Motor sport enthusiasts were last night mourning the loss of a prominent rally driver who was killed in a crash while taking part in the Ravens Rock Rally in Co Waterford.
The crash claimed the life of Paul Mulcahy from Kilgobnet outside Dungarvan, an experienced member of the rallying circuit who took part in many of the major races over the years.
It is understood Paul and his wife Fiona Power, from Kilrossanty in Co Waterford, recently celebrated the birth of their first baby about eight weeks ago.
The crash happened at 1.30pm yesterday during stage four of the rally, on the road between Kill and Carroll’s Cross, west of Waterford City.
Reports suggested the Toyota Starlet being driven by Paul hit a stone wall.
He was pronounced dead after being taken to Waterford Regional Hospital. His co-driver, Kevin Power, was also taken to hospital where he was treated for his injuries.
His condition was unknown last night but gardaí said they believed his life was not in danger.
The rest of the rally was cancelled as a mark of respect.
The road was closed to the public at the time of the crash and remained sealed off after the collision while gardaí carried out a forensic road examination. The Toyota Starlet was removed from the scene by truck later in the evening.
Paul was the son of Tony and Breda Mulcahy from Kilgobnet and had one brother and one sister.
He worked as a panel-beater at Mulhearne’s Garage in Mahonbridge in Co Waterford and was a lifelong car enthusiast.
“He worked for me for 10 or 12 years and knew every single thing about cars,” Declan Mulhearne of the garage said last night.
Paul was apprentice panel- beater of the year after he completed his Fás apprenticeship.
“He was an excellent worker and a brilliant panel- beater,” Mr Mulhearne said. “It’s definitely a sad loss. It’s unbelievable.”
A local in Dungarvan who knew Paul said: “He knew cars inside out and how they operate. It’s just unreal. I couldn’t get over it.”
In a statement published on its website, Motorsport Ireland last night said it deeply regretted his death.
“As a mark of respect the organisers, Carrick-on-Suir Motor Club, have cancelled the remainder of the event. Motorsport Ireland and Carrick-on-Suir Motor Club extend their heartfelt sympathy to Paul’s family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this very sad time.”
The Ravens Rock Rally took place over the weekend and was in Co Waterford for the first time since 2005. One of the most sought-after races on the rallying scene, it formed round four of this year’s Dunlop National Rally Championship as well as round three of the Southern Rally Championship and round five of the South-East Stages Rally Championship. The rally’s headquarters for the weekend was at Dooley’s Hotel in Waterford city and the event was organised by the Carrick-on-Suir Motor Club. Club member and international driver Craig Breen is a former winner of the Ravens Rock event and is currently competing in the European Rally Championship. Paul Mulcahy was involved in preparing cars for Craig Breen and also for other rally-drivers on the national circuit.
A number of tributes were paid on the internet, including from the Twitter account of the Irish Rallying news site who said thoughts were with all involved in the rally; and from the Pacenotes Rallying Magazine.
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