Corrib Oil Galway International Rally Preview –

The 2016 Corrib Oil Galway International Rally takes place over the coming weekend, 5h to 7th February inclusive.

Galway Motor Club is delighted to confirm that there is a capacity entry with teams coming from Germany, Australia and America in addition to numerous UK and Irish crews., over 100 in total. The competing teams, their sponsors and crews, and the thousands of spectators that will line the route will bring a welcome early season boost to visitor numbers to Galway city and county. The event has retained its full weekend format and is expected to generate over 2,000 bed nights for hotels and guest houses. The rally is estimated to bring approximately €5m spending to the local economy.

At the recent launch, Clerk of the Course, Kieran Donohue said “Galway Motor Club is indebted to the staff of Galway County and City Councils, An Garda Siochana, Failte Ireland, the Road Safety Authority, the Directors and staff of Corrib Oil, the 300 volunteer marshals from all over Ireland, and most of all the residents along the route for their assistance with temporary road closures to ensure the safe running of the event.”
The rally will get under way with a Ceremonial Start in Eyre Square on Friday 5th February at 8pm, following afternoon scrutineering of cars at the Galway Race Course from 2pm. These are ideal opportunities to see the rally cars and drivers prior to the start of the competition.
Headquarters for the event is the Clayton Hotel, Ballybrit, Galway. The rally route will cover 9 closed road stages on Saturday 76h February and a further 6 on Sunday  7th February. The rally Service Park will be in Portumna Mart on Saturday and in Gort Mart on Sunday, by kind permission of the Mart Committees.  Sunday evening will see the Ceremonial Finish back at Clayton Hotel from approximately 3.30pm.  Admission to all events is free over the weekend.

Road Safety:
The Corrib Oil Galway International Rally is an event that is sanctioned by the FIA under an official Permit issued by Motorsport Ireland, and supported by the RSA – The Road Safety Authority of Ireland. The ‘Keep the Race in its Place’ campaign is extremely successful in talking to predominantly young people who follow motorsport. The Galway Motor Club is eager to remind everyone of the need to drive safely at all times – hence the message “Keep the Race in its Place’’. All competing cars will carry this logo and message, and extensive signage to promote this road safety message will be visible.

Kieran Donohue, Clerk of the Course, encourages fans travelling to the Corrib Oil Galway International Rally to heed the message from the organisers to ‘Keep the Race in its Place’, to slow down, never drink and drive and to always wear a seatbelt. All spectators on the closed road stages must obey the Marshals at all times, as they will be implementing a comprehensive Safety Plan.   A traffic management plan has been put in place with the support of the Gardai.

Traffic Diversions:

In order to facilitate the safe running of the event there will be temporary Road Closures on certain roads in south and east County Galway on Saturday 6th February and Sunday 7th February. All will be clearly sign posted and marshalled. All residents have been informed of the times and road closure arrangements and the details have been advertised by Galway County Council. There will also to additional traffic in the Eyre Square area from 7.00pm to 9.00pm on Friday 5th February to facilitate the Ceremonial Start; in the vicinity of the Race Course on Friday afternoon and Sunday afternoon, at the Clayton Hotel,  and in Portumna during Saturday and Gort during Sunday.

Nominated Galway Charity:

Galway Motor Club has chosen Blood Bike West as its charity partner for the rally. Blood Bike West is a charitable organisation established by volunteers to deliver essential urgent medical supplies, out of hours, between hospitals, healthcare sites and laboratories. The volunteers provide the service free of charge. The charity’s volunteers will be promoting awareness at various locations along the rally route and all support will be much appreciated by them.

Rally Programmes:

The Official Rally Programme contains full listings of stage times, service area times, detailed Ordnance Survey Route Maps and all of the information required to locate the many spectator access points. The Programme costs €10 and is available from the Clayton Hotel and from various Corrib Oil filling stations, newsagents and outlets in the city and county, listed on the rally website,

Leading Entries :

The entry of more than 100 cars have been seeded by the organisers and the rally winner is likely to come from one of the top 20 seeds.
Seeded number 1 is Garry Jennings from Fermanagh and Rory Kennedy in a Subaru WRC. Declan Boyle from Donegal, with his cousin Brian Boyle co-driving, is at Number 2 in a Fiesta WRC. The number 6 seed is top local driver Dean Raftery from Craughwell, winner of the Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of the Year award in 2014. The entry also includes no less than 14 of the new generation R5 rally cars. 2016 is the first year for these cars to feature as the lead class in the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Rally championship, and competition is going to be intense. The talented young drivers who drive these cars are very likely to spring a surprise result at the end of the event!

There are over 100 entrants, the Top 10 seeds being:
Number      Driver                  Co-Driver             Address      Car
1                Garry Jennings       Rory Kennedy       Fermanagh   Subaru WRC
2                Declan Boyle          Brian Boyle            Donegal        Fiesta WRC
3                Derek McGarrity     Diarmuid Falvey    Antrim           Fiesta WRC
4                Roy White              James O Brien       Tipperary      Fiesta WRC
5                Tim McNulty           Paul Kiely               Meath           MINI WRC
6                Dean Raftery          Mark Kane             Craughwell   Subaru WRC
7                Declan Gallagher    Ryan Moore          Donegal        Subaru WRC
8                Keith Cronin            Mikey Galvin         Cork              Citroen DS3 R5
9.               Josh Moffett           Jason McKenna     Monaghan     Fiesta R5
10               Alastair Fisher       Gordon Noble        Fermanagh   Fiesta R5

Overseas Entries:

Among the entries from outside of Ireland taking part in this year’s event, are number 50, Kai Dieter Kolle from Germany in a Porsche Carrera. John Coyne makes the trip from Canada to take part in the Historic event in a Talbot Sunbeam and Tomas Davies travels from the Wales in his new Fiesta R5.

Leading Local Entries:

Members of Galway Motor Club taking part in the event will be seeking to put their name on the prestigious Brian G Thornton Memorial Cup. The top seeded Galway drivers are:

Car     Driver                            Navigator              Address       Make/Model
6      Dean Raftery                  Mark Kane             Craughwell   Subaru WRC
24      Stephen Greaney          Kieran Feeney        Galway         Escort Mk2
25      Tom Flaherty                  Patrick Curley         Circular Road Escort Mk2
32      Pat Kelly                         Jonathan Kelly        Galway         Subaru STI
33      Tommy Cahill                  Enda O Leary         Galway         Mitsubishi Evo
34      Justin Comer                   Adrian Comer         Galway         Mitsubishi Evo
44      Jonathan Folan               Ross Forde            Galway         Citroen DS3
45      Richard Whelan             James Whelan        Galway         Citroen DS3

Media Coverage:
Results, regular updates and more detailed information will be available on the rally website: and also links on and .
Galway Bay FM will be reporting from all 15 stages throughout the weekend with regular updates and driver interviews.
Galway Motor Club has secured TV coverage on TG4, UTV Ireland, and Motors TV with one hour programmes to be broadcast in the coming weeks.

2016 Corrib Oil Galway International Rally Timetable:

Friday 5th February 2pm: Scrutiny at Galway Race Course, Galway.
Friday 5th  February 8pm: Ceremonial Start in Eyre Square, Galway.
Saturday 6th  February 9.00am: 9 Special Stages in East Galway.
Saturday 6th February 10.30am and 1.00pm: Service Park at Portumna  Mart.
Sunday 7th February 8.30am: 6 Special Stages in South Galway.
Sunday 7th February 10.00am and 12.30pm: Service Park at Gort Mart.
Sunday 7th February 3.30pm: Finish at Clayton Hotel,Ballybrit, Galway.
Sunday 7th February 8pm: Prizegiving at Clayton Hotel, Galway.

Raftery Raring to go at Wales Rally GB –

Billy Coleman Award winner Dean Raftery will return to the wheel of his Citroen DS3R3 MAX this week as he tackles the final round of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship, Wales Rally GB (12-15 November). After registering for this year’s FIA Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC), the 23 year old Galway man will contest season finale’ in a bid to secure a decent result in the series after just one outing at Rallye Portugal.

After a successful season in the British Rally Championship in 2014 and an impressive one-off outing in a MINI WRC at the Galway Rally, Raftery has endured a tough remainder of the season. Despite missing the opening round of the JWRC whilst a deal was secured to contest the series, Raftery was buoyed by a confidence boosting first test of the newly acquired DS3R3 MAX at Rallye Portugal. Sadly the event itself lasted just a few miles after retiring with engine issues but Raftery is keen to make an impression during the three day gravel event of Wales Rally GB, often marked as one of the toughest in the 13 event World Rally Championship.

Joined by co-driver and 2014 British Rally Champion Arthur Kierans, Raftery is once again backed by the Motorsport Ireland and Irish Sport Council and has set his sights high on achieving a notable result in the Welsh forests.

“We have had a tough year and having only one JWRC outing was certainly not how I expected to spend the season, but I’m indebted to my sponsors who have stuck by me and enabled me to contest the final round this week” says Raftery. “I do feel like I have a lot to prove but it will certainly be a challenge. The other crews havespent all year in the car but I’ve completed less than 100km behind the wheel of the DS3 so it’s going to be a steep learning curve”.

Keen to sample the characteristics of the North Wales forests, Raftery headed to Llandudno in October to contest the Cambrian Rally.

“Doing the Cambrian was important to gain a decent set up for the car so we can at least have some base settings to work from” he says. “Whilst we only managed a few stages, it should mean we start the event with a fairly consistent car under me. It’s thanks to the valuable support of our sponsors such as Bluebird Care, Midland Tyres, Kenny Galway, Motorsport Ireland and The Irish Sports Council that I have the opportunity to really show what I’m capable of on the world stage.”

The November 12-15 event is based near Chester and provides over 310km of special stages across Wales. After a ceremonial start on Thursday 12th, the action kicks off with six mid Wales stages on Friday. Saturday is the longest day, providing just under half of the stage mileage including the spectator stage at Chirk Castle. Sunday 15th has just four stages, culminating in the live for TV power stage, Brenig.

For more information on Dean, updates from the event and his rallying career, visit

North Wales nightmare for Raftery –

Galway man Dean Raftery retires from Cambrian Rally as he endures a tough pre-Wales Rally GB test.

Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) star Dean Raftery endured a tough return to competitive action last weekend as he retired from the Cambrian Rally in North Wales. The Billy Coleman Award winner returned to the wheel of his Citroen DS3R3 MAX in a bid to gain some valuable seat time ahead of the final round of the World Rally Championship in November, Wales Rally GB. But the 23 year old Galway man misheard a pace note on the third stage of the event forcing him into retirement after getting stuck for over 7 minutes in a ditch.

With limited outings in the JWRC this year Raftery has recently announced his intentions to return to the series and looked to the Cambrian Rally for experience of the tough North Wales stages. Raftery would be pitched against some similar machinery in the B11 class of the event and headed across the Irish Sea in a bid to obtain valuable set up data for November’s showdown. Enlisting the help of Newcastle co-driver Jack Morton, Raftery’s frustrations began from the very first stage, stalling the Citroen DS3R3 on the opening test leaving the Motorsport Ireland and the Irish Sport Council backed pilot down in fourth. His bad luck continued in SS2 when a spin on the slippery Elsi stage lost the duo several seconds, although the time was still good enough to place them second in class.

But on the third stage Raftery misheard a pace note causing a rear impact with a bale and forcing the Citroen into a ditch where it became stuck fast. Loosing over seven minutes in the soft mud meant retirement loomed and Raftery withdrew the Citroen at the end of the test.

“It’s been a frustrating day and I’m really disappointed with myself for the error which put us off” said Raftery. “It took a while to get into a comfortable rhythm and I do have to remember I’ve only driven the car for a few km’s on gravel in Portugal which is widely different to North Wales, but nevertheless they were silly mistakes today that I need to iron out for Wales Rally GB.”

Raftery was quick to praise co-driver Morton too. “Jack was great today and it was certainly my fault we went off. Despite the spin on SS2 we set a good time so the potential is there, I just need to bring it all together next month. I think we managed to collect enough data for a base set up for Wales and that was the idea after all. It’s going to be a tough event but it’s a chance to really show what I can do in R3.”

Raftery is supported by Bluebird Care, Midland Tyres, Kenny Galway, Motorsport Ireland and The Irish

Sports Council. For more information on Dean, updates from the event and his rallying career, visit



Karting Kicks Up A Gear & Galway Gets Ready To Rally –

The Motorsport Ireland Kart Committee are delighted to announce the recent formation of a training programme for Irish kart racers in association with the sports and fitness department in University College Dublin. Working together, the kart committee and the department will develop a specific programme for competitors. Chairman of the Kart Committee, Brian Kavanagh, is understandably delighted at the arrangement. Speaking this week Kavanagh said; “The Motorsport Ireland Kart Race Committee is very pleased with this initiative. This is part of our strategic plan for the development of kart race competitors within the sport and as it develops over the coming months they see it as an important aspect of a drivers preparation. This will be a vital ingredient for any competitor hoping to compete in kart races in European or World events where athletic stamina is as important as driving ability.” Chris Chapman of UCD will act as project leader.
Galway plays host to round 7 of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship this weekend. Having been Galway Summer 005crowned champion last month, Donagh Kelly has not entered the Galway Summer Rally this weekend so it is Donegal cousins Declan and Brian Boyle who head the entry list in their Ford Fiesta World Rally Car. The pair have impressed since acquiring the car in June and Galway has proved a happy hunting ground for the Boyles in recent seasons. Niall Maguire and Alan Ring appear at 2 and 3 on the entry in a brace of Subaru Impreza World Rally Cars. In fact, the Japanese marque fills 6 of the top 10 places with drivers like Steve Wood, Kevin Barrett, Paddy McVeigh and Peadar Hurson all heading west in their Subarus. Hurson, who has performed admirably in an ageing car this season could in fact be an outside bet for the win. National series stalwart Roy White is the first non turbocharged car on the entry list and will start with number 7 on the door of his unusual MGZR. Junior World Rally Championship front runner Daniel McKenna makes a surprise appearance in an R5 Fiesta an number 9 with Kevin Glynn on the pacenotes. The top 10 is rounded out by Group N front runner, Aidan Wray.

The ever popular 2 wheel drive competitors are headed by Declan Gallagher and Ryan Moore in their Toyota Starlet but they will be hounded by the Ford Escort of Gary McPhillips and Paul Sheridan. McPhillips and Sheridan crashed heavily on the Donegal Rally in June may take a few stages to bed in but their pace is proven and McPhillips is a former outright winner of the Galway Summer Rally having won the event in 2010. The first local driver on the entry list is Dean Raftery, the current Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year. Raftery will start at number 17 in his Citroen DS3 R3 Max. American based Galway man Frank Cuningham is the top historic seed in his Mark 2 Escort while Cormac Phelan heads the junior section in his Citroen C2 R2. The event, run by Galway Motor Club will be headquartered in the Clayton Hotel, Ballybrit, Galway with the first cars leaving the hotel at 10am on Sunday morning before facing a challenging loops of 3 stages repeated 3 times in the Athenry area. More information can be found by visiting

Main Image from Marc Quinlivan.


Kelly does the job in Galway! With Aaron McElroy.

The Donegal pairing of Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanagan got their 2015 Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish

Tarmac Rally Championship off to a flying start by taking a convincing victory in the series opener,

the Colm Quinn Galway International Rally. Through the fog and ice, Kelly and Flanagan battled over

14 competitive stages to end the final stage just shy of forty seconds ahead of Eugene Donnelly and

Paul Kiely in their Mini WRC.

On Friday evening, the Irish rallying world descended on Eyre Square for the ceremonial start. With

number one on his Subaru’s door and as last year’s winner, Declan Boyle led out the parade and had

Crowd favourite Donnelly took runner up spot after a hectic battle.

Crowd favourite Donnelly took runner up spot after a hectic battle.

his eyes on defending last year’s title. Also on the entry list was the 2013 tarmac champion Garry

Jennings in a similar Impreza. Third on the road was “The Genie” Eugene Donnelly who has an

impressive history in Galway having won four times. The 2014 Billy Coleman Award winner Dean

Raftery was in the second Colm Quinn backed Mini and was looking to gain experience at the highest

end of Irish rallying. Donagh Kelly had number four on his Focus WRC, and behind him were the

Moffett brothers, Sam and Josh in identical Fiesta WRC’s. The fastest milkman in Ireland, Declan

Gallagher was the top seeded Modified driver at eight in the immaculate Starlet Rwd.

Day One got underway with a 12.8km Skehanagh test. Reigning champion Declan Boyle was six

seconds faster than Donagh Kelly, with Sam Moffett a further four seconds back. Gary Jennings was

fourth and Eugene Donnelly fifth, saying that he was on the rev limiter lots of times. Dean Raftery

struggled when his Mini went into safe mode and he was forced to limp back to service. Declan

Gallagher was best of the National section ahead of Brian Brogan, Liam Howlett and Micky Conlon –

all in Escort MkII’s.

There was no change at the top after the second test, with Declan Boyle only losing a single second

to Donagh Kelly. Garry Jennings was the big mover and found himself in third overall after the more

modern cars of Donnelly and the Moffetts struggled to match the outright speed of the two litre

WRC’s. It wasn’t until the third stage that Dean Raftery regained the speed in his Mini and after

having the water pipe come loose on his car he was cautious, but it all came good when he

eventually matched and beat the time of his team mate.

Boyle was in flying form on the following two stages to the extent that he was quicker than the

bogey time, so his lead over Donagh Kelly –who also beat the bogey time on Stage five-, was less

than it could have been. The big drama on Stage five however was the news that Garry Jennings and

Rory Kennedy went off the road and retired after they hit a gravelly corner near the end of the stage.

Declan and Brian Boyle should have sat with an overnight lead of over ten seconds but a three

minute penalty was applied after their Impreza WRC failed to start at the start line of Stage three

and they were penalised for every minute that they were late into the control. This left Donagh Kelly

at the top of the leader board, thirty eight seconds ahead of Donnelly, with Sam and Josh Moffett in

third and fourth respectively. Dean Raftery continued his climb up the time sheet after early trouble

to be sixth behind the relegated Boyle, and setting times equal and sometimes better than

Donnelly’s Mini WRC.

Declan Gallagher was the overnight leader in the National section, with a strong lead over Liam

Howlett in second. Mickey Conlon moved up to third after Brian Brogan hit transmission trouble and

fell to sixth by the end of the day. Brendan Cumiskey held first in Group N, just as he had done all

day in his newly acquired Subaru. Second was Brian O’Keefe with Aaron McHale third. In the

Historics, Ernie and Will Graham were leading over Gareth Lloyd and Gwynfor Jones, both in Escorts.

The opening stage of Day Two was covered in icy patches and made conditions treacherous for the

competitors. Donagh Kelly built on his inherited first place by taking six seconds out of Sam Moffett,

who jumped to second overall over Eugene Donnelly. All drivers found the roads hazardous and at

the end of Stage 9 they commented on how difficult it was to be brave at high speeds in dense fog.

Despite the visibility issues, Eugene Donnelly mounted an attack on Stage 9 and retook second

overall from Sam Moffett. Both Josh Moffett and Dean Raftery struggled on the roads but remained

in touch to the pack.

The nip and tuck between Donnelly and Moffett continued through Stage 10, Black Road and Stage

11, Lough Cultra. Moffett took second overall on Stage 9 before losing it on 10. Josh Moffett

retained fourth overall despite a puncture and vibration being felt through the car. Declan Boyle was

conserving his championship hopes and trying to maintain his position in order to gather valuable

points and consulate the earlier penalty. Dean Raftery continued to place competitive times and stay

in touch to the leading cars.

And that is how the rest of the day played out. Donagh Kelly cruised home ahead of Eugene Donnelly

who dogged it out with Sam Moffett all day to eventually finish second, just 0.7 seconds clear of the

Monaghan driver. Sam’s younger brother Josh was forth and closely followed by Declan Boyle who

raised his pace and finished just 3.9 seconds behind the second Combilift Fiesta WRC. Dean Raftery

rounded out the top six in an impressive WRC debut on a challenging rally.

Declan Gallagher led from start to finish in the National, with Mickey Conlon claiming second after

setting some very quick times in the afternoon. John Lynch rounded off the final step of the podium.

Aaron McHale took Group N honours after chipping away and Brendan Cumiskey’s lead for most of

the day. Cumiskey, who had been leading for most of the rally, had to settle for second. Ernie

Graham won the Historic category from Gareth Lloyd with Joe Connelly third. In the Junior Rally,

Vincent McSweeney and Michael Kearney took the spoils, Richard Moore and Brian Halligan were

second and Conor McCarthy and Dylan Coffey were third – all driving Honda Civics.

Next on the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Rally Championship calendar is the ever-popular

West Cork Rally on the 14th and 15th of March.


Text: Aaron McElroy

Images: David MacLachlan