Monday 29 May 2017

Dublin duo still in the swing of winning All-Ireland titles

Jason Sherlock and Mick Galvin remain a winning combination, says Marie Crowe

Sixteen years after they lined out together in the Dublin team that beat Tyrone in Croke Park, Jason Sherlock and Mick Galvin are All-Ireland champions again, although now it's on the golf course. Just over a week ago the pair qualified to represent Ireland in the International Pairs event in Loch Lomond.

They won the Irish qualifier in terrible conditions in Carton House to earn a spot in the prestigious competition and tomorrow in Scotland they will compete against teams from 30 countries. Part of their prize sees their flights and accommodation looked after by Golf Master Ireland, while and their suits and golf gear are sponsored by Louis Copeland and McGuirks Golf respectively.

Although they both see participating in the competition as a huge honour, football comes first. Both Sherlock and Galvin are involved with Dublin side St Oliver Plunketts Eoghan Ruadh, Galvin as manager and Sherlock as captain, and their priorities lie with their club.

"Luckily it's starting Monday because if it was on yesterday we wouldn't have been able to go because of the O'Tooles match [yesterday]," explained Galvin. "But because of the way it's falling it didn't clash with any games and we will be back for training on Wednesday."

Sherlock feels the same; he would definitely take a county football title over a world golf title. And his side are well on the way to achieving that, by beating O'Tooles yesterday they qualified for the quarter-finals of the Dublin championship. On paper, they look like one of the strongest teams in the competition, with a wealth of inter-county talent including Dublin seniors Alan, Bernard, Paul and James Brogan and Ross McConnell, but Sherlock knows from experience that it takes more than inter-county players to win county titles.

"We haven't been good enough in the past even though we were often tipped to win," said Sherlock. "We lost a quarter-final last year and the scars are still there. Hopefully with that in mind everyone will give their all and it will be enough to win this year." Sherlock believes that his background in GAA has been beneficial to his golf. Having experience of the competitive side of football is a help when the going gets tough on the course.

"The day we qualified the weather was very rough, we were way behind the two guys we were playing but Mick kept saying to just keep going because the conditions were so bad that we could have a chance. And that's how it worked out. We ended up winning by one shot."

Sherlock plays off 11 and Galvin plays off six. They have golfed together since their Dublin days, and for many GAA players it's a natural progression.

"I think the mental side of golf really appeals to GAA players. From a physical point of view it's hard to continue to play team sports so golf is a good outlet for those who are still competitive," said Sherlock.

The big question being asked in Dublin football circles at the moment is whether or not Pat Gilroy will stay on as Dublin manager. In 1995, when Sherlock and Galvin were on the winning team, their manager Dr Pat O'Neill decided not to stay on after the win. Gilroy was also on the team and Sherlock believes that having experienced what can go wrong when a new voice comes into a winning team might encourage him to stay put.

"Pat saw the fall-out post 1995; now there is no question that the current team's age profile and ambition are totally different so what happened back then shouldn't happen again. But at the same time we'd hate to see a repeat of that situation. I'm sure that will be very much on his mind when he makes his decision. Pat was in that situation before, he is aware of the pitfalls that come with him leaving."

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