Tuesday, 8 April 2008

GAA stars get fired up for charity golf event in La Manga

THESE Guys Are Good!

That's one of the slogans the PGA Tour uses to promote its players, but it also applies to a group of over 128 GAA stars who travel to La Manga, Spain, next Sunday for a massive charity fundraiser.

The idea was simple but challenging: bring 32 teams of four football and/or hurling personalities to play golf for their counties -- and the winning team will have €100,000 to dispense to its chosen charity.

This is an All Ireland with a difference but committee chairman Bernard Flynn of Meath has no illusions about the competitive element.

"There are over 60 of the lads playing off single figures, the average handicap of them all is around 11, and the golf will be fierce competitive," he said.

"But the main thing is that we are doing this for charity.

"We have all had our complaints with the GAA at times but most players will agree they have got plenty of benefit from their links with the Association.


"This is our chance to give something back and €100,000 going to the winning team's charity is pretty impressive."

He added: "The players are paying their own way and it's €5,000 a team to enter. Many of them have organised sponsorship for their charities and we're even doing our own documentary on the event which will be shown on TV at some stage in the future."

Kilkenny great DJ Carey said: "Sports is such a common denominator in this country and I am delighted to have been invited to play a part for such a good cause.

"Myself and the lads will give this our best shot and hopefully we can win a few bob for our locally chosen charity."

DJ plays off a 10 handicap these days but is a formidable golfer when he gets his driving on song.

He is joined on the Kilkenny team by Eddie Keher (16), Liam Fennelly (9) and Joe Hennessey (7) and their charity is the O'Neill Centre, Kilkenny.

Eoin "Bomber" Liston has a nine handicap. He teams-up with Sean Walsh (18), Ogie Moran (17) and Paudie Lynch (12) for the Kingdom who will be playing for the Jane Power Leukemia Fund.

The Bomber claims he has "come through a rigorous vetting procedure" to make the team but it would be a brave man who'd try and keep him out of the action!

Dublin feature an interesting selection in Sunderland FC chairman Niall Quinn, now down to two handicap.

Quinny, who won a 1983 All-Ireland minor medal with the Dublin, is joined on the Dubs team by Tommy Carr (6), John Kearns (10) and Jack Sheedy (8) who will be playing for Temple St Children's Hospital.

A bookie giving odds on the outcome would be inclined to look at Limerick for a fancied team.

Not only do hurlers generally make fine golfers, but Limerick's squad of Pat Herbert (14), Eamon Cregan (11), Michael Cregan (7) and Pat Hayes (8) look good on paper. Their charity is the Limerick Youth Service.

In addition to players noted above, here is a sample of the single figure players who will feature in La Manga: Mick McGinley (6, Donegal); Brian McCormick (9, Derry); Paul McKenna (6, Fermanagh), Ronan Keane and Brian Walsh (both 6, Sligo); Jason Ward (8, Leitrim); Michael Cleary (1, Tipperary), Declan Carr (4, Tipperary); Denis Allen (9,Cork); Johnny Flaherty (8, Offaly); Bernard Flynn (9, Meath); Conor Martin (7, Meath); Luke Kelly (6, Carlow); Rory McCarthy (4, Wexford).

A total travelling party of 160 will travel to La Manga on Sunday and play a four-man Scramble later that day. Monday features a fourball; and Tuesday is singles followed by Gala Dinner and a prize giving.

The group will return home next Wednesday no doubt tired -- and with a lucky charity €100,000 richer.

The committee running the event is: Bernard Flynn (Chairperson); Tommy Carr (Secretary); Freddie Grehan (Travel Coordinator); Sean Finnegan (Tournament Director); Mick McGinley, Des Cahill, Michael Duignan, Colman Corrigan, Kevin McCabe.


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