FOR the second time in three seasons the Carbery Navigation Trial was won by the Lissarda and Drinagh duo of Donal Healy and Denis O’Donovan (Toyota Starlet).
The event, round two of the Munster Navigation Trial Championship and the final round of the Carbery Plastics Skibbereen and District Car Club Championship, was based at the headquarters of Kilmacabea GAA Club in Leap.
The winners traversed the 85-mile route dropping 14 penalties – ten less than the second placed crew of Leap’s Dermot Whelton (Subaru) and his Lisavaird navigator Mark McCarthy.
Top seeds and last year’s winners, Ovens driver Owen Murphy (Subaru) and his Togher navigator Daire Hayes were third, with 25 penalties. The Beginner’s category was won by Bandon’s David Beamish and his navigator Chris Brady.
Any aspirations that the top crews would complete the event with a clean sheet were squandered within the opening 30 minutes.
The infamous network of lanes around French’s in Ballyroe provided a fascinating opening. In their haste to secure an early advantage, top seeds Murphy/Hayes made an excursion into a field. Ironically, two years ago they did exactly the same at the location. As they were returning to more solid ground there was a further element of déja-vu as the crew that were passing were none other than Healy and O’Donovan, as it was in 2015.
The farmyard lane complex across the road proved daunting for many crews as they had to traverse some lanes on two occasions; each time checking in at the same location albeit successive time points. Here, Healy/O’Donovan had to queue behind those checking in for the first time as the latter made their final visit before heading further north. By the completion of the first time card Healy and O’Donovan had a slight edge but Murphy and Hayes and Limerick’s Joe and Greg Shinnors (Subaru) were still in contention.
Expectations for Whelton and McCarthy were high until they were penalised for a wrong near Knockavoher.
Meanwhile, Monaghan’s Derek Mackarel (Subaru) and his Togher navigator Muireann Hayes lost time when their Subaru ended up in a field.
Another complexity was the parallel farmyard lane to a road at Threegneeves that included a double visit via a water splash. Despite a slight altercation with a gatepost, Healy and O’Donovan remained in control and went on to repeat their overall win on 2015, O’Donovan was also the winning navigator in 2014.
Regaining confidence after the Knockavoher incident Whelton and McCarthy were in fine form for the remainder of the event to secure second. Murphy and Hayes lost more time negotiating Buttimer’s farm in Rossmore, they finished third, albeit minus a rear bumper. Mackarel and Hayes were fourth with novices and Ulster crew Emmet McCooey and Conor McMahon (Subaru) taking fifth overall and a category win.
Mallow’s Derek Butler and his Galway navigator Ruaidhri Nash, who won the Semi-Expert category, had difficulties on the final section but still claimed sixth overall.
Clonakilty’s Cal McCarthy and The Pike’s Eamonn McCarthy (Subaru) finished third in the Novice section. The best Skibbereen and District Car Club crew were Macroom’s David Kelliher and Kevin Healy (Subaru).
Results: 1. D Healy/D O’Donovan (Toyota Starlet) 14 penalties; 2. D Whelton/M McCarthy (Subaru Impreza) 24 pens; 3. O Murphy/D Hayes (Subaru Impreza) 25 pens; 4. D Mackarel/M Hayes (Subaru Impreza) 34 pts; 5. E McCooey/C McMahon (Subaru Impreza) 58 pens; 6. D Butler/R Nash (Toyota Starlet) 89 pens. Experts: 1. D Whelton/M McCarthy; Semi-Experts: D Butler/R Nash; Novice: E McCooey/C McMahon; Beginners: D Beamish/C Brady (Opel Vectra) 507 pens.
The event was the concluding round of the Carbery Plastics Skibbereen and District Car Club Championship, as the Drivers’ title was won by Rosscarbery’s Brian O’Mahony and the Co-Drivers’/Navigators award was won by Lisavaird’s Mark McCarthy.