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




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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Wildflowers are not always simple to grow

By Debby Looney, gardening expert There is nothing quite like the low, humming sound of insects in the garden. I always find the different pitches of the buzzing fascinating, from […]




By Debby Looney, gardening expert

There is nothing quite like the low, humming sound of insects in the garden. I always find the different pitches of the buzzing fascinating, from the drone of a big, furry bumble bee to the high pitched whirring of hoverflies.

And wasps always seem to have a dangerous sound – it is unique to them, in any case. It is possible to help pollinators into your garden at almost any time of the year, solitary bees such as bumbles and leafcutter bees, will come out of hibernation on a sunny December day if there are some heather flowers nearby. tulips, hyacinths, crocus and snowdrops provide sustenance in early spring, along with shrubs such as hamamelis, daphne, viburnum and willow. In April, the small flowers of the field maple attract many insects, as do the large trumpet shaped flowers of rhododendrons and azaleas. Wildflowers are now beginning to bloom, and they are the subject of today’s column!

While it seems counterintuitive, wildflowers are not always simple to grow, especially as we mean ‘pretty meadow blooms’ as opposed to ‘weeds’! Creating an area for wildflowers takes some preparation. Most important is that it is a weed free area. Kill off any grass or weeds before sowing, either by using conventional weedkillers, or by laying down a sheet of black polythene or weed suppressant. Make sure any seeds which germinate are removed also, and that problematic plants such as rushes, are dug out. Most importantly, ensure all grass is gone, as wildflowers do not compete well against its vigorous growth. Rake the top layer of the soil loose to a fine tilth, and do not add fertiliser! Wildflowers will generally not do well in a rich soil. When your area is ready, decide which seeds are best for your spot. There is much to choose from, for example, single varieties such as ragged Robin, teasels and poppies, or mixtures. There are seed mixes for perennial meadows, ones which attract birds – these usually have a high volume of seed bearing flowers, mixes for bees, ladybirds or certain colour mixes. There are also soil specific mixes.


Sow your seeds thinly and evenly onto the prepared ground. I tend to cover with netting at this time of year, because, although it is the best time of year to sow, and there is a very high germination rate, birds are also a problem!

The only maintenance really is to keep an eye on slug damage – I scatter in a few pellets when I sow anything – and if there are very dense clumps of seedlings forming, thin them out. When the flowers have gone to seed in the autumn, just cut them to ground level, leave the cuttings a few days for the seeds to drop out, and rake the foliage up. If left to rot in situ, it will make the soil too fertile for a good display the following year.

I mention the use of slug pellets. To the best of my knowledge, the use of metaldehyde poison in slug pellets has been banned for a few years now, and pellets are made of ferric phosphate which is not harmful to pets or birds unless ingested in very large amounts. However, there are some ingredients used in slug pellets which may potentially cause damage to earthworms and other soil dwellers, so please, always use sparingly and where possible, not at all!

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Routine and balance are crucial in the run up to exams

By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors As you approach the countdown to the beginning of the Junior and Leaving Cert Exams on June 8, it […]




By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

As you approach the countdown to the beginning of the Junior and Leaving Cert Exams on June 8, it is very important to maintain a healthy balance so that you can pace yourself properly.

It can be tempting to try to pack in long hours of last minute study at this stage and become more focused on what you don’t know instead of what you do! Stress is a normal part of facing exams and in fact a certain amount of it is helpful to ensure that it mobilises you to perform well, but it is essential that you keep it, and the exams, in perspective. After many years of supporting students before, during and after exams, I know too well how overwhelming the experience can be so I urge you to do everything you can to look after your well-being at this stage.

Before the exams

Stick to a good routine with a healthy balance in terms of revision, rest, fresh air, sleep and diet. Don’t be tempted to work late at night as it is usually unproductive and impacts on your concentration the following day. Approach your last minute revision in a targeted way with the guidance you have been given by your teachers. Have a schedule with your exam dates/times highlighted hanging up where it is obvious and visible at home and take a photo to save on your phone.

During the exams

Set two alarms for the mornings of exams and allow lots of extra time. You will need to be in your assigned seat in the exam centre at least 30 minutes before the start of the exam on day one and 15 minutes before all other exams. Hydration is really important during the exams to help with concentration so make sure you have plenty of water. The first thing to do when you look at the paper is to read the instructions carefully, your teacher will have gone through these many times with you. Mark all the questions you are going to do and write out a quick time plan for yourself. Focus on exactly what you are being asked; the most common feedback from examiners is that students give a lot of irrelevant information so keep glancing back at the question to keep yourself on task to target the marks.


If you feel you are becoming really anxious in the exam hall, focus on controlling your breath to bring a sense of calm. Breathe in through your nose for two seconds, hold your breath for one second, and breathe out through your mouth for four seconds. Repeat for one minute.

After the exam

Try to avoid too much discussion after each paper, ‘post-mortems’ of the exams are rarely helpful and can add to stress levels so once each exam is done, take a break and then move on to preparing for the next one. I can tell you that regardless of what happens in each exam, you will have lots of options available to you and an interesting journey ahead.

Keep in mind that while the Leaving Cert is an important exam and big milestone, it will not define you for the rest of your life. Best of luck to the class of 2022!

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


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