally marks the halfway point of the Triton Showers Motorsport Ireland National Rally Championship and after four rounds things could not be tighter at the top.

Only five points separate the top three drivers and all three have used a drop score either by not finishing or not starting one round.

The Hyundai i20 Rally2 of Sam Moffett and James O’Reilly lead the way. Winners in Mayo in March, they finished second in both Monaghan and Birr but failed to finish in Carlow. They have 57 points on the board but are sitting just three points adrift of the West Cork crew of Daniel Cronin and Donnchadh Burke. Driving their Volkswagen Polo R5, they recorded their maiden win in Carlow two weeks ago. Second in Mayo and fourth in Birr has given them 54 points despite a non-finish in Monaghan.

Eddie Doherty and Tom Murphy scored their best national result to date with a solid second place in Carlow. Third, in both Mayo and Monaghan, a first win for the Skoda Fabia R5 crew is not too far away. They have 52 points on the board heading into Murphy’s home event.

Gary Kiernan is the only driver in the top four to have scored points on every round and the Ford Fiesta R5 driver sits eight points adrift of Doherty in the title race.

Defending champion Josh Moffett, a winner in Monaghan and Birr completes the top five. A non-finish in Mayo and a reliance on SuperRally rules to get to the end of Carlow means the title holder has his work cut out over the latter four rounds if he is to stand any chance of regaining his title. His co-driver, Keith Moriarty, is also on home ground this weekend but he holds fourth place in the co-driver’s league as Kiernan has used several different navigators this year.

While all the aforementioned championship contenders will be in Limerick this weekend there are a few more contenders set to make an appearance too and they could upset the form book.

Chief amongst these is Callum Devine. The Volkswagen Polo GTi R5 driver pushed Josh Moffett all the way to the final round last season but had to settle for the runner-up spot in the finish.

He makes his first National appearance of the year and will have new co-driver John Rowan on the notes. The defence of his Irish Tarmac Rally Championship crown is Devine’s main focus this season and the Circuit of Munster is a high-speed test ahead of the Donegal International Rally.

Desi Henry will return to the championship for the first time since Mayo in March but he and co-driver Niall Burns arrive in Limerick on form having finished second overall on the Tour of the Sperrins In a Citroen C3 Rally2 a few weeks ago.

David Kelly is also back on the championship trail this weekend. Another driver following the ITRC this year, the Volkswagen Polo GTi R5 pilot finished third overall on the Birr Rally in April – his last National outing.

The top ten is completed by Jason Mitchell and Paddy McCrudden who will steer another Polo GTI R5 and like Henry had a good run to third on the Tour of the Sperrins recently.

Michael Carbin and Dean O’Sullivan lead the Ford Escort Mk2 Trophy after four rounds but they have eight points to spare over Aidan Bourke and Pierce Doheny Jr.

However, the Monaghan driver, Carbin, has elected to skip the Circuit of Munster so the top modified driver is Rob Duggan.

He will be followed over the start ramp by local hero Chris O’Callaghan who will use his father Ed’s Escort after he crashed his own one in Carlow a few weeks ago.

Ed O'Callaghan with Dylan Doonan on the notes is also competing and starts two cars behind his son.

Separating them is the Toyota Starlet of Declan Gallagher who is making a rare appearance National Rally appearance.

David Armstrong leads the historic class after four rounds while Kyle McDaid leads the fray in the Junior title race.

Neither are entered in this weekend’s event so that leaves local brothers Maurice and Stephen Meskell (Ford Escort MK1) as the top Historic seeds and Barry McIntyre and Brian Keohane (Honda Civic) as the leading juniors.

Lyons Motor Group are once again the flagship sponsor of the Circuit of Munster Rally. Main dealers in Limerick for Ford, BYD, Jaguar and Land Rover.

Not only are Lyons Motor Group the title sponsors for the event, but they also the host of Rally HQ, mechanical and documentation scrutiny as well as hosting the service park in the heart of Limerick city.


1 Sam Moffett/ James O’Reilly 57

2 Daniel Cronin/ Donnchadh Burke 54

3 Eddie Doherty/ Tom Murphy 52

4 Gary Kiernan/Keith Moriarty 44

5 Josh Moffett /Patrick Walsh 42

External Credits:

Motorsport Ireland


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