Michael McGeady will return to defend his Irish PGA Championship crown at the historic Adare Manor Golf Club [not to be confused with the luxury Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort Golf Club on the far bank of the River Maigue] at Adare in Co Limerick from September 30 – October 5.
Last year, the 36-year-old from Derry edged out Ballyliffin's Damien Mooney and Monkstown's Cian McNamara to lift the title, adding his name to a list of Ireland's golfing greats including the likes of Christy O'Connor Snr, Harry Bradshaw, Des Smyth, Padraig Harrington and current Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley.
“To be honest, I didn't realise just how prestigious a title it was until I had a look at some of the former winners,” said Michael who recently became a father for the second time.
“It was a very important victory for me. I was considering hanging the clubs up but winning the Irish Championship helped me through the winter and also helped to get the 2014 season up and running.
“Playing the Irish region events and winning certainly builds confidence and while I haven't been able to get over the line on the Europro Tour, I've given myself chances to win and that's all you can really ask of yourself.”
Michael has had three top five finishes in his last four Europro tournaments but his current focus is on making it through the first stage of Q-School in France next week.
“I really want to do well and I am preparing as best as I can, working on my short game and distance control, trying to get everything as tight as possible for going away,” he said.
“When I get back I'll start thinking about Adare Manor. I've never played it before and I believe it's very tight. In an ideal world I would be playing some tournament golf leading up to the Irish Championship but that's simply the way my schedule is at the minute.”
The full field for the Irish Championship, supported once again by the Down Syndrome Centre, has yet to be confirmed but Christy O'Connor Jnr has indicated that he will play in the tournament Pro-Am on October 1.
The main goal of the Down Syndrome Centre is to provide vital services, to support parents in developing a knowledge and understanding of this intellectual disability, and to portray the positive life outcomes that are available for children born with Down Syndrome.
“We are delighted to be associated with this year's Irish PGA Championship which is being held in the wonderful surroundings of the Adare Manor Golf Club. We have enjoyed our ongoing relationship with the PGA which is helping us to raise much needed funds to run a centre dedicated to people with Down syndrome,” says Peter Gaw, founder of the Down Syndrome Centre.
“This is a very exciting time for us, having recently leased a premises we expect to have our doors open this autumn. The centre is needed now more than ever and we are delighted to be so close to realising our mission of providing services to children with their Down syndrome, along with support and advice to their families.”
Adare Manor GC
In the late 1890's the Earl of Dunraven employed Scottish professional Ben Sayers to design a nine-hole golf course on the Earl's estate in Adare. This course was completed in 1900. In 1932 the club affiliated to the Golfing Union of Ireland and so the foundation of the current club were formed. Even as a nine hole course, Adare Manor Golf Club had many successes, principally the winning of the All-Ireland Final of the Pierce Purcell shield in 1985. It also produced one of the most accomplished Irish Amateur golfers in Jackie Harrington. Jackie was capped many times for Ireland but his finest hour came when he won the Irish Close Championship at Ballybunion in 1979.
In 1992 the current 18 hole course, designed by Eddie Hackett, was opened and in the year 2000 the club celebrated its centenary. It was indeed fitting that the present Earl of Dunraven was President of the club for the Centenary year. A 5000 year old bog oak sculpture was erected at the back of the 18th green to commemorate this special occasion and a time capsule was buried at its base. The capsule is to be resurrected in the year 2050.
The Down Syndrome Centre
The Down Syndrome Centre is a small charity with a big heart. We are focussed on ensuring that children with Down syndrome in Ireland are given all the chances possible to reach their full potential.
Once open, our centre will house essential therapies, an extensive resource centre, a Mum & Tots class called SKIP which is based on occupational therapy, as well as continuing the seminars and workshops we provide currently.
We are on the cusp of opening a centre that will provide all of the above and more. We invite you to be a part of the foundations upon which children with Down syndrome can build their future.
Peter is a father of four whose two youngest children, Tara and Harrison, were born with Down syndrome. Peter and his family were shocked by the lack of support and services available to them, and from speaking with other families it became apparent that something needed to be done. From his frustration sprung The Down Syndrome Centre, a first of its kind in Ireland.