Tributes paid to three-time rally champion

Kevin Forde


Kevin Forde


Manus Kelly

The Late Manus Kelly, pictured celebrating wining three in a row at the Donegal International rally alongside his co-driver, Donal Barrett

Tributes are pouring in following the death of rally driver, Manus ‘Mandy’ Kelly, at the Donegal International rally on Sunday, June 23.

The fatal crash occurred at 12:30pm and the final stages of the rally were cancelled as a result of the collision. It was confirmed later that day that the fatality was three-in-a-row Donegal rally champion and local councillor, Mr Manus Kelly.

Mr Kelly's Hyundai i20 R5 crashed after hitting a bump on the Fanad Head stage, near Baile na Brocar.

The car went through a hedge and into a field and was extensively damaged. His navigator, Donal Barrett, was injured as a result of the crash and is being treated in Letterkenny University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Manus Kelly was recently elected onto the Donegal council in the Letterkenny electoral area at the first time of asking, receiving in excess of 900 first preference votes while running for Fianna Fáil. He was also the managing director of Tailored Facility Solutions and the owner of a café in Letterkenny.

Donegal Motor Club and Motorsport Ireland paid tribute to the former champion: “Donegal Motor Club and Motorsport Ireland would like to extend its sympathies to the family and friends of Manus Kelly who was fatally injured during a tragic accident while competing in the Donegal International Rally on Sunday, 23rd June 2019.

“Manus was a three-time winner of the rally and was immensely popular in the rally fraternity.
“He was elected to Donegal County Council in the recent elections and was a prominent businessman in Donegal. Our thoughts are with his family and all affected at this time.”

The Clerk of the Course for the Donegal International Rally, Eamonn McGee, also paid tribute to Mr Kelly, describing the tragic news as "devastating".

"He was a great ambassador for the sport and for the Donegal Motor Club and for the county as well," he said.

Donnelly motorsport also posted their own tribute, “It’s hard to believe we start a new day without Manus Kelly a true legend and pure gentleman.

“Our condolences to Bernie and their children, the wider family circle, friends and the whole team.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Rest In Peace Manus.”

Rally driver Ken Block also tweeted his condolences, “Ireland lost a true legend...RIP Manus Kelly.”