Six of Ireland’s golfing young guns have signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Irish Life worth a cool half a million euro.

Irish Life Corporate Business is to back Michael Hoey, Stephen Browne, Colm Moriarty, David Higgins, Tim Rice and Justin Kehoe until 2008.

The lucky sextet will play under the ‘TEAM Irish Life’ banner in a deal that is the first of its kind in Irish golf.

Hoey, Higgins and Browne will play on the European Tour next season while Kehoe, Rice and Moriarty will be in action on the Challenge Tour.

Donal Casey, the Chief Executive of Irish Life Corporate Business said:  “We believe this sponsorship builds on Irish Life’s strong record in Irish golf and we are delighted to carry on this association in supporting the next generation of up and coming Irish golfers at a time in their careers when they most need it.”

The company backed Padraig Harrington early in his career but taking on six players at once is an entirely new concept, according to the players’ agent, Conor Ridge.

He said: “The TEAM Irish Life golf sponsorship is a very unique concept, not only within Irish golf, but on a global level.

“Horizon Sports Management is delighted to be working with a brand that shares our vision of backing a team of Irish professional golfers, who represent the next generation of Irish stars on the world stage.”

All six golfers will be promoted as a team, both in terms of TEAM Irish Life branding and corporate appearances.