Last Sunday, St Patrick’s Day as it happens, three young emigrants from Mullingar played a pivotal role on the opening day of the 2019 Formula 1 racing season.
As all F1 fans will know, the first race of this year’s championship was staged at the famous Albert Park circuit in the city of Melbourne, Australia.
Mullingar brothers, Daryl and Neil O’Toole from Assumption Villas along with Neil’s girlfriend, Orla Lynch from Castlepollard, were privileged to be part of the huge team of volunteers that are required to ensure that this spectacular sporting event runs off smoothly.
Having entered a lottery-type competition to work as volunteers, all three were delighted when event organisers contacted them to say that their applications were successful. Orla was chosen to work in the VIP hospitality area while the two O’Toole brothers were assigned to a pre-race flag parade on the grid at Albert Park. They clearly had a fabulous day out and made the best of their “access all areas” accreditations.
Working in hospitality, Orla was mixing with some of the world’s biggest celebrities while the two lads were given access to the pits and garages before and after the race.
It was here that they managed to get their photo taken with several of the sports leading names including race winner and Mercedes driver, Valtteri Bottas who is a teammate of runner-up Lewis Hamilton.
The three are now, to varying degrees, resident in Australia with Daryl living permanently in Cairns while Neil and Orla are enjoying a two-year stint travelling around the “Land Down Under”. Daryl went to Oz nine years ago and following a spell working in Melbourne he eventually moved to Cairns where he now lives with his wife Megan and works as Facilities Manager at Barlow Park sports stadium.
Neil, who is a Westmeath football championship winner with St Loman’s, Mullingar, departed for Australia with Orla last June. They enjoyed a break in Cairns prior to a spell of travelling through Queensland before commencing their three month Regional work on a dairy farm in Victoria.
They are now living and working in Melbourne but planning on returning to Cairns later this year.