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Keith Cronin in control of West Cork Rally in Clonakilty

March 16th, 2024 6:53 PM

By Martin Walsh

Keith Cronin in control of West Cork Rally in Clonakilty Image
Ballylickey’s Keith Cronin and his Killarney co-driver Mikie Galvin guide their Ford Fiesta Rally2 through a junction in foggy conditions near Clogagh this morning. Photo: Martin Walsh.

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TAKING the lead on this morning’s opening stage (Clogagh), Ballylickey’s Keith Cronin and his Killarney co-driver Mikie Galvin (Ford Fiesta Rally2) have stamped their authority on the Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally, the second round of the Samdec Securities Irish Tarmac Championship.

Overnight, they hold a one minute and 18.8 second advantage over the Welsh/Irish crew of Matt Edwards/David Moynihan while World Junior Rally champions William Creighton/Liam Regan are 31.8s further behind in third to complete a Ford Fiesta Rally2 lock out of the top three places.

Weather conditions provided an added challenge, with mist, torrential downpours and fog making it one of the toughest days in the history of the rally.

Cronin set a staggering pace on SS5 to move into a 3.2s lead that quickly became 14.5 by the end of the stage at Castletown.

The seventh stage provided drama when second placed Devine lost a chunk of time with a puncture.  Cronin’s lead over new second placed Matt Edwards was a minute and 4.4s.

For the remaining stages, that also included the iconic Ring and Dunworley, Cronin managed his pace and is well in control of his own destiny. Devine damaged a wheel on the day’s final stage.

There are a total of three West Cork drivers in the top ten with Dunmanway’s Jason McSweeney and David Guest are ninth and tenth respectively while Ovens ace Owen Murphy is eleventh.  Clonakilty’s Cal McCarthy is fifteenth. The East Cork/West Cork crew of Cian Walsh/Dylan Doonan (Toyota Corolla) lead Class 13 by some five minutes from the Bantry/Kealkil duo of Jeremiah Flynn and Neil Flynn (Ford Escort). Ring’s Daragh O’Donovan (Honda Civic) is second in Class 11F and Durrus driver Fergus Hurley (Ford Escort) is third in Class 11R.

The rally concludes tomorrow with six stages (3x2).


Positions at the end of Day 2:

1. Keith Cronin/Mikey Galvin (Ford Fiesta Rally2) 1h. 24m. 4.3s.

2. Matt Edwards/David Moynihan (Ford Fiesta Rally2)+1m. 18.8s.

3. William Creighton/Liam Regan (Ford Fiesta Rally2)+1m. 50.6s.

4. Josh Moffett/Andy Hayes (Citroen C3 Rally2)+2m. 29.7s.

5. Johnny Greer/Niall Burns (Citroen C3 Rally2)+3m. 02.5s.

6. David Kelly/Dean O’Sullivan (Volkswagen Polo GTi R5)+3m. 53.4s.

7. Eddie Doherty/Tom Murphy (Skoda Fabia R5)+4m. 08.3s.

8. Gary Kiernan/John McCabe (Ford Fiesta Rally2)+5m. 34.2s.

9. Jason McSweeney/Liam Brennan (Skoda Fabia R5)+5m. 36s.

10. David Guest/Jonathan McGrath (Ford Fiesta Rally2)+6m. 43.3s.


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