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O’Sullivan toast of Killarney as Muckross man wins Rally of the Lakes

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney competitors took the top honours in all four categories of the Rally of the Lakes at the weekend.

JUNIOR CHAMPS: Junior Category winners Jason Farrell and John McCarthy with club officers Martin Farrell and Diarmuid Lynch at the prizegiving ceremony of the International Rally of the Lakes at The Gleneagle Hotel on Sunday. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

CLASS WINNERS: Local crew Pat Looney and Amy Burke with Joe McCarthy (Vice Chairman) and Ann O'Donoghue (Entries Secretary) at the prizegiving ceremony of the International Rally of the Lakes on Sunday. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

WINNERS: National category winners Rob Duggan and Ger Conway with Michael O'Mahoney (Rentokil Initial) and Paul Ahern (Ahern's Motor Group) at the prizegiving ceremony of the International Rally of the Lakes at The Gleneagle Hotel on Sunday. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

TWO IN A ROW: Historic category winners Alan Ring (right) and Adrian Deasy with Darren McCormick (Clerk of the Course) at the prizegiving ceremony of the Killarney and District Motor Club International Rally of the Lakes at The Gleneagle Hotel on Sunday. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

FAMILY OCCASION: Winning co-driver Noel O'Sullivan Jnr with his parents Noel Snr and Marion O'Sullivan at the prizegiving ceremony of the International Rally of the Lakes. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

Killarney and District Motor Club (KDMC) member Noel O'Sullivan said it was the stuff of dreams on the finish ramp on Sunday evening after he and his driver, Derry man Callum Devine won the rally in dramatic circumstances.

Drama is a word often thrown around in sport, but on Sunday last, the final stage of the International Rally of the Lakes will go down in history.

Overnight leader Alastair Fisher had a 7.7-second lead coming into Sunday but a quick run up Molls Gap and Ballaghbeama by Devine early on Sunday morning cut the gap to 5.8 seconds.

Following a dead heat on the second run over the Gap, the battle came down to the final stage of the event, Caragh Lake, with just 3.1 seconds between the pair. Alastair was first on the road and halfway through when his Volkswagen Polo left the road and he couldn’t get back out to finish the stage.

Devine and O’Sullivan held on to claim a memorable victory for the local man.

“I am speechless, it is not often I am caught for words,” he said one week after he won the opening round of the British Rally Championship alongside Osian Pryce.
“The pace is up there with all the British, European and world events I have done.”

It was a special weekend for the O’Sullivan family. Noel’s father, Noel Snr, on his 38th attempt (out of 41 events) at the Rally of the Lakes, finished second in his class in his Ford Escort. Co-driver Nicky Burke started the rally for the 25th consecutive time.

The 'Acesigns' Irish Tarmac Rally Championship leader Josh Moffett, said he was finding the going difficult all weekend, left Killarney in second place, a result which he said he was happy with. Belfast’s Jonathan Greer rounded out the podium places in his Citroen C3.

National Rally

National honours went to Killarney club man Rob Duggan and Ger Conway. Having complained of clutch issues from the word go, Rob battled hard throughout setting multiple fastest stage times to win out by 48.9 seconds from Donegal man Kevin Eves in his Toyota Corolla Twin Cam.

“Sunday was a long day,” Duggan said, after nursing his car through the final day. As well as his clutch problems his Ford Escort suffered from a leaking head gasket and starter motor issues.

Conor Murphy and Sean Collins brought their Ford Escort home in third place overall in the national section.

“We are delighted with the clean run – drama free,” said Murphy at the finish.

Kilcummin’s Damien Fleming guided Raymond Conlon to a class in their Toyota Corolla.

Defending Kingdom of Kerry rally champion Mark Murphy and his co-driver Thomas Murphy were another crew to take top honours in their class.

Another local driver John Hickey, and his north Kerry co-driver Maurice McElligott, won their class in their unusual Fubaru Escort RS 4x4 while Denis Nagle and Brian Rowan won the 1400cc class in their Nissan Micra.

Historic Rally

Alan Ring went one better than his second place result in the Killarney Historic Rally last November by taking the historic win on his home rally in the Subaru Legacy.

Alan and his co-driver Adrian Deasy had 45.8 seconds to spare over another local crew Fergus O’Meara and Ronald Riordan in their Ford Escort.

Ring suffered brake problems on Saturday but recovered the lost time over the Sunday loop of stages.

“The pedal went to the floor,” said Ring in Parc Ferme on Saturday evening. "It did not inspire confidence.”
His win on Sunday was the second time in a row that he won the historic section of his home rally – his previous victory coming in 2019, the last time the rally ran.

Local garage man Pat Looney and his co-driver Amy Burke, who is better known for her equestrian skills, won their class in a Ford Escort Mk1.

Junior Rally

Killarney and District Motor Club member Jason Farrell has extended his lead at the top of the standings in the Irish Junior Tarmac Rally Championship following an emphatic Junior rally win. This was his third victory of the year.

Local debutants Gary Healy and Gearoid Moynihan brought their Honda Civic home in third, a fantastic result for them given it was their first outing on home soil.

The rally was held in some glorious weather over the weekend, with just some showers early on Sunday morning to test the driver’s skill and technique. Thousands of spectators lined the stages in what was one of the biggest crowds seen at the International Rally of the Lakes for years.

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Bean in Killarney to cease trading due to rising costs

By Sean Moriarty A Plunkett St coffee shop has been forced to shut its doors due to the soaring costs of doing business. Bean in Killarney opened in late January […]

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By Sean Moriarty

A Plunkett St coffee shop has been forced to shut its doors due to the soaring costs of doing business.

Bean in Killarney opened in late January 2021.

Last March it was named as one of the ‘Financial Times’ list of ‘Best Independent Coffee Shops in the World’.

It was just one of 30 coffee shops worldwide – and one of only two in Ireland – to make the list, which includes entries from world cities like Paris, London and Sydney.

Bean in Killarney is a sister café to Bean in Dingle which was set up by brothers Justin and Luke Burgess.

The local branch was managed by brothers Joey and Euan Boland, who are also from Dingle.

It was a popular coffee stop for locals and visitors alike but despite its popularity and accolades, the business could not survive the current economic climate.

“After two great years we have made the really tough decision to close Bean in Killarney,” said a company statement.

“We opened during the height of the lockdown with the hope that when all restrictions came to an end, the shop would kick off like the Dingle one did.

“However, 2022 brought about new challenges and unfortunately ended up being harder rather than easier. We are a family-run business and rapidly rising costs meant we traded less than we did during 2021’s numerous restrictions. We had hoped to ride out the storm, but it’s not possible to continue operating at a loss.”

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No stopping Joe as he reaches third in the world

By Sean Moriarty A Killarney man who finished third in one of the world’s most-difficult adventure races has not ruled out another attempt in an effort to win it. The […]

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By Sean Moriarty

A Killarney man who finished third in one of the world’s most-difficult adventure races has not ruled out another attempt in an effort to win it.

The Spine Race is a non-stop 431km course over mountains and moors in the North of England.

Lissivigeen man Joe O’Leary was given one week to complete the gruelling course but managed to complete it in half that time in 96 hours and 50 minutes to finish third overall – or four days and 50 minutes!

He ran almost non-stop through ice, knee-deep snow and a wind-chill factor of -15.

He survived on a total of 90 minutes sleep taken at short intervals at various way-points along the route.

Joe is no stranger to adventure racing.

In September 2019 he ran for 28-hours straight to finish the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, a 160km race in the French Alps.

This time last year he finished third in the shorter Montane Spine Challenger Race.

On that occasion he completed the 173kms course in 30 hours but this year he returned to compete in the harder 431km event where his competition included professional athletes.

CHALLENGE

Joe and his fellow competitors set off from the start in Edale in the heart of England’s Peak District at 8am on Sunday, January 14.

Nearly one hundred hours later, just before 9am on Thursday morning (January 15), he crossed the finish line in Kirk Yetholm, a small village just over the Scottish border.

Along the way he was obliged to visit certain way-points or time controls and here he was able to change into fresh clothes, eat a dinner (or two) and grab a few minutes sleep before re-joining the course.

Outside assistance is strictly forbidden, and apart from the official checkpoints there are a few ‘approved’ private houses along the way that offer hot drinks and small meals.

Even bringing supporters is frowned upon – if a fan cheers for one racer they must cheer for all the racers – otherwise it is seen as unfair.

“This was my first time doing the long race,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

“It was fantastic but totally unexpected to be on the podium. It was a strong field and first and second were pros…this is their job.”

Starting out in pouring rain the conditions soon turned to ice, snow and eventually waist-deep snow.

Volunteers fed competitors in scout halls or similar along the route and it was places like this Joe grabbed some shut eye – but not much.

“They really look after you. If you wanted two or three dinners to keep you going you could have them,” he said. “The problem is the clock does not stop. And the more time you spend at way points the more it will effect your results.”

Joe has no immediate plans but intends to visit Australia in May for a well earned holiday.

“I have entered a race in Sydney!” he added.

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