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Shock and sadness at passing of Craig Breen

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World Rally Championship driver Craig Breen, a former winner of the Rally of the Lakes, lost his life in a tragic testing accident today.

Craig, who was 33, was Ireland’s top rally driver and a full-time professional competing with the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team in the World Rally Championship.

A prodigious karter in his younger years, Breen started competing in rallying in 2006 as a co-driver before making the switch to the drivers’ seat in 2008.

His rise thereafter was nothing short of spectacular. In 2009 he made his first foray into the World Rally Championship, winning his class and finishing 25th overall on Rally Portugal. In that same year, Craig won both the Irish and UK Fiesta Sporting Trophies, was crowned Irish National Junior Rally Champion and won the Billy Coleman Award, the youngest driver to do so. In 2010 Breen competed in the Irish and British championships and won the Pirelli Star Driver Global Shootout Final. Winning the Pirelli Star Driver Shootout afforded Breen the chance to compete in the World Rally Championship in the WRC Academy series in 2011 which he dramatically won on the final stage of the final round netting him a €500,000 prize fund.

In 2012 Breen won the Super 2000 World Rally Championship despite the tragic death of his long time co-driver and friend Gareth Roberts in an accident half way through the season.

A factory seat with Peugeot was secured for 2013 and Breen would stay with the French marque for three seasons securing four European Rally Championship event wins including a memorable Circuit of Ireland win in 2015 which saw him emulate the 1992 feat of his motorsport hero, the late Frank Meagher. For the 2016 season, Breen signed with Citroen to drive in six rounds of the World Rally Championship. In his first season in a top car, in the top flight of the sport, he scored a memorable podium finish with a superb third place on Rally Finland.

In 2018 Breen was on the podium again, this time going one step higher with a second place in Rally Sweden.

Without a factory contract for 2019, Breen returned to Ireland and reunited with co-driver Paul Nagle with the pair having pulled together a deal to tackle the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. They dominated the series winning the Galway, West Cork, Killarney, Easter Stages and Ulster rallies while also winning the iconic San Remo and Ypres rallies on the continent. A call up to Hyundai half way through the season would see a return to top flight competition and despite truncated campaigns with the Korean manufacturer, Breen was always on the pace and regularly on the podium including three consecutive podiums in three events (Estonia, Ypres and Finland) in 2021.

The lure of a full-time seat with M-Sport as the sport entered a new hybrid era was too much for Breen to turn down but after a strong start to the season in Monte Carlo, results were hard to come by and Breen returned to Hyundai for 2023 taking another second place on his first event back with the team in Sweden.

Whenever he got the chance, Craig still continued to compete on local events in Ireland and in recent months, support younger drivers. Earlier this year a sponsorship deal was announced that would see him directly supporting the Junior 1000 category within the Sligo Pallets Forest Rally Championship and as recently as last Tuesday, he attended a J1000 tuition day where 18 young drivers got to meet and learn from their hero. Craig was a model competitor and there was no greater advocate for Irish motorsport.

Speaking on today’s tragic news Motorsport Ireland President said; “The Irish motorsport community is numbed by this tragic news. Craig was a world class driver and a world class person. To Craig’s family, his parents Ray and Jackie, his sister Kellie, brother-in-law Darragh and nephew Bobbie, I wish to extend my deepest condolences and all our thoughts remain with Craig’s co-driver James Fulton. May they all find the strength and support they need at this unimaginably tragic time.”

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Killarney centre stage for Pride Festival

The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage. Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July […]

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The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage.

Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July 17 to 21.

The organisation’s flagship Party in the Park event will be held again in Killarney House and Gardens, following the Pride march in the town centre on July 20.

This year, in solidarity with the people of Palestine, Kingdom Pride in Kerry is inviting the people of Kerry to come to show their unity by bringing Palestinian flags and kites to the march, and to the Party in the Park.

“Pride is a protest for human rights all over the world. Here in the Kingdom, we have been so lucky to receive tremendous community support from our allies and supporters, and we see the struggle for liberation of all peoples as a united cause,” said Daniel Quirke, chairperson of the organising committee.

“Our events have always welcomed everyone, regardless of gender, orientation, religion, or nationality. We truly believe that together we can create positive change through caring for and loving one another. This year is no exception, and we look forward to helping to highlight the Palestinian cause, and to bringing people together to keep generating positive change for all people.”

Events will take place in Cahersiveen, Listowel, Killorglin, Tralee and Dingle, and include an Irish comedy night with Áine Gallagher, an Irish-language movie screening, yoga, sea swimming, poetry and storytelling, bowling, pitch and putt, a lively drag night at the INEC, and plenty more for people of all ages.

“We do our best to keep tickets as low-cost as possible, and we have lots of events that are totally free to attend. It is important to us that people can share Pride with us, regardless of income. Especially with the rise of the cost of living putting a strain on people’s pockets.” added the chairperson.

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A weekend of Live Music, Fun and Entertainment, at FleskFest 2024

The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event. “It promises to be […]

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The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event.

“It promises to be the festival weekend of the summer, an event you don’t want to miss out on. Last year’s Festival was a fantastic memorable experience for our community, a time to get together and celebrate,” said festival PRO Seán Daly.

Organised by Glenflesk GAA, FleskFest 24 will take place at the Barraduff Community Field next week.
There will be a fully licensed bar in the Fest Marquee, some amazing live music on The Big Stage, food trucks and much more.
Glenflesk GAA club’s biggest fundraiser of the year includes a new-for-2024 Texas Holdem Poker Tournament on Thursday night.
Weekend highlights include old-time waltzing, jiving and polka sets with Paudie McAuliffe and Paudie Coffey Band on Friday,
On Saturday, the new Well Flesk event will take place.
“A morning of self-care and wellness at Flesk Fest featuring masterclasses in yoga, pilates, mindfulness, spinning, fitness sessions, workouts, firewood sauna and ice pods with a range of experienced and qualified instructors,” added Daly.
Leading local musician Johnny Courtney and Friends, Sam and Ina, The O’Donoghue Sisters, Reigning All Ireland Champions Glenflesk Ballad Group, and The Border Boys will take to the Big Stage over the weekend.
Sunday is Family Fun Day with children’s entertainment and disco and the All-Ireland Hurling Final Live on the Big screen followed by music with Thingamajig.
The festival will finish with a Sunday evening session with the Meadhbh Walsh Band.

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