The Team Ireland Golf Trust has allocated a total of €231,000 to eighteen aspiring golfers who are pursuing their careers on professional golf tours.
Following an exceptionally successful 2008 there will be much focus on Irish golfers on the main tours in 2009.
The Ladies European Tour (LET) will see five Irish women competing while supported by the Trust. Rebecca Coakley, Martina Gillen and Claire Coughlan have all been awarded the top grant of €20,000 to support their ongoing efforts at the top level of European golf.
They will be joined by Tara Delaney (€20,000), the Curtis Cup golfer, who won her full Tour card at the first attempt and Hazel Kavanagh (€10,000), who returns to the LET in 2009.
Jonathan Caldwell also won his European Tour card at the first attempt at the qualifying school and will be supported with €20,000 in his first year on tour. Caldwell was a member of the successful amateur team which retained the European Team Championship in 2008.
Michael McGeady receives €15,000 to support his programme on the Challenge Tour in 2009.He made significant progress in 2008 and narrowly missed out on gaining a full European Tour car at the Qualifying School and is Ireland’s highest ranked player on the Challenge Tour.
Other players to receive support to compete on the Challenge Tour are Colm Moriarty, Alan Murray, Gareth Shaw and Simon Thornton, all will receive €12,000.
Funding is not being provided to Gareth Maybin and Michael Hoey as they have secured their full European Tour cards.
They have started the 2009 season very well and are, therefore, not currently in need of financial support from the Trust. However, the Trust will continue to offer both players non-financial supports available to Trust golfers.
As part of the Trust’s support package, all the golfers can avail of the coaching expertise of Brendan McDaid, consultant PGA professional, and the world class facilities at the GUI’s National Academy at Carton House. The golfers on the scheme also have free access to the network of service providers such as physiologists, sports psychologists, biomechanists, physiotherapists, and doctors offered by the Irish Sports Council to the athletes on the International Carding Scheme.
Michael McGeady, one of today’s recipients spoke of the impact the Trust has had on his career, explaining: “The support from the Team Ireland Golf Trust has been of great benefit to me since I turned professional. Firstly the financial support is a real practical benefit as competing on international tours is expensive. The coaching and other services are a great benefit as golf professionals are increasingly seeking specialist science and medical support. Finally, over the years the Trust has supported many of the top Irish players and it is a boost to be selected on the scheme”.
This is the tenth year of the Trust, which has provided €2.3 million in financial support to golfers to date. The Trust, which is administered by the Irish Sport Council, aims to contribute to an increase in the presence of Irish golf professionals on the various international tours.
It is a partnership between state agencies and the various golf organisations. Financial backing for the Trust is provided by the Irish Sports Council, Fáilte Ireland and the PGA European Tour.
Established players on the main European Tour, who have benefited from the Trust in the past, are Padraig Harrington, Paul McGinley, Peter Lawrie, Damien McGrane and Gary Murphy.
Trust Chairman Padraig O’hUiginn stated; “The Trust was established with a very specific goal in mind, increasing the number of Irish golfers competing and winning on the top tours and hence promoting Ireland, north and south, as a golf destination. Many golf courses are dependent on overseas golfers who are attracted by the success of Irish golfers internationally.”
Mr. O’hUiginn added; “2008 was a great year for Irish golf and for the Trust with so much success on the European Tour. It demonstrates that sustained long-term investment in talent will bring results. We are proud and delighted with the achievements of Irish golfers and hope for more success in 2009”
The Irish PGA, the Golfing Union of Ireland, and the Irish Ladies Golf Union, along with the state agencies are represented on the Team Ireland Golf Trust committee, which is chaired by Mr. O’hUiginn.
Team Ireland Golf Trust Applicant 2009
- Jonathan Caldwell Co. Down European Tour €20,000
- Martina Gillen Co. Cavan Ladies European Tour €20,000
- Claire Coughlan Co. Cork Ladies European Tour €20,000
- Rebecca Coakley Co. Carlow Ladies European Tour €20,000
- Tara Delaney Co. Carlow Ladies European Tour €20,000
- Michael McGeady Co. Donegal Challenge Tour €15,000
- Alan Murray Co. Wicklow Challenge Tour €12,000
- Gareth Shaw Co .Antrim Challenge Tour €12,000
- Colm Moriarty Co. Westmeath Challenge Tour €12,000
- Simon Thornton Co. Down Challenge Tour €12,000
- Brian McElhinney Co. Donegal Europro Tour & Challenge Tour €10,000
- Peter O'Keeffe Co. Cork Europro Tour & Challenge Tour €10,000
- Richard Kilpatrick Co. Down Europro Tour & Challenge Tour €10,000
- Hazel Kavanagh Co. Dublin Ladies European Tour €10,000
- Mark Campbell Co. Dublin EPD Tour & Challenge Tour €7,000
- Niall Turner Co .Cork US Hooters Tour €7,000
- Paul O'Hanlon Co. Kildare Europro Tour €7,000
- Marian Riordan Co. Dublin Ladies European Tour €7,000
Total Allocations for 2009 €231,00