Disaster struck twice in Kerry at the weekend for two of Donegal’s top rally drivers in the Killarney Rally of the Lakes.
Declan Boyle and Donagh Kelly, who had been in a ding dong struggle for the top spot for all of the first day, crashed on day two, and both when leading the rally.
Boyle was the first to go. He slid off on stage two on Sunday morning and damaged the suspension in his Subaru WRC. This was a cruel blow for the Leitirmacaward man who had led the rally from the very first stage.
This placed Kelly, who had been on Boyle’s tail from the off, in the lead, but on the second last stage the Frosses driver went out when his Focus WRC landed on it’s roof in the Kerry bog. Thankfully neither Kelly or his co-driver Kevin Flanagan were injured.
This propelled last year’s Donegal International winner, Sam Moffet, into the lead with one stage to go and the Monaghan man went on to win.
Inishowen’s Joe McGonigle and Ciaran Geaney put in a giant killing performance to claim sixth position in their Renault Clio.
The national section would finish the day as it started with Roy White taking victory from Wesley Patterson and his Letterkenny co-driver Johnny Baird.
Ardara driver Declan Gallagher and his Letterkenny co-driver Ryan Moore put in another good drive to finish third in the National section, while Adrian McElhinney and Paddy Gorman from Donegal town, in their MK2 Escort, finished the weekend in 19th place.
On SS1, the classic Molls Gap the Donegal men showed the opposition a clean pair of heels with Declan and Brian Boyle topping the time sheets 9.6 seconds ahead of Kelly and Kevin Flanagan in second place and Monaghan’s Sam Moffet, in third spot.
Day two started with more of the same and in very similar conditions and with Boyle setting fastest time once again over Molls Gap. But disaster struck on the next stage and his rally was over, before a similar fate befell Kelly.
Dunlop National Rally champion and leader of the current campaign Declan Boyle has been forced to skip Sunday’s third round of the series, the Seven Oaks Hotel Carlow Rally, because of his crash in Killarney. His Subaru WRC will not be ready in time to allow him to participate in Carlow, he will renew his bid to retain the Vard Memorial Trophy on the Rathkeale based Circuit of Munster on the first Sunday in June.