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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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One way traffic system mooted for St Oliver’s National School

The Killarney Advertiser understands that a one-way traffic management system will be introduced at St Oliver’s National School. The plan remains subject to confirmation by Kerry County Council and other […]

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The Killarney Advertiser understands that a one-way traffic management system will be introduced at St Oliver’s National School.

The plan remains subject to confirmation by Kerry County Council and other statutory bodie. It is  understood that the system will be trialled at the beginning of the new school year in September.

The area is subject to serious traffic congestion during school drop-off and pick-up times every day.

Over 650 pupils and 80 staff attend the school every day. New housing developments in the area have added to traffic congestion.

Cllr Martin Grady has being pushing for enhanced road safety measures at the school since his co-option to the council in September 2023.

“The issue has worsened in recent years with Woodlawn, Rookery Road and Ballycasheen having more domestic property developments which brings with it more road activity,” Grady told the Killarney Advertiser.

“I’ve seen first-hand several accidents occur when dropping and collecting my children from the school. It needs a safe solution by means of a drop off- pick up point or a traffic management system put in place.

“It is unfair on all stakeholders involved. I will keep working on this until results are achieved in the interest of everyone’s safety. “

The lack of urban school bus services, not just at St Oliver’s but at all schools is adding to Killarney’s traffic woes.

“I would like to see school bus services return for all students, in both urban and rural schools, this service was a massive loss, it would greatly reduce the volume of traffic on our roads and mitigate the risk of accidents and near misses,” added Cllr Grady.

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Planning rules “nonsensical in a housing crisis” Cllr Healy-Rae

A planning rule which prevents people from building houses on their own land next to major roads is being challenged by Cllr Maura Healy Rae. The current planning policy states […]

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A planning rule which prevents people from building houses on their own land next to major roads is being challenged by Cllr Maura Healy Rae.

The current planning policy states that any application house along national primary and national secondary roadways exiting from existing entrances will not be considered.
Healy-Rae says this problem is particularly acute in the Killarney Municipal District given the amount of national roadway surrounding the area with the N22, N71 and N72.
“It is nonsensical that where an individual is living at home and using an existing entrance, can’t be considered to build their own house and use existing entrance they are already using,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.
“How Transport Infrastructure Ireland can quantify this as additional traffic is preposterous. Given we are in a housing crisis, given all the challenges surrounding planning, given exorbitant house prices and the lack of affordable housing, it is ludicrous that this is a reason people are being refused planning.”
She called on Kerry County Council to write to the TII, the Minister for Transport and the Minister for Local Government requesting that the current blanket policy be lifted.
“It [the policy] has directly resulted in numerous planning applications being refused and even considered at the pre-planning stage,” she added.
Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae has also raised the issue in Dáil Éireann.

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