Connacht Rugby to host ‘Care4Claire’ charity cycle

Connacht coach Andy Friend and Academy manager Eric Elwood will take part in a special provincial-wide charity cycle on Saturday August 13.

The 218km cycle from The Sportsground to Sligo RFC is in aid of Sligo native Claire Carpenter, who suffered a serious and life-changing stroke.

Claire, whose partner Ross Mannion is a rugby participation officer with Connacht Rugby and head coach of the 2021 Connacht Women’s team, is recovering, but funds are needed to allow her to continue her rehabilitation at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, and eventually lead an independent life at home.

The couple, who have three children, aged 14, 10 and seven, were in the process of organising their wedding this summer which, having been postponed twice due to Covid, has again been delayed to focus on Claire’s health and well being.

Shortly after her stroke a GoFundMe page was set up to support Claire and her family. Some €90,000 has been donated, and Connacht Rugby is hoping to increase that amount to ensure the family receives all help they need.

The cycle will begin at The Sportsground in Galway in the early hours of Saturday August 13 and will finish at Sligo RFC. The route will take in all five counties with stops in Ballinrobe and Ballyhaunis Co Mayo, Frenchpark Co Roscommon, Carrick-on-Shannon Co Leitrim, and finally Ross and Claire’s home in Coolaney Co Sligo, before the final stretch to Sligo RFC.

In addition to support through the GoFundMe page, Connacht Rugby is looking for volunteers to help the riders at stops en route. All vacancies on the cycle have been filled, but contact Connacht Rugby or local clubs to register your interest if more vacancies arise.

Email [email protected] with the subject line ‘Care4Claire’.


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