Killarney and District Motor Club launched its Castleisland-based Killarney Forestry Rally at the RiverIsland Hotel in the town centre last weekend. For the second year in a row, the event will be run to raise funds for Irish Community Air Ambulance Southern Region. Last year Killarney and District Motor Club presented €58,293 to the air ambulance and proceeds from this year’s event will be donated to this vital community service too. Competitors and rally fans can look forward to a challenging route in the Mullagherick Mountain, Fornane and Mount Eagle areas on Sunday, February 19.
Clerk of the Course for this year’s event is Adrian Cronin and he opened Sunday’s launch. He outlined the hard work the Killarney and District Motor Club crew are doing behind the scenes to organise the first major motorsport event in the county this year. “I have to say a huge thank you to the team behind me,” he told the large audience present. “The roads are in great condition, there are motorways in some parts of the country not as good as the roads in the forest right now!”
Several local dignitaries and public representatives also attended the launch. Local councillor Charlie Farrelly outlined the importance of bringing such a large event to Castleisland in the late winter. “This is of huge benefit to the town,” he said. “Last year, we worked out, brought in excess of 500,000 on Saturday night and Sunday. We extend a big Ceid Mile Failte to all visitors over the rally weekend.”
Cllrs Bobby O’Connell is a former rally diver and one-time member of Killarney and District Motor Club. “It is great to have the rally back in town,” said the Mayor of the Castleisland Municipal District. “We used to have rallies in Mount Eagle and Rockchapel and I soldiered with a lot of the members of Killarney and District Motor Club during my time as a driver and a navigator. This event is something we want to support.”
Deputy Michael Healy-Rae TD paid tribute to the event sponsors, local businessmen Cyril Wharton of Wharton Tool Hire and Niall Murphy of Castleisland Tyre Centre. “There is so much involved in running these events, without sponsors, events do not just fall out of the sky,” he said.
Sponsor Cyril Wharton will drive a Subaru Impreza in the event. “This is our second year supporting the event, I see all the hard work that the club is doing and it is a lot easier to compete than it is on the other side of the fence. I commend Adrian Cronin for stepping up to clerk the event. It is also Castleisland Tyre Centre’s second time acting as the joint-event sponsor. “I have been following rallying all my life. There is a huge effort in running this event and myself and Cyril are only two small cogs in a very big wheel. As a local business, we are delighted to get behind this event.”
Donie Lucey represented the Irish Community Air Ambulance at the launch. “We are delighted that this rally is supporting the Irish Community Air Ambulance once again,” said the charity’s chief fundraiser.
Club chairman Thomas Randles concluded the formal aspects of the launch. He said: “The club is delighted to play a role in supporting this vital community service. Adrian might be leading this rally but there is a huge team involved and they have pulled together and done a lot of work in a short time.”
Entries for the rally opened last Thursday night and already over 40 crews have confirmed that they will compete in the first gravel rally of the year in Ireland.
The rally is Round One of the Motorsport Ireland Forest Rally Championship, the Motorsport Ireland Junior Rally Series, and Moriarty’s Central Car Sales Kingdom of Kerry Championship.
PHOTO CREDITS: Ted O’Connell