The 2015 Hillgrove Hotel Monaghan Stages Rally looks likely to be one of the most exciting events for years. A staggering 200 plus entry has been received, which hasn’t been seen on any event since the Celtic Tiger was in full swing. With only 141 places in the mainfield and 20 juniors/historics, many crews will be left disappointed.
COC Brendan Flynn has laid out three flowing stages between Monaghan and Ballybay with centralised service in the Courthouse Carpark in Monaghan town. The stages are similar to last years when they were well received by competitors. The event is a counting round of both the Triton Showers National & Sligo Pallets Border Rally Championships.
The top 20 consists of 12 World Rally Cars, 5 potent Mk2 Escorts,
1 Montune-engined MG and 2 Group N Mitsubishis.
No.1 seed is Sam Moffett and co-driver James O’Reilly.
The pair will be hoping to emulate Niall Maguire by completing a hat-trick of wins after back-to-back successes in 2013 and 2014.
However this year is likely to be their toughest task yet.
National Championship leader Donagh Kelly has reeled off four straight event wins this year and will be hoping to continue his run of success in Monaghan.
Reigning National Rally Champion, Declan Boyle starts at No.3 and will be hoping to put an end to a bad run of luck in 2015 and victory in Monaghan would go a long way in rescuing his season.
Seven times Monaghan winner, Niall Maguire & four times winner Enda Sherry start at No.4 and will be pushing as hard as they can to overcome the more advanced WRC machinery.
The second of the Moffetts, Josh, starts at 5 with Jason McKenna on the notes. After getting the better of brother Sam on the circuit, Josh will be confident of challenging for overall honours this weekend.
Peader Hurson/Damien Connolly, runners-up last year, start at No.6 and cannot be discounted.
Stephen Wright/Mickie Galvin, Kevin Barrett/Sean Mullally, Alan Ring/Adrian Deasy and Steve Wood/Keith Moriarty complete the top 10 seeds and none of them can be ruled out of challenging for overall honours.
Gary McPhillips/Paul Sheridan head the 2wd entry at No.14 and will start as favourites for success.
Chris Armstrong, Frank Kelly, Jonathan Pringle and Pat Donegan start right behind them and will not make it easy.
Aiden Wray is the top Group N seed at No.20 with Shane Maguire/Paul Kelly starting right behind.
The core feature of the preparations for the rally is the safety of all concerned. Marshals, Stage Commanders and Officials have been trained accordingly.
The Event Safety Plan has been compiled meticulously.
Spectators are requested to play their part to ensure the safe running of the event.
Spectators are asked to read the Spectator Safety notice in the rally programme, which provides a guide to safer spectating.
Safety is everybody’s business and there is one common ingredient that is essential: common sense.
Please follow the instructions of the marshals and officials, who are working for your safety.
Please also respect private property where you assemble and bring your litter home.
We wish all competitors and spectators a safe and successful rally.