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Tipperary Sean Conlon Forestry Rally - 8 Feb 09

Posted: February 22, 2009 10:27 PM - 25852 Hits

Round 1 - 2009 National Forestry Championship
Round 1 - 2009 Southeast Rally Championship
Round 1 - 2009 National Junior Rally Championship

  • Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors win Icey Mitchelstown Forestry Rally

Motorsport Ireland National Junior Rally Championship 2009 - Report after Round 1

Posted: February 22, 2009 10:27 PM

The Sean Conlon Memorial Forest Rally saw the opening round of the 2009 NJRC. Although the numbers of registered competitors are significantly down on last year the pace is certainly not lacking with the winner Craig Breen finishing a fine 18th overall in the Jobb Rally Hire Citroen C2R2.

He didn’t have it all his own way by any means with John Burns in another C2R2 on hire from Excel Rallying taking an early lead followed by Vincent McAree who has not yet registered for the championship as his new car was not ready for the season opener.

Breen quickly settled down to business after that and the 19 year old Kilkenny driver took wins on all but the last stage where Donegal’s Kevin Gallagher won the stage by 2 seconds which indicates his intentions for the season.

Limerick’s John Burns failed to make it to stage 4 due to fuel pump failure but was impressive while on his first outing in the C2R2. Fellow Limerick man John O’Connor slid off on stage 4 in his ford Escort G3. Tipperary’s Chris Molloy had a good clean run in his newly acquired Peugeot 206 on what were very difficult conditions due to snow and ice causing the cancelation of stage 1 and the shortening of stage 2 & 5.

However even with the weather creating all sorts of issues for Tipperary Motor Club and first time COC Tom Dunne who has taken up the mantle from the late Jim O’Brien the event ran really well, having 77 starters and 56 finishers.

So with only a few weeks to the 2nd round at the Carrig-on-Siur Wm. Loughman Forest Rally things are all to play for. Registrations are expected from Vincent McAree and Jack Newman who are hoping to have their new cars ready. Conor Kelly hopes to have an engine in his Corsa and hopefully many others will sign up for this unique series which has a lot to offer young drivers.

Registration is open up to round 3 of this 9 round championship. This series has 5 forest rallies and 4 tarmac rallies with a minimum of 3 of each surface to be contested. The overall winner of the NJRC wins a prize to the value of €5000 and the winner of each class goes on to the selection process for the Billy Coleman award which this year has gone to Ross Forde who will be contesting the Fiesta ST UK Cup as part of his prize in an M-Sport run car.

1st. Craig Breen Citroen C2R2 Class D
2nd Kevin Gallagher Vauxhall Corsa Class G
3rd Chris Molloy Peugeot 206 Class D

Dnf John Byrnes Citroen C2R2 Class D
Dnf John O’Connor Ford Escort G3 Class G

Posted: February 15, 2009 10:03 AM

Greg Shinnors (Co-Driver) & Keith Cronin (Driver) - Rally Winners

In Car - Trevor J Harding & Andrew Purcell - Stage 5

Posted: February 15, 2009 10:01 AM


Posted: February 11, 2009 12:03 PM

With snow capped mountains as a back drop 77 competing crews left the start ramp in The Square Mitchlestown for the opening round of the Petro Systems National Forestry Championship last Sunday, and with a host of Irelands top forestry competitors in attendance, competition was going to be at its highest. As the crews headed out of service and made the short journey to stage 1 Kilcoran a decision was made by the organisers to cancel the stage on safety grounds for the competitors due to a heavy snowfall overnight. It was on to Stage 2 Goatenbridge for the crews where Number 7 seed Pat O’Connell and co driver Mark Wiley driving a Mitsubishi Evo 7 set the pace with a time of 5.04 with Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mitsubishi Evo 9), 2 seconds adrift on 5.06, Trevor J Harding/Andrew Purcell (Subaru Impreza WRC) stopping the clocks with a time of 5.10, James Murphy/Anthony Nestor (Escort WRC) 5.17, with Denis Cronin/Helen O’Sullivan (Subaru Impreza WRC) rounding off the top five with a time of 5.20.

Stephen McGrath/Kevin Joyce were setting the pace in Group N from Christy Carey/Mark Bowens with Mark Sheehan/John McGrath back in third. Brian Lawlor/Peter Kavanagh were leading the two wheel drive battle with a time of 5.23 from Frank Kelly/Liam Brennan 5.28, Aurther Kierans/Ashley McAdoo 5.32, Mark Dolphin shared a time of 5.41 with Wicklow’s Paul Stauton/Connor Murphy who were making a welcome return to the forestry championship. Limericks John Byrne/Kenneth Shiel led the junior rally by 18 seconds from Vincent McAree/JP McAree with Craig Breen/Sorcha Kelly a further 2 seconds behind.

After a 30 minute service halt it was on to the first run over stage 3 Kilworth. Cronin pulled out all the stops and set a blistering time through the stage to take the overall lead from Trevor J Harding with Paul O’Connell dropping to 3rd. Denis Cronin moved up to 4th just ahead of the hard charging Frank Kelly who took over the lead of the two wheel drive after the retirement of Brian Lawlor moving Seamus O’Connell up to 2nd and Paul Stauton into 3rd. Unfortunately for 2008 reining forestry champion Ray Breen and co driver Martin Brady a broken throttle motor caused them to loose 7 minutes dropping g them down the leader board. It was back to service once more before the crews headed out for a repeat of stage 1 Kilcoran which had got the ok from the organisers to run. Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors were once again with the top 5 overall remaining unchanged. Frank Kelly held on to his two wheel drive lead, Stephen McGrath lead Group N and Craig Breen took over the lead of the Juniors after the retirement of John Byrne. But things were not so good for Craig’s father Ray Breen and co driver Martin Brady after replacing the broken throttle motor on their Kel Tech Ford Focus WRC in service the same problem came back to haunt them causing them to retire from the rally.

With 2 stages remaining it was still tight at the top of the leader board. Stage 5 was a repeat of stage 2 Goatenbridge. Cronin’s 17 second advantage was soon down to 13 seconds as Harding set fastest time. Pat O’Connell held on to 3rd spot from Denis Cronin in 4th with James Murphy moving into 5th overall from Frank Kelly. With 1 stage remaining it was all to play for. Keith Cronin and Greg Shinnors showed their exceptional talent through the final stage to set fastest time once again 22 seconds ahead of their nearest rivals Trevor Harding/Andrew Purcell, securing the 22year old West Cork man his first Irish Forestry win. Denis Cronin/Helen O’Sullivan pulled out all the stops over the final test to just get ahead of Pat O’Connell/Mark Wiley and take the final podium place with James Murphy/Anthony Nestor rounding off the top 5. Frank Kelly/Liam Brennan finished 6th overall and secured the top 2 wheel drive award with 7th place going to the 2008 forestry championship runner up John Reid co driven by the 2008 championship winning co driver Enda Shields. 2008 Wexford Dick Bailey Stages rally winners Pj McGrath/Billy Collins brought their Subaru Impreza WRC home in 8th with Stephen McGrath/Kevin Joyce who had one of the best drives of the rally to come home in 9th followed by Seamus O’Connell/Sean Duggan in 10th place.

Craig Breen/Sorcha Kelly were the winners of the junior rally from Monaghan’s Vincent McAree/JP McAree with 3rd place going to Kevin Gallagher/Gavin Gallagher, making the long trip down to Mitchlestown worthwhile for the Donegal crew.

Class winners on the day were – Class 1 Shane McGinn/Anthony Concannon, Class 2 – Micheal Nevin/Alan Higgins, Class 3 – Micheal Cuddihy/Richie Coady, Class 4 – Aurther Kierans/Ashley McAdoo, Class 5 – Frank Kelly/Liam Brennan, Class 6 – Gerard Lucey/James Lucey, Class 7 – James Murphy/Anthony Nestor, Class 8 – Pat O’Connell/Mark Wiley, Class 9 – Craig Breen/Sorcha Kelly.

Well done to Tom Dunne and his team who ran an excellent event and pulled out all the stops to make sure the event ran smoothly all day. Next round of the Petro Systems National Forestry Championship the Carrick o Suir Wm Loughman Forestry Rally will take place on March 1st. Entry form and regulations are now available.

Video Clips

Posted: February 10, 2009 5:21 PM

First blood to Breen in Irish Junior Rally Championship

Posted: February 10, 2009 5:01 PM

Kilkenny’s Craig Breen took an emphatic win in the opening round of the Petro Systems National Junior Rally Championship at Mitchelstown, Tipperary yesterday (8 February).

The 18-year old from Kilmurry and his co-driver, Sorcha Kelly overcame challenging icy conditions to take their first win of the season and the early championship lead.

Craig, who switched from international karting to rallying just last year said, “We’re both absolutely thrilled. It’s an incredible feeling, especially for me. To take a win so early in my career is just fantastic.”

His delight was compounded by the fact that the event hadn’t got off to a flying start. “The first stage was cancelled due to the snow and the second stage was shortened because of the bad weather again. When we got underway, I decided not to take any chances and that approach saw us move into third in class but 20 seconds off the lead.”

During the service interval Craig’s team made crucial alterations to the car’s set-up that would allow him to push the little C2R2 Citroen harder in the following stages. This he did, to great effect.

“On the third stage, I just got my head down and took 24 seconds out of my competitors which gave us a 4 second lead.”

Their bid for victory received a further boost when the crew in second place was forced to retire with fuel pump failure, effectively increasing Breen’s margin to 40 seconds. Not content with that, Craig decided to press home his advantage and attacked again on the remaining stages.

“We stayed fastest for the rest of the day and eventually took the win by over a minute from Vincent McAree. I think playing that safe card on stage two proved to be the right thing to do although, if I’d have pressed harder we could’ve been higher up in the rally’s overall standings (18th). Still, we did the job we set out to do, so I’m delighted that we achieved that.”

He added, “I’d just like to thank Sorcha and the team, who worked so hard to give us a great car with which to go out and win.”

Craig’s next round of the championship will be on 1 March, when he competes in the Carrick-on-Suir Forestry Rally.

To follow his fortunes and learn more about his burgeoning rallying career, visit

Posted: February 8, 2009 9:53 PM

2WD winners: Frank Kelly/Liam Brennan (Ford Escort MK2)


Posted: February 8, 2009 9:37 PM

1 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) GpN 00:33:26
2 Trevor J. Harding/Andrew Purcell (Subaru Impreza 555) 00:34:01
3 Denis Cronin/Helen O'Sullivan (Subaru Impreza WRC) 00:34:54
4 Pat O'Connell/Mark Wiley (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) GpN 00:34:59
5 James Murphy/Anthony Nestor (Ford Escort WRC) 00:35:42
6 Frank Kelly/Liam Brennan (Ford Escort MK2) 00:35:50
7 John Reid/Enda Shields (Toyota Corolla WRC) 00:36:12
8 PJ McGrath/Billy Collins (Subaru Impreza WRC) 00:36:20
9 Stephen McGrath/Kevin Joyce (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) GpN 00:37:08
10 Seamus O'Connell/Sean Duggan (Ford Escort MK2) 00:37:17

Leader After
SS1 - Cancelled
SS2 Pat O'Connell/Mark Wiley (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) GpN
SS3-6 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) GpN

Stage Winners
SS1 - Cancelled
SS2 Pat O'Connell/Mark Wiley (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) GpN
SS3 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) GpN
SS4 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) GpN
SS5 Trevor J. Harding/Andrew Purcell (Subaru Impreza 555)
SS6 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) GpN

Cronin Motorsport kick off 2009

Posted: February 8, 2009 8:53 PM

The team will kick-start 2009 this Sunday when both Keith/Greg and Denis/Helen travel to Mitchelstown to compete in the first round of the National Forestry Championship, the Sean Conlon Memorial Forestry Rally run by Tipperary Motor Club.

It is 2 years since Keith competed in Mitchelstown, however on that occasion he acquitted himself well, finishing second overall, even challenging for the lead. A loose rock on the road, pulled out by a previous car, put a stop to that challenge, as the damage caused meant that he could not drive at his desired speed. Finishing second to eventual series winner Stephen Moore and winning Group N by over 2 minutes was surely a sign of great things ahead. Having gone on to compete on Last Years Mitsubishi Evo Challenge in England Keith is using Mitchelstown to get up to speed for the year, not having competed since winning the Banna Beach based Kerry Mini-Stages in November. During the course of last years Evo Challenge Keith managed to set more fastest times than any other competitor in the series. No doubt we will see his trademark speed in Mitchelstown.

Denis Cronin & Helen O’Sullivan competed on last years Forestry Championship for the first time. Never far from the top of the timesheets they had a frustrating year with handling difficulties in their Subaru WRC. A non-finish in Carrick on Suir did not help their cause. Towards the end of the year the handling problems were eventually sorted out but engine failure ensured that they could not compete on their home event in Cork.

Denis finished third in the championship and Helen went one better than him in the Navigators section, finishing second. They should be well on the pace this year and aim to improve on their 4th overall on this event last year.

More Details on the new look website:

Breen’s fired up for the forest

Posted: February 8, 2009 8:47 PM

The Mitchlestown forest in County Cork will create a spectacular backdrop for this weekend’s (7/8 February 2009) Sean Conlon Rally, which hosts the opening rounds of the National Forestry and Junior Championships.

One of the drivers tipped to be competing for honours is Kilmurry-based Craig Breen, who recently finished 2nd in class and 10th overall in the Galway International Rally - establishing himself as an early challenger for the Fiesta ST Championship title.

On Sunday however, he will swap his usual Fiesta for a Citroen C2 in order to contest the Junior class. Craig explains why, “The Fiesta is a 2-litre car and the maximum engine size you can use in the Junior Championship is 1600cc. The car’s not mine; I rent it from DJ Motorsport. It’s very different to drive to the Fiesta. The Citroen has a sequential gearbox, whereas the Fiesta has the more usual H-gate gearbox and the way the two cars handle is very different.”

Not only will Craig have to get used to driving a different car, he’ll also have to contend with a different surface. However, he’s clearly up for the challenge.
“I'm looking forward to it. I haven't been on the loose since late last year but nonetheless, I’m feeling confident. To be honest, I prefer the forest to tarmac.”

Craig acknowledges that he faces a stern test from his fellow competitors. Not least from his own father, Ray.

“There is a strong entry in my class and Dad is doing the rally also - so it will be interesting to see how we compare.”

Guiding Craig through the twists and turns of the forest will be Rosscarbery’s Sorcha Kelly.

“Sorcha’s co-driven me before and we make a good pairing. She’s got vast experience, which I’ll be drawing on, every inch of the way”.

The action starts from 8:30am on Sunday morning, when the first car leaves the start ramp based in the Square, Mitchlestown and concludes with a champagne reception at 3.30pm.

To follow Craig’s fortunes and learn more about him and his racing, visit

Final Instructions / Time & Distance

Posted: February 3, 2009 9:07 AM

Entry List

Posted: February 3, 2009 9:02 AM

Car No: Driver/Co Driver (Car) [Class ] 101 David Laddin/Martin Riordan (Mazda 323) [1]
102 Paul Driver/Fiona Cullen (Suzuki Swift) [1]
103 Sam Leech/Shane Griffen (Ford Ka) [1]
104 Enda McLoughlan/Declan Tynan (Escort MK2) [1]
105 Michael McDonnell/TBA (Suzuki Swift) [1]
106 Dermot Ryan/Declan O' Regan (Vauxhall Nova) [1]
107 Tom Sheehan/Deirdre Sheehan (Nissan Micra) [1]
108 Shane McGirn/Anthony Concannon (Toyota Starlet) [1]
109 Lloyd Hutchinson/Kevin Flanagan (Mini Cooper) [1]

201 Craig Breen/TBA (Citroen C2R2) [9]
202 John Byrnes/Kenneth Sheil (Citroen C2R2) [9]
203 Jp Ruth/TBA (Honda Civic) [9]
204 Vincnet McAree/JP McAree (Peugeot ) [9]
205 Ciaran O' Connor/John O' Connor (Honda Civic) [9]
206 John O' Connor Jnr/Carrie Moroney (Ford Escort) [9]
207 Kevin Gallagher/Gavin Gallagher (Vauxhall Nova) [9]
208 Shane Devane /Aidan Buckley (Nissan Sunny) [9]
209 Stephen McCabe/Gavin Shortt (Peugeot 106) [9]
210 Ian Downey/Brian Daniels (Opel Corsa) [9]
211 Chris Molloy/Adam Coffey (Peugeot 206) [9]
212 Kevin O' Connor/John Sheils (Peugeot 205) [9]

1 Ray Breen/Martin Brady (Ford Focus) [7]
2 Trevor J Harding/Andrew Purcell (Subaru Impreza) [7]
3 John Reid/Edna Sheilds (Toyota Corolla) [7]
4 Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors (Evo 9) [8]
5 Denis Cronin/Helen O' Sullivan (Subaru Impreza) [7]
6 Frank Kelly/Liam Brennan (Escort MK2) [5]
7 Pat O' Connell/Mark Wiley (Evo 7) [8]
8 Seamus O' Connell/Sean Duggan (Escort MK2) [5]
9 James Murphy/Anthony Nestor (WRC Escort) [7]
10 PJ McGrath/Billy Collins (Subaru Impreza) [7]

Full Entry List on Club Website:

Posted: January 31, 2009 10:20 AM

Tom Dunne and his committee at the Launch night at The Firgrove Hotel

Forestry Championshship Preview

Posted: January 31, 2009 10:19 AM

The Sean Conlon Forestry Rally will take centre stage in the 2009 Irish rallying calendar when Tipperary Motor Club host the first round of both the National Forestry Championship and the National Junior Championship on the 8th of February. Clerk of the Course Tom Dunne and his team have been working tirelessly over the past few months putting together the final touches to the championships season opener and have picked 3 smooth and testing stages which will be repeated twice with centralised service area. Headquarters once again will be the Firgrove Hotel in Mitchlestown.

A new sponsor has come on board for this years National Forestry Championship with Cork based company Petro Systems, who’s joint Managing Director Coleman Hegarty is highly regarded in rallying circles both in his role as Clerk of the Course duties most recently the 2008 Cork 20 International Rally and also as a rally official throughout the country is delighted to be involved in this years championship. Petro Systems are one of the main suppliers and installers in Ireland of forecourt equipment, fuel management, POS, car wash and jet wash systems. They also cater for Haulage and fleet companies and can supply and install fuel management and pc linked systems and also automatic truck wash systems. More information about Petro Systems and their services are available at www.petrosystems.ie

Back to defend his 2008 championship title in Mitchlestown will be Waterford’s Ray Breen in his immaculate Ford Focus WRC. Ray who finished 3rd overall in this event last year will be aiming to put his name on the Sean Conlon Memorial Trophy this year but will be pressed all the way with entries also received from Keith Cronin, Denis Cronin, Trevor J Harding, Pj McGrath, and Andrew Purcell. In Group N Patsy Keenan will once again make the long trip from America to compete and will be joined in Group N by Pat Price, Mark Sheehan, Mark Murphy and Pat O’Connell along with a host of Irelands top Gp N forestry men.

The battle for 2 wheel drive honours will be hard fought with entries been received from Frank Kelly, Brian Lawlor, Seamus O’Connell, Shay Power, Craig Breen, Mossie Fitzgerald, Mick Nevin, Lloyd Hutchinson, John Reddington, Ray Benskin and Jason Roche to name just a few and top class action can be assured from these crews.

With a fantastic prize on offer for the 2009 Junior Forestry Champion (Class 9) of a Arrive and Drive Group N Prize for the first 4 rounds of the 2010 National Forestry Championship competition will sure to be at its highest and an update on Junior competitors will be available shortly

Scrutiny will take place at O’Donnell’s Esso Service Station from 3.30pm till 8.30pm on Saturday with Paper Scrutiny at the Firgrove Hotel between 4.30pm and 9pm. Drivers Briefing will take place at 9.30pm Saturday Night also at Rally Headquarters. First competing car will leave the start ramp Sunday morning in The Square, Mitchlestown at 8.30am with a champagne reception awaiting the 2009 winners of the Sean Conlon Forestry Rally at 3.30pm Sunday afternoon.

So if you would like to have one of the best day rallying in the forest and enjoy 6 smooth challenging stages entries are still available.

Latest News

Posted: January 27, 2009 2:27 PM

The Sean Conlon Forestry Rally, based in Mitchelstown which is the first Forestry outing in the south of Ireland is only around the corner.
CoC Tom Dunne and his team from the Tipperary motor Club have put in a huge effort on the stages and promise a great weekend for anyone who attends.

Some of the top entries received so far for this first round are Ray Breen in his WRC Focus and P.J. McGrath in his impreza WRC who are sure to have a great battle all day.

In GpN Pat O'Connell who always performs well as this is his own club event will not have it all his own way with the likes of Andrew Purcell around.

In the 2wd group we are delighted to have some of the top drivers in Frank Kelly, Brian Lawlor and Seamus O'Connell so there will be plenty of sideways action on show.

This rally is the First round of the National Junior Championship which is part of the Billy Coleman award and also it is round 1 of the Forestry Junior Championship which is truly a fantastic championship for any junior competitor and there is a huge prize for the winner in a Fully funded drive in a GpN for 2010 for the 5 Forestry rounds.

So if you have not already, fill out an entry and send it in as entry's are still more than welcome which is sure to be a great event.

Posted: January 27, 2009 2:25 PM

Revised Entry Form

Posted: January 5, 2009 12:46 AM

See below:

Regulations and Entry Form

Posted: December 24, 2008 12:29 AM

2009 Sean Conlon Memorial Forestry Rally Launched

Posted: December 22, 2008 10:17 AM

The Tipperary motor Club would like to announce the launch of the 2009 Sean Conlon Memorial Forestry Rally based out of Mitchelstown Co Cork which takes place on the 8th of February. At the launch night held in the Firgrove Hotel on Monday the 1st of December the new Coc for the event Tom Dunne introduced his team, announced his plan for the event and outlined the challenges ahead for the Tipperary motor club in running an event so early in the year. The major challenges are in trying to generate interest getting sponsors and getting entries. This event is the opening round of the National Forestry championship and the new Junior championship which is sure to provide excellent competition. The Forestry championship is a fantastic way for anybody thinking of starting out on the sport or for those who like a very easy relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The club also realise the importance for drivers coming into forestry rallying the number one concern is rough stages, so that is why this year Tom Dunne and his team have focused on selecting the best possible stages and then trying to improve on them. So if you want to try out the Forestry championship for 2009 then please put the 8th of Feb in your calendar and give us a call we would be only too delighted to assist you in any way.

And to quote Greg Shinnors 10 Reasons to Compete in Foresttry Rallying

    * Competitor Friendly Format, No Recce - Hassle Free Rallying.
    * The Championship is renowned for great sportsmanship & camaraderie.
    * Juniors & 1400's run ahead of mainfield.
    * 5 Rounds, All scores to count.
    * 5 bonus points for starting all rounds.
    * Fantastic "4WD Gp N" Prize Drive for Junior Champion.
    * Separate 2WD Championship, Producing a "2WD" National Champion.
    * Safety Notes/ DVD's available by pre order from "Patterson Agencies".
    * Emphasis on Quality stages, repeat stages will Not run if too badly rutted.
    * You Will become a better driver & learn greater car control from sliding through the loose surface stages.

    More Details:

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