Sam Moffett avoids trouble in Mayo

Mar 4, 2024 11:26 By Sean McCaffrey
Sam Moffett avoids trouble in Mayo
James O'Reilly (Navigator) and Sam Moffett celebrate their victory at the Mayo Stages Rally - Pic credit :- Philip. Fitzpatrick
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The Monaghan driver with navigator James O'Reilly made light work of the difficult conditions

It may be seven years since Sam Moffett last won the Triton Showers Motorsport Ireland National Rally Championship but the Monaghan man opened his 2024 bid definitively in Mayo on Sunday.

Driving a Hyundai i20 R5, Moffett and co-driver James O’Reilly led the Mayo Stages Rally from start to finish. Taking a dominant 43.5-second win over nearest rivals, Daniel Cronin and Donnchadh Burke who were driving a Volkswagen Polo R5.

The rally could not have gotten off to a more dramatic start. Three of the top seeds were eliminated on the opening stage near the shores of Lough Conn.


Defending Triton Showers Motorsport Ireland national rally champions Josh Moffett and Keith Moriarty were the first to hit trouble and they retired their Citroen C3.

Second seeds Desi Henry and Scottish co-driver Stuart Loudon hit the same back and retired their Citroen C3 from the rally.

However the opening test was not without further dramas. Former champion Declan Boyle and co-driver Patrick Walsh also damaged their Citroen and joined the growing retirement list.


This allowed Sam Moffett into an impressive 22.5-second lead over surprise second-place crew Marty Toner and Ben Teggart in their Proton 2.5 Millington.

By the time the crews arrived at the day’s second service halt in Ballina, third seeds Moffett and O'Reilly were well in control of the rally and were already into a lead they would never relinquish.

Cronin and Burke slotted into second, despite two spins on the opening test.


The West Cork driver spoke for the entire rally when he said: “The shiny bits are brutal” about the treacherously slippery road conditions.

Defending Irish Tarmac Modified champions Eddie Doherty and Tom Murphy were in Mayo for a high-speed test session ahead of the West Cork Rally later this month.

Doherty and Murphy complete high speed test


They finished a commendable third, having grown more and more comfortable with the Skoda R5 they acquired late last year.

UK visitors James Ford and Neil Shanks were third for much of the rally but, the Citroen C3 crew, regular visitors to Ireland slipped off the road on the penultimate test.

Fourth-placed Jason McSweeney and Liam Brennan were on their first outing in a Skoda Fabia RS.


While the Mayo Rally was primarily a test ahead of their home West Cork Rally in a few weeks they did say they could be tempted to enter more rounds of the Triton Showers Motorsport Ireland National Rally Championship.

This promoted Aidan Wray and Peter Ward to a fourth-place finish. They spent the early part of the rally catching slower cars in their Volkswagen Polo R5.

Toner and Teggart eventually finished in fifth place in what was their first outing in a Proton 2.5 Millington. Gary Kiernan and John McCabe continue their learning curve in their new Ford Fiesta R5.

“The car carries a lot more corner speed and that is taking a lot of getting used to” said the Cavan man.

Kiernan got more comfortable with the new car as the day went on. And jumped from eighth to seventh on the final stage.

Eighth place went to Triton Showers boss Paul Barrett and co-driver Darragh Kelly who also won the Citroen Trophy element of the rally.

Barrett and Kelly in their Citroen C3 Rally 2, one place ahead of former champions Niall Maguire and Anthony Nestor in another Citroen C3.

Modified Battle

The modified battle went to the Ford Escort of Jonathan Pringle and Pierce O'Callaghan. Who put in impressive times all day to bring their two-wheel driver car into the top-10.

A 10-place finish was just a reward for their heroic effort all day.

Johno Doogan and Paul Lennon were second in the modified category and finished 11th overall. Whereas, the final podium position in the class went to Gary McPhillips and Paul Sheridan in another Mk2  and they finished 12h overall.

Doogan and McPhillips were locked in a day-long battle that was only decided on the final stage. The Junior rally was won by Kyle McDaid in a Honda Civic.

Triton Showers Motorsport Ireland National Championship Rounds 2024

1. Mayo Stages Rally 3rd March

2. Monaghan Stages Rally 7th April

3. Birr Stages Rally 21st April

4. Carlow Stages Rally 19th May

5. Circuit of Munster 2nd June

6. Stonethrowers Rally 14th July

7. Galway Summer Stages 1st September

8. Donegal Harvest Rally 12th October

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