Imokilly Motor Club revs up with the Talbot collection

20 Award Recipients, Donal McGrath, Imokilly Motor Club, and Emmet Cronin, Imokilly Motor Club with Amy Horgan, Group Sales & Marketing The Talbot Collection and Janice McConnell, General Manager, Midleton Park Hotel and their families Mary, Eimear and Áine McGrath; Betty, Denis, Julie, Martha and Tom Cronin; Mary McGrath-Murphy, Mary McGrath wife and Valarie Connors-Fogarty Talbot Collection Cork, Community, Business and Sport award, August Winner; Emmet Cronin & Donal McGrath Imokilly Motor Club at the Midelton Park Hotel, main sponsors and AIB Midleton award sponsors. Repro Free News Socials 09/08/2018, Picture: Ger Bonus.


The latest winners of the Talbot Collection Cork Community, Business and Sports Awards are Donal McGrath and Emmet Cronin of the Imokilly Motor Club. This month’s award falls under the Community Award category.

The Awards Scheme is sponsored by Talbot Collection Cork along with Award Sponsors AIB Midleton & Ballincollig.

Recent winners of the award have been Paul Byrne of TV3 (Community Award), Jameson Distillery (Business), John Caulfield, Cork City FC Manager and St. Mary’s High School Midleton Equestrian Team (Sports). Tom Butler of Ballincollig Tidy Towns Committee received the Community Award in March, Billie Jean Sargent received her Community Award following her Rhythm Dance Company’s fantastic Ireland’s Got Talent win in February and Bob Savage of EMC received the Business Award in January 2018.

On the night of October 29th 1997 a group of motor enthusiasts gathered in McGraths Pub in Ballycotton with the view to forming a motor club. This part of the country used to see a lot of rallying over the years, with stages of the Cork 20 and the famous Glenside rally, but this hadn’t happened for quite a few years. Many of those present on the first night are still heavily involved in the club. The first order of business on the night was to establish a name for the club. The minutes record that John “Chubby” Connors proposed that the new club would be called “Imokilly Motor Enthusiasts Club”. This was seconded by Patrick McCarthy and so the club was born.

The first committee was then elected.
* President – Tommy O’Regan
* Chairperson – Pat Maguire
* Vice Chairperson – Godfrey Kirby
* Secretary – Margaret Casey Godfrey
* Assistant Secretary – Sharon Mullane
* Treasurer – Brendan Higgins
* Assistant Treasurer – Joe Cronin
* P.R.O – Martin Godfrey

The committee then set about seeking affiliation to the Royal Irish Automobile Club. This was a process that would take over eight years. Year after year the club applied for affiliation only to be turned down each time, the main stumbling block being the amount of other clubs in the area. Without affiliation the club were unable to run motorsport events so they spent these years helping out other clubs with their events and organising social events for members.  The annual dinner dance being the highlight of our year, sometimes attracting nearly 250 guests. During that time the club also dropped the word “enthusiasts” from the club name and the club became known as Imokilly Motor Club. Finally on the night of January 18th 2006 as one of the usual club meetings was taking place, a call came through from Motorsport Ireland – affiliation had just been approved. Finally, Imokilly could organize their own events.  The main objective remained the same as it did on that night in October ’97, to get rallying back into the area. However there would be another wait of 6 years for this. During these years the club concentrated on other events, Autocrosses, Autotests, Hillclimbs and Rallysprints. Finally the dream was fulfilled in 2012 when the club ran the Great Stuff Caterers Imokilly Single Stage Rally. This has now become an annual event for the club and they also continue to run a number of other events each year.

As a club Imokilly Motor Club are always looking to recruit new members in order to keep the club strong and to help take it forward. If anyone has an interest in motorsport why not join and make motorsport happen in the East Cork area.

Emmet is a Multiple class winner in forest rallies and a class winner in the Valvoline Forest National Rally Championship on numerous occasions. This year is proving to be one of his most successful years to date 3 class wins from 3 rounds of the Forest Rally Championship now heading to the Tar Mac of the Stonethrowers Rally Next Sunday as he leads the South East Stages Rally Championship Emmets best result to date came with a 14th overall on the recent Ravens Rock Rally. Emmet rallies a Mk2 Escort with a 1600  8 valve engine.

Emmet Cronin has held most positions in the club over the years and was Clerk of the Course for the Imokilly Mini Stages 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

There is no doubt that under Emmet’s watch the rally has gone from strength to strength, a well-run competitor friendly event and having  the Midleton Park Hotel as HQ  and service, scrutiny and Parc Ferme in the one location has made the rally a firm favourite.

The Midleton Park Hotel is an excellent HQ with good food and friendly helpful staff, which has made it a firm favourite with all the rally followers on the weekend. Janice McConnell was easy and efficient to deal with on the run up to the rally and overall the Midleton Park Hotel was excellent.

This year the rally had its ceremonial start in Main Street Midleton to bring the rally to the people and this was a huge success. Midleton town and the Midleton Park Hotel are now part of the Imokilly Mini Stages Rally and so for the foreseeable future this is where the rally will stay.

Donal McGrath has had some impressive class results over the years he rallied a Mk1  and Mk 2 Escort then gave up for years ( or should we say was cured) but came back a few years ago with the Twin Cam Corolla, still rallies the Twin Cam but now it’s a 2 litre Class 13 car.

Donal is the current Chairman of the Imokilly Motor Club and has held various positions over the years. His pub Niall Macs is the home of the IMC where they have all their meetings.

This year Donal worked very hard to try and get the ceremonial start as part of the rally; it’s all about getting the rally to the people and more into the town of Midleton. Donal feels that each East Cork business and person can promote each other the Imokilly Motor Club to the people of Midleton and rally crews and followers can see what Midleton as a town has to offer as a base for a holiday.

There is no doubt without the help of the Superintendent Noonan and the Gardaí this would not have happened.  Donal also speaks very highly of Janice McConnell and the Midleton Park Hotel.