Devine makes it three Killarney Rally wins in a row

Samdec Security International ITRC

After 14 top-class Rally of the Lakes stages, Callum Devine and Noel O’Sullivan recorded their third Killarney victory in a row with a winning margin of 7.9 seconds.

The reigning Irish Tarmac Rally champions started Sunday’s stages with a 14.4-second lead over Matt Edwards and David Moynihan.

Galway and West Cork Rally winner Keith Cronin had led the rally up until a puncture on Saturday’s penultimate test, Ardgroom.

Devine increased his advantage over Edwards to 15.5 seconds on Sunday’s first two stages but a defiant Edwards ensured rally honours remained undecided until Killarney’s final stage.

Improved efforts on Ballintourig, Gortnagane, and the fastest time on Meentoges put Edwards and co-driver David Moynihan within 8.7 seconds of Devine with one stage to go.

Another fastest time on Killarney’s Ballintourig decider wasn’t enough to usurp Devine, however, as the Claudy driver refocused to take a 7.9-second Rally of the Lakes win.

It is Devine’s first victory of his 2024 Samdec Security International ITRC campaign. Edwards was full of respect for his Irish Tarmac rival, recognising how well he defended his lead on Sunday afternoon.

Devine will now head to June’s Donegal International Rally knowing a successful defence of the three-day event will put him back in the championship hunt.

Eddie Doherty and Tom Murphy recorded their first ever Irish Tarmac podium finish on this weekend’s Rally of the Lakes. They finished just over a minute off Devine’s winning pace and will have been relieved to resist the hard-charging Ford Fiesta Rally2 of Cronin and Mikie Galvin.

Irish Tarmac Championship leader Cronin was in a different league over most of Killarney’s 14 stages. The Ballylickey driver won a total of 10 stages and continued to show his world-class talent after Saturday’s rally-defining puncture.

Cronin was fastest on Sunday’s first four stages, helping him climb up to fourth overall. With third place too far out of reach, the Ford flyer opted to dial back his speed and collect valuable points for his title hopes.

Jonny Greer and Niall Burns completed Killarney’s top five in their Citroen C3 Rally2. They started the day in fourth but quickly came under pressure from Cronin. A puncture on stage ten confirmed their fate but reset to hold onto fifth.

Finishing sixth, David Kelly and Dean O’Sullivan drove remarkably well on Killarney’s six Sunday stages. Kelly set four top three stage times to climb up from eighth. The Donegal driver was hunting down Cathan McCourt when the latter slid into a bank on stage 12, Gortnagane.

Enda O’Brien, Declan Boyle, James Ford, and David Guest completed the top ten.

Top five standings
1 Devine / O’Sullivan (Volkswagen Polo R5) 1:51:06.7s
2 Edwards / Moynihan (Ford Fiesta Rally2) +7.9s
3 Doherty / Murphy (Skoda Fabia Rally2) +1:07.8
4 Cronin / Galvin (Fiesta) +1:24.0
5 Greer / Burns (Citroen C3 Rally2) +2:11.0


Ioan Lloyd was another driver to excel on Sunday’s inland stages. The Welshman jumped from third in Rally4 to first on day two’s opening test – a lead he would keep, alongside co-driver Sion Williams, for the rest of the rally. The duo won the Rally4 class last year as well and have clearly taken a liking to the west coast stages.

Such was the pace of the Rally4 crews, Lloyd’s class win also returned 13th overall and second-fastest two-wheel-drive car.

A brace of stage wins on Ballintourig and Gortnagane kept Ryan MacHugh on Lloyd’s tail, 8.2 seconds back with two stages to go. Unfortunately for MacHugh, contact with a bank on Killarney’s penultimate test closed over his Ford Fiesta Rally4’s exhaust and the resultant power loss cost him 30 seconds.

Keelan Grogan benefitted from MacHugh’s woes to steal second place from his Rally4 rival, eventually finishing 26.7 seconds behind class winner Lloyd.

Cian Caldwell had been in the hunt for a Rally4 podium finish but his Peugeot 208 ran out of road on stage 12’s penultimate corner.

After gearbox drama on Saturday, Kyle McBride and Darragh Mullen upped their pace on Sunday to seal fourth in the front-wheel-drive category.

Rally4 results

1 Lloyd / Williams (Peugeot 208 Rally4) 2:00:12.6s
2 Grogan / Sherlock (208) +26.7s
3 MacHugh / Boyle (Ford Fiesta Rally4) +42.4
4 McBride / Mullen (208) +1:01.2
5 Coleman / Moore (208) +2:18.0

McEvoy Motorsport Modified ITRC

Thanks to a big lead built up on day one, Colin and Kevin O’Donoghue had the rare luxury of cruising home to confirm their victory in Killarney’s National category. The local crew finished one minute and 25 seconds ahead of Sean Moynihan and Padraig O’Donovan’s Ford Escort Mk2.

Moynihan’s runner-up spot came under immense pressure on Sunday’s fast stages. His Class 12 Escort was in an unlikely position after a tremendous drive over Saturday’s Beara Peninsula tests.

Moynihan just about managed to stay ahead of Damian Toner’s Class 14 Ford Escort to seal a magical second in modifieds and 16th overall.

Toner was driving with style on Sunday although a clip against a three-bale chicane reminded him not to get too reckless, especially as he tackles the Manx Rally later this week. The Armagh driver made it to the end of the 14-stage event taking his second top points score of the year in McEvoy Motorsport Modified ITRC.

Frank Kelly put his championship rival under pressure at the start of Killarney’s second day. A stage win on Meentoges had Kelly within 1.2 seconds of Toner but his rally came under threat when he hit a bridge on Gortnagane. The stage ended up being cancelled so Kelly managed to patch up his famous Ford Escort without losing any time and completed the rally fifth in modifieds.

Vincent O’Shea’s Darrian T90 slipped ahead of Kelly on the final stage to seal fourth.

McEvoy Motorsport Modified ITRC results

1 O’Donoghue / O’Donoghue (Ford Escort Mk2) 1:59:32.6s
2 Moynihan / O’Donovan (Escort) +25.2s
3 Toner / Horgan (Escort) +1:38.6
4 O’Shea / O’Donoghue (Darrian T90) +2:08.7
5 Kelly / Kelly (Escort) +2:18.3

Sherwood Engines Historic ITRC

In Historics, Alan Ring and Adrian Deasy secured a home win in their fabulous BMW M3. Ring started the day 4.4 seconds behind Meirion Evans and Anthony O’Sullivan’s Ford Escort but struck 1.5 seconds off their advantage on Sunday’s Gortnagane opener.

Evans’ lead was under pressure and the Welshman got caught out on a loose-surface corner on the next test. The resultant damage put him out of the rally and handed Ring a 40-second lead he would only extend throughout the remaining stages.

Fergus O’Meara and Declan Casey were second but succumbed to the powerful challenge of Ray Breen and Damien Morrissey’s Subaru Legacy.

The Legacy was loving the dry conditions as Breen stormed up to second after four fastest times on the bounce.

Mark Falvey and Duncan Williams completed the top five in a Ford Escort RS1600 and RS1800 respectively.

Sherwood Engines Historic ITRC results

1 Ring / Deasy (BMW M3) 2:05:21.6s
2 Breen / Morrissey (Subaru Legacy) +49.6s
3 O’Meara / Casey (Ford Escort RS1800) +1:03.2
4 Falvey / O’Brien (Escort RS1600) +1:16.0
5 Williams / Guy Weaver (Escort RS1800) +2:10.2

Paul Browne Plant Hire & Civil Engineering Junior ITRC

Ronan Dorrian sealed his first Junior win of the year as a lockout of stage wins gave him a one-minute Class 16 victory over Barry McIntyre.

McIntyre will be happy with his day’s work as his runner-up finish gives him top ITRC points and looks set to move to the top of the Paul Browne Plant Hire & Civil Engineering Junior ITRC standings.

West Cork winner Kyle Browne was in second with two stages to go, 1.7 seconds ahead of McIntrye. The ignition switch turned off after a heaving landing on one of Meentoge’s jumps and Browne pulled in thinking the problem was terminal. Two minutes had passed when the young Cork pilot realised it was a simple fix and by that stage all chances of a strong result had diminished.

Keith O’Connor and Nial Myers rounded out the podium in another Honda Civic.

Paul Browne Plant Hire & Civil Engineering Junior ITRC results

1 Dorrian / McDaid (Honda Civic) 52:51.3s
2 McIntyre / Keohane (Civic) +1:01.0s
3 O’Connor / Myers (Civic) +1:35.6
4 Roche / Roche (Civic) +2:09.3
5 Hallahan / Rea (Civic) +2:29.8

Rally of the Lakes results

Photo by D Harrigan Images