Gerry O'Connor

National Matchplay Junior gents Champion

Gerry O'Connor image

Gerry O’Connor

by Frances Ryan

After he is presented with the Junior Champions Cup, Gerry kissed it and held it to the heavens.  With a huge smile he turned and complimented the grounds crews and staff of both courses where he had, for the past 3 days competed to now stand as the National Junior Matchplay Champion.  

Thanking everyone present especially each of his opponents, saying they gave him a great run-around, especially Sean Kelly from Bagenalstown whom he beat in the final. A bit of a story teller, to the delight of the crowd gathered to listen, he recalls how not less than a year ago he was shanking 14 out of the 16 holes he only played, much to the chagrin of his playing partner. The punch line to the short tale was to tell everyone” if you persist and don’t give up this is the prize you get”, holding the cup out to affirm his point.

A lovely moment to end his speech, he tells his wife Terry, who couldn’t be there on the day that he loves her and warms the hearts of everyone listening.

Originally from Boherlahan, a small village between Cashel and Holycross, the now native Cashel man began his pitch and putt career in the late 80s.  After only a couple of years he decided to focus on his young family and career.  It was to be nearly 23 years before he returned

I caught up with him a week later in Hillview, one of his many favourite courses. 

I asked him how he felt going into the final.

Gerry: I felt good, more excited for the occasion but hopeful playing on home soil. 

(Adding that while not everyone is successful on home soil, he would give it his best shot) I had walked the course that morning and made my preparations.

Q: Do you have a calming thought that you use to help keep you focused?

G:  Well I used the same approach  to everything in life which is to keep the head down and get on with it.

I have a few more choice sayings  but they’re not repeatable....he laughs.

Q: What clubs do you play with?

G: McDaddy Callaway 56’ wedge and Odyssey putter, a 2 ball. 

He takes them from his bag and shows me what served him well in his win last week.

Q: Do you use a Titleist or Callaway ball etc?

G:  Good question he laughs taking out a Wilson Staff

Light like a Titleist but you get good distance and hold on the green.

With the celebrations and congratulations resounding through the week, the popular Larkspur man was surprised and delighted by his club mates with a banner and celebration cake in the clubhouse on Tuesday.  He is warmed by the congratulations from people around the county and town.  It’s a dream to win this he says and something he will always have to remember.