McNulty makes up for near misses in the past to land Galway International Rally

Date Published: {J}

TIM McNulty, a 43 year-old company director from Meath, has joined the roll of honour as overall winner of the Safety Direct Galway International Rally.

McNulty was co-driven by Paul Kiely from Sligo in their Subaru Impreza World Rally Car. His last big win was in 2009 when he won the Rally Of the Lakes in Killarney and was delighted to be declared winner of one of the toughest Galway rallies in its 40 year history.

For Kiely, it was his fourth win. His three previous victories were as co-driver to Eugene Donnelly. “This win has been a long time coming. I have led the rally several times and I’m delighted now to get my hands on the trophy,” said winning driver McNulty.

Second overall in the Triton Showers Impreza World Rally Car was Kevin Barrett and Sean Mullally. Barrett is a previous winner of the Galway Summer Stages Rally. Third overall and first in the standard production category was Cork’s Alan Ring and Dublin man Adrian Deasy in a Mitsubishi Evo 9.

Over 1,500 fans braved the wind and rain last Friday for the ceremonial start which took place in Oranmore village. Spectators were entertained with a performance by All-Ireland Talent Show’s ‘Jack’s Angels’, all pupils of the neighbouring Calasanctius School.

Conditions facing the drivers were particularly challenging this year as storm force winds gave way to torrential rain and flooding over the two days of stages. Galway Motor Club members were very much to the fore from the early stages with Ross Forde from Claregalway, co driven by Robbie Ward from Loughrea, setting the early pace in their Mitsubishi Evo 9.

However, the flooding on stage nine concealed a sharp stone which punctured a front wheel. That four minute time loss let the Escort of Tom Curley and Patrick Curley into a lead which won them the prestigious Brian Thornton Memorial Cup for “Best Galway Motor Club” crew.

They also finished 6th overall and were overall winners of the National section of the event, with Forde and Curley finishing one place further back. Third overall in the National Rally were Loughrea’s Neil Peirce and Enda O’Leary in their Honda Civic with the sister Safety Direct car of Alan Fair and Jarlath Conneely finishing fifth.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.