Former Connacht rugby players on the drive for Rare Diseases

Two former Connacht Rugby players are taking to the road on Saturday to raise much-needed funds for Rare Diseases Ireland.

Peter Bracken and Mikey Smyth are attempting to drive through the 32 counties of Ireland in 24 hours in a 100 per cent electric car, donated by Connolly Motor Group (Ballina, Galway, Letterkenny and Sligo ).

The two former team mates start their adventure from Connolly Motors in Ballina, on Saturday at 2pm and plan to complete the circuit around 12 noon the following day in Connolly Motors, Ballybrit, Co Galway, driving clockwise through all 32 counties.

Bracken, who also played rugby with Tullamore RFC, Wasps, and Ireland A, is a well known advocate of electric cars, and he says the two have chosen Rare Diseases Ireland as the beneficiary of their fundraising efforts in recognition of all the awareness, advocacy and support it offers to people living with rare conditions and their families.

“We all know someone with a rare disease and we really appreciate the invaluable work that RDI does for the rare community, so if we can do something worthwhile for RDI, we will.”

Along the way the two former teammates plan to “catch up with old friends, have some craic, raise some money, and prove that electric cars are a brilliant option in Ireland”.

Jessica Higgins, group marketing manager of Connolly Motor Group, says she is confident the two will reach their target.

“We are excited to support the guys with this challenge – 32 counties in 24 hours is no mean feat. Electric vehicles are the future – the range is growing, and with the expanding infrastructure across Ireland, the guys will never be short of fuel.”

Vicky McGrath, CEO of Rare Diseases Ireland, says it is “a rare challenge for the rare community”.

“We are delighted Peter and Mikey have chosen to support RDI with this extraordinary challenge. We are thankful to them for raising awareness for people across Ireland living with rare conditions. And of course the important role for e-vehicles in the battle against climate change.”

An estimated 300,000 people live with rare diseases in Ireland - with 72 per cent of rare diseases genetic in origin.

To follow the two as they sing songs and have fun; they will be live-streaming their journey on Facebook ( ) and Instagram ( ) – #PeterTrys32Counties.

To support the endeavour and RDI, donate via the iDonate Page Full details of the route are available on Visit; Instagram,

For more information contact Rare Diseases Ireland, [email protected] or +353 87 933 4829.


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