4 December 2016

Motorsport Ireland weekend roundup

Andy Johnson, from Killinchy, Co Down and his co-driver Jim McSherry were the clear winners of the Rentokil Initial Historic Car Rally at Killarney, with their Vauxhall Chevette completing the seven classic stages more than two minutes ahead of the Ford Escort of runners-up Keith McIvor and David Burns, writes Richard Burke.  

Seven times Circuit of Ireland winner Jimmy McRae showed that he has lost none of his fire by winning the Post-Historic section in a Vauxhall Firenza, while Ryan Barrett and Paul McCann from Omagh were best in the Classic section in an Escort, beating Welshman Melvyn Evans in a similar car. 

Third place in the Killarney Historic Stages Rally yesterday saw Owen Murphy take maximum points in the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Historic Championship. With Anthony Nestor on the pace notes, Murphy was driving the iconic ex-Russell Brookes Sunbeam Lotus and despite being hampered by a misfire for most of the day, he set some excellent times on the seven stage event. (Owen Murphy and Anthony Nestor are pictured above).

Reigning Young Rally Driver of the Year, local ace Rob Duggan, scored a narrow victory over Jack Newman in the Modified class, both driving Escorts.

3 December 2016

Joe Mallon Motors celebrates 30 years

Renault dealer Joe Mallon Motors celebrated 30 years in business last week with a special 'Anniversary Style Games' celebrity event at the Naas-based dealership, writes Trish Whelan.

Joe has been looking after customers since 1986 when he took over the former Smiths showroom that year. Since then, he has passed the mantle over to his sons Philip and Anthony and daughter Ethna, keeping the business in the family.

"I am thrilled to be celebrating our 30th year in business," Joe said at the event. "I feel a lot of our customers have trust in us because of the family aspect to the business. We live nearby too, so the business is very much part of the local community. We get a lot of returning custom be it with trade-ins or for servicing, which we are truly grateful for."

Currently the dealership employs 35 people in both sales and mechanical roles in the Sallins Road branch alone. There is a second outlet in Portlaoise which employs 15 people in similar roles.

Joe Mallon Motors has long standing sponsorships of Cappagh GAA, Allenwood GAA and the Kildare GAA Development squad.

Since opening in Naas, the dealership has sold over 25,000 Renault cars and vans, and serviced over 144,000 cars.

Pictured above at the anniversary celebrations are Paddy Magee, Country Operations Manager, Renault Ireland and his wife Claire. The Renault Ireland boss paid tribute to Joe and his team.

"In Kildare, the Mallon's name is synonymous with exemplary customer service and the highest of standards in the motor industry. Kildare is a very important catchment area for Renault and the fact that Mallon's are celebrating their 30th anniversary shows how successful they've been within the motor industry in the county, and also in Portlaoise. Joe and his family are a credit to the Renault name and we look forward to their next 30 years in business."

Renault Ambassador Lorraine Keane went head-to-head with Fashion Editor Bairbre Power in styling some of the local GAA ladies' and men's team players in a fun fashion evening, with clothes and accessories from local boutiques and stores in the Naas area. MC for the night was fashion stylist Darren Kennedy.

Joe Mallon, Renault Ambassador Rosemary Smith, and Paddy Magee of Renault Ireland are pictured above.

Also pictured are Kildare GAA models Kevin Feely, Peter Kelly, Cian Forde and Dan Flynn; and Kildare GAA models, Rachel Cribbin, Eadaoin Connolly and Ellen Dowling.

2 December 2016

Busy year ahead for Mercedes-Benz

2017 promises to be another busy year for Mercedes-Benz in Ireland, writes Trish Whelan.

The German carmaker increased its sales here by 44pc this year.

Scheduled to arrive in Q1 will be a new 'dream car' in the shape of a new S-Class Cabriolet which will bring the joys of open-top driving to the premier S-Class range. Also in Q1, the E-Class range will gain an E-Class Coupe followed in mid-year by an E-Class Cabriolet, and a new E-Class All-Terrain model as well as a revamped GLA entry-level SUV.

In 2017, the company will advance developments already in the pipeline, including their entry into electric-powered motoring. It's expected that Q3 will see two especially exotic AMG models - a GTR and GTC.

Ciaran Allen, sales manager for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars in Ireland said "Over recent years, as new models have become available, we have seen Mercedes-Benz expand its base in city and suburban driveways, in rural environments, and amongst younger drivers, male and female.

“As models due here in 2017 indicate, this new approach is now an embedded element in the unfolding Mercedes-Benz story as the company plots its course towards 2020 and the expected doubling of its market share globally” he said.

Pictured above is the Mercedes-AMG GTR – one of the exotic introductions planned by the German luxury carmaker for 2017.

Irish Ferries scores a 'Perfect 10'

Irish Ferries had reason to celebrate after making history at the 25th Silver Jubilee Irish Travel Trade News Awards.

For the 10th year in succession and 19th time overall, the company was voted Ireland’s ‘Best Ferry Company’ at the 2016 gala ceremony held in Dublin recently, writes Trish Whelan.

Awarded on foot of another successful year for Irish Ferries, the accolade was bestowed on the company following the independent votes of travel trade professionals working in agencies across Ireland, north and south.

The latest success brings to three, the number of ‘Best Ferry Company’ titles currently held by Irish Ferries having also been awarded the top honour at the 2016 Irish Travel Industry Awards and 2016 Travel Media Awards.

Accepting the award on behalf of Irish Ferries, their head of passenger sales Dermot Merrigan thanked travel agents for their continued support, adding: “It’s an unbelievable honour for Irish Ferries to be voted Ireland’s ‘Best Ferry Company’ every year for the past decade and to be recognised for our continuous efforts to provide the highest possible level of service to our partners in the travel trade.”

Acknowledging the ‘hard work and very valuable service’ that travel agents provide, Mr Merrigan added that the company looks forward to working closely with the trade once again in 2017.

Dermot Merrigan (right) is pictured receiving the award from sponsor Niall McCarthy of Cork Airport at the Awards ceremony.