The service area at the 1998 Castle Stages Rally in Oldcastle.

Rally film from 1998 fuelled up with nostalgia

Rallying fans of a certain vintage will appreciate a video posted on the Motorsport Ireland YouTube channel last week.

It’s from the Castle Stage Rally of September 1998, in Oldcastle, County Meath.

That’s a whole generation ago now, and the short film shows just how much has changed compared to 2023… or has it? Presenter Gary Gillespie of RPM shows a brief glimpse of that day’s Sunday Independent, when the lead headline was: ‘No’ says Flynn to £50,000 allegation.

That was a distraction in Oldcastle though, where the focus was on the crews, the cars and the stages.

The late great Rory Galligan was showing his potential in his green Peugeot 205.

Rory went on to achieve great things in rallying, and that day in 1998, he had the lightly modified 205 up to sixth place overall in the company of cars that should have been much faster.

His sister Ethel was co-driver, but the Peugeot didn’t make the finish, and they retired with mechanical problems. Stilll though, Rory had made clear his intention.

James and Ann Foley.

Navan crew James and Ann Foley were also good at slaying more powerful rallying giants, in their Honda Civic - and there’s an interview and footage, including the in-car camera, of Dominic Loughran, a charismatic driver in what has to be one of the most charismatic cars ever to appear in rallying, the BMW M3. Lisa Mangan was co-driver that day, and they managed a top 10 finish despite a mechanical hiccup on the last stage.

The Foleys finished seventh and won their class, for the 15th time in 15 rallies.

Breen McNamee and Mark Maguire also got a mention as they took the class seven win in their Peugeot 205, and 17th overall.

The Ballyjamesduff legend Connie Smith was there reunited with his famous black MkII Escort for "a once-off drive". He finished fifth and won his class, with James Murtagh alongside.

Niall Maguire/Sean Walsh and Charlie Donnelly/Gerry McVeigh were the main protagonists, along with Denis Biggerstaff/Noel Orr and Robert Moffett/Damien Philips. Donnelly and McVeigh took the win in their Toyota.

See for yourself – if you like rallying, it’s well worth a watch.