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Dylan Casey, who plays with the Banner GAA, outside the car his father John Casey will be driving to every GAA club in Clare this weekend

Motorists go down electric avenue for GAA club fundraiser

AN Ennis man who recently returned from a humanitarian mission helping Ukrainians flee the war with Russia is this week embarking on a fundraising mission a little closer to home.

This Saturday John Casey, founder of the Tesla Owners Group in Ireland and fellow electric vehicle enthusiast ex international rugby player Peter Bracken, will be setting off on a mammoth trip around Clare to raise funds for the Banner GAA. They will visit every GAA club in the county on their journey of more than 550km.

John explains that as well as raising money for capital development at the club the trip will also help challenge the perception that electric vehicles cannot travel long ranges.

“There are 52 GAA clubs in County Clare and the distance to be covered is approximately 550km starting and finishing at the Banner GAA grounds in Ennis. We will be travelling to the four corners of the county from Naomh Eoin in the West to Ballyvaughan in North Clare, Whitegate in the East and nearly into Limerick with Parteen.

“We reckon it will take approximately 14 hours to complete. There is this perception that in rural Ireland electric vehicles can’t function, that they run out of range. But that’s complete misinformation, electric vehicles now have ranges of 300 to 400km, that caters for most people’s daily driving needs. Even if the service stations are not there, which is unfortunately due to rural depopulation, there is a plug in every house in rural Ireland,” he says.

The pair have secured an electric vehicle with support from MG Ireland and Sheils Garage Gort Road Ennis for the event and plan to use drone footage to catch images of the vehicle during the day.

John is a member of the executive and a coach with the Shanaway Road-based Banner GAA Club which caters for boys and girls from 4 years of age to adult hood playing all four codes, Gaelic Football, Hurling, Ladies Football and Camogie.

In 2022 the club plans to embark on an extension of its facilities by increasing the size of the hurling wall, to add a gym facility, add additional car park spaces and to install a walking track around its facilities.

“It is a very vibrant club and we have a lot of plans for the future,” says John. “We have players like Shane Meehan who is on the Clare senior panel and is a mighty player, a really solid up and coming star who was brought from a young age to where he is now, and there is more like him to come on the conveyor belt from the club.

“This is an up and coming club and at the moment our focus is on extending our hurling wall and expanding our facilities to cater for growing membership and our expanding community.”

He is urging people to show their support for the fundraising effort and the club with donations to https://www.idonate.ie/fundraiser/bannerevchallenge

John was among a convoy of drivers who recently brought 40 Ukrainian refugees along with 10 dogs, 11 cats and a guinea pig, from Poland back to Ireland.

The humanitarian endeavour was the brainchild of group member Tom McEnaney who has been involved in charities operating in eastern Europe for 25 years.

Donations can still be made towards the Ukraine appeal at https://www.gofundme.com/f/ukrainian-refugee-appeal

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