Packie Duffy and Evin Hughes took outright victory on a wintry Monaghan Navigation Trial last weekend, which was based out of Ardaghey Community Hall. The event was the final round the 2022/2023 National and Border Navigation Championships and first-time Clerk of the Course Shane Maguire ably assisted by his brother Ciaran laid out an 85 mile event that stretched as far west as Oram and Mullyash. Darragh Kelly/Oisín Sherlock were seeded number 1 and lead the pack off at 21:01. At TP2 the first plot and bashes of the event brought competitors from Braddox with two "mapped roads" box tulips that saw crews navigate a number of crossroads in quick succession. With the order of some of the tulips mixed, navigators had to be alert to avoid a wrong approach or double visit to TP3 and TP4 which were located on two parallel roads beside the old church at Terryeely. Only four crews, Duffy/Hughes, Kelly/Sherlock, Michael Tynan/Ciaran Tynan and Damien Treanor/Christopher McMahon would make it through to TP4 without dropping time. After departing TP5 down a mucky lane at Derrylusk, crews headed to the main Ballybay/Clontibret Road at Cornahoe with the route heading southeast towards Cremartin, taking in farm lanes at Tiromedan and Dunfelimy before passing through another farm lane at Tonyglassan for TP9. From here competitors turned onto the R183 before crossing under the N2 before heading towards Castleblayney and then taking the "old road" away from the town towards Laragh Lough and the first Time Recovery Section of the night at TP10 and 11.
The majority of crews had minimal time to take back at this point, before setting off towards the second set of plot and bash TPs. At TP12 in a farm at Corrintra, two pieces of paper were handed out. One was a box tulip that counted mapped non-goers for the route to TP13 which was located in a farm yard at Lisnagreeve. With crews then having to transfer to the second sheet which was a herringbone tulip of mapped roads, road-goes and mapped non-goers. There was an added trick as the distances on the herringbone were accumulative from the departure of TP12 which had some trigger-happy pairings regretting resetting their tripmeters on arrival to the first hidden timepoint. TP14 was just south of TP12 on a farm lane that joined the Corrintra road with the R181.The difficulty of the P&B meant every crew picked up penalties of some sort through this section. At the front there was little between the top crews. Duffy/Hughes and Tynan/Tynan dropped their first minute on TP14, with Kelly/Sherlock dropping two, hindered by being first one the road. Back on the mapped route from TP15 at Errybane, the course travelled north towards Creaghanroe before taking in a farm at Tullynamalra for Via 2. Navigators had to be very careful here as missing the right hand turn into the farm would lead to a wrong approach into TP17 which was at a road junction only 100m away. This TP would also prevent anyone from being able to turn around and go back to get the Via. The last farm lane in the first half was at Tullycaghny for TP18 and from here it was a short trip down to Control B at the R182 road junction outside Oram
From Oram, the direction was north, via a trip through Mullyash forest before returning to tarmac for the ITC. The ten mile long 30MPH check brought the trial back to Creaghanroe and Tattyreagh North. TP23 used a muddy lane at Latnakelly before a dash parallel to the N2 to TP24 at Coolartragh. A familiar loop at Ballygreany and Bryanlitter took crews to Via3 and TP25 before entering Clontibret. The route crossed below the N2 at Glennyhorn for TP26 and the beginning of another P&B section. This time, four clock face diagrams were received which outlined which direction to approach and depart the next few road junctions and bring crews to the correct approach for TP27 on a road-goes just north of Clontibret National School. A loop to a road-goes almost adjoining the N2 at Kilcrow was the location of TP28 and brought crews back onto the Clontibret/Ballybay Road. This road goes hadn’t been used in a number of years and competitors had to take a deep inhale of breath to try squeeze past an oddly parked Berlingo van. TP29 used a familiar farm lane at Letteragh before Via 4 directed crews across to Scotch Corner and then onto another farm lane at Corlongford for TP30. Here a trace diagram was handed out which brought the event up the last farm lane of the night on another regularly used pass at Shanmullagh for TP31. All that remained after here was the two final controls to spell the end of another great night’s sport. On just a solitary penalty from TP14, the expert crew of Pakie Duffy and Evin Hughes took the overall win. Martin Tynan and David McCrudden were just behind on three penalties to take 1st Expert. Kelly/Sherlock were a single penalty behind, proving how small the margin was for error. 3rd expert went to the Cork pairing of Derek Butler/Denis O’Donovan. This result clinched them the National Navigation Championship for the 2022/23 season. Shane Dalton/Ryan Treanor pushed them hard all year but ultimately fell short on the very last round, losing out by just two points. 9th OA was the first non-expert crew in the form of Beginners David Kelly and Gerry Hughes on 28 penalties. Only three penalties separated them from Shane Maguire/Molly Maguire who were 2nd Beginner and 10th OA. 3rd in Beginners went to Martin and Gretchen Swinburne. Charley McMonagle and Ciaran Coyle were best of the semi-experts, beating Emmet Sherry/Patrick Corcoran. The latter crew were very unlucky as they were on for the class win, but received 30 marks on the penultimate control with a double visit. Declan Tynan and Anthony McDonald led home the Novice crews. Tynan/McDonald were lucky to finish the event after sliding into a drain trying to get past Francis McElvaney/Danny McKenna on a narrow farm lane after a wheel on McElvaney’s car decided it would be hilarious if it parted company with the car. 2nd in class went to Kieran McCarra/Aaron McElroy, with 3rd going to the Donegal crew of Damien and Keith Sheridan.