THE sense of what he had achieved was probably just sinking in, but Meath’s Eamon Gibney was lost for words in describing his Irish Open success in Glenville. The beaming smile he wore probably summed it up better. “I’m overjoyed to be honest, I always felt that I could win a big one and thankfully that came through today,” the Castletown clubman said of Sunday’s three shot win over Limerick’s Liam O’Donovan. He had to cope with his second round being halted on Sunday evening due to the atrocious weather conditions but said at 17 under in the clubhouse going out, he was given a good spur. “When Alan Hanlon came in with that 11 under par score for his Second Round (bringing him to 16 under), I think it really focussed me as I was worried about how I could live with throwing away a five shot lead away if I had lost out eventually. Alan’s score certainly kept me on my toes,” Gibney said.
A chip-in at the first hole of his final round was key to settling his nerves although he never truly enjoyed the feeling until the last hole. “After I saw where my tee-shot ended up on the last I only then started to think about the significance of winning this competition. Usually I’m the biggest danger to myself when I start thinking about the field at a competition but it all worked out for me this weekend. I started each of my three rounds very well and I feel that’s what spurred me on to go on and eventually come out on top,” he said. While there was disruption to the competition with the weather over the course of the weekend, the Gents winner felt that the right decision was made to halt play on Saturday evening. “I could barely see the ball markers on the green with the amount of water on them, so I think it was the fairest decision all round to call it off on Saturday. When I woke up on Sunday morning at about 7am and looked out the window I did fear if it would go ahead or not but thankfully we managed to get it finished,” Eamon said.
He concluded with some words of thanks for Glenville. “Their hospitality was fantastic this weekend and the course was in magnificent shape which is a credit to them considering the conditions we were all faced with this weekend.”
WHILE she admitted that she was expecting his sister Chrissie and Glenville native Linda Thomson to be the two in contention for the honour, Marian Byrne was delighted to become the third winner of the Ladies section of an Irish Open after both Chrissie and Tracey McGrath. Even without the two aforementioned players, Marian expected a tough challenge from the rest of the Ladies partaking. She had to come from behind to do so but was happy to get ahead in the Final Round. “Tracey had a magnificent start with the five under par round but I was happy to have drawn level with her after my second round and with Tara (Dillon) also in the mix, I thought it was there for the taking between us all going out in the last round,” the Kildare native said. Offaly’s Margaret Hogan would eventually finish third ahead of Dillon on one under with Marian getting the better of Tracey by one shot with a six under par total.
She admitted that her putting wasn’t up to scratch in the final round but was happy to have come up with a one shot victory in the finish. Glenville has been good to Chrissie both on-and-off the course. “I won my first national title back here in 1998 at 20 years of age when I beat Ger Ward in the National Matchplay Final so I’ve another happy memory to take away from here. I’m really looking forward to this year’s Matchplay in Parteen now after this as I can definitely take a great degree of confidence,” Marian said. The Ladies Winner also felt that the course held up well despite the weather conditions. “I think that’s a great credit to Glenville as the weather is one of these things that you just can’t control. Overall I thought the event was very well run by the club.”
It was a good showing by the Limerick contingent with Liam O’Donovan finishing second overall in the Gents section and Pacelli Darcy winning the Over 55’s category. The Bruff clubman was delighted with his first International success in a Pitch & Putt competition. “I felt that Frank Ryan and Anthony Malone would be the two that I would be competing against for the honour and I think that’s how it turned out in the end with Anthony finishing behind me in second,” Pacelli said. His total of 12 under par was three shots better than Dublin County Board Chairman Malone and overall Pacelli felt that the course was very well presented. “I thought it was very fair in terms of its set-up for the players and it held up well for all the rain that fell during the weekend.” Indeed this is a fitting success for a great supporter of the game both nationally and internationally.
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