Monaghan Stages Rally winner Donagh Kelly
Donegal driver Donagh Kelly took the number spot on the ramp again at the weekend with his victory in the Monaghan Stages Rally.
Kelly, in a Ford WRC car, and with Monaghan native Conor Foley calling the notes in a cliff hanger finish, had jusy 1.8 seconds to spare over local favourite Sam Moffett in a R5 Fiesta when all was said and done.
It is a second recent first place finish for the Donegal town man who also won the Circuit of Kerry back at the beginning of the month.
He also came second in the Birr Stages Rally in February.
Kelly recovered from a poor start. Josh Moffett led by 18 seconds at the end of the first stage.
But Kelly in the more powerful WRC car patiently reeled the Monaghan man in over the next seven stages. The fifth stage was a no run.
They went into the final stage number nine level on time and in a fantastic last stage the Donegal man prevailed to become the first non-Monaghan winner since 2011. Tim McNulty was the last non-Monaghan winner.
“It was some day and some finish over those last three stages,” said Donagh afterwards.
“Conor gave me a big push there at the finish and I could not let him down on his home rally.”
There was no joy for Donegal’s other driver in the rally,Declan Boyle.
Boyle and his co-driver James O’Reilly, in a Ford WRC retired after the first stage, following an off.
Niall Maguire and Enda Sherry, in a Subaru WRC, finished in third place.