Rally legend MJ helps local inspirational teenager Ian O’Connell

Rally legend MJ helps local inspirational teenager Ian O’Connell

A national rally legend was one of the people behind a fundraiser that resulted in Killarney teenager Ian O’Connell receiving a wheelchair adapted car.

Ian was left paralysed after a mountain bike accident in 2017.

He has become a social media star since the accident, his positive mental attitude has been inspiration to thousands of people and he can boast mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor as his friend.

He turned 19 last week, and Spa GAA club in Killarney organised a surprise birthday barbecue but little did he know that he was about to become the proud owner of a brand-new Ford Tourneo Connect at the event.

The car was purchased through funds raised by the KN Group All-Ireland GAA Golf Challenge and one of the main organisers of the golf event was rallying royalty Mickey Joe Morrissey from County Waterford.  The KN Group is owned by rally champion Donagh Kelly.  

MJ needs no introduction to anyone involved in rallying. He has competed on at least one million (and counting) rallies and won over half them.

Best known for his time alongside Eamonn Boland he has started 50 rounds of the World Championship since making his WRC debut on Rally Finland in 1998. His most recent start, with Boland, was January’s Rallye Monte Carlo.

The legendary Waterford co-driver has over ten starts on the Rally of the Lakes, the last being in 2009 when he finished second alongside Boland in a Subaru Impreza WRC.

MJ has rallied all over the world, from the heat of desert in the Middle East, to the snow and ice of Sweden and Canada. Add in multiple starts in Greece, Italy, Barbados, Spain Germany and France and it fair to say the MJ is as much a globetrotter as he is a rally co-driver.

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