Saturday 27 May 2017

Irish officials dismayed by decision to overlook Lisa Maguire

Karl MacGinty

DISMAYED Irish Ladies golf officials are to seek a formal explanation for the controversial decision to leave Lisa Maguire out of the Great Britain and Ireland team to face Continental Europe in next month's Vagliano Trophy.

ILGU general secretary Sinead Heraty revealed yesterday that the Irish Union will write to the LGU, controlling body for ladies golf in these islands, asking them to explain "the rationale behind the selection of this team."

Heraty added that the ILGU was "hugely disappointed for Lisa" after her omission from the nine-strong team, which includes her 16-year-old twin sister Leona and two other Irish players, Close champion Danielle McVeigh and GB&I debutant Stephanie Meadows (19).

Lisa Maguire, who beat fellow Curtis Cup player McVeigh and another member of the team, England's Holly Clyburn, on her way to victory at this year's Spanish Amateur Championship, is world-ranked above all but three of the nine players chosen ahead of her.

"I cannot understand this," said Declan Maguire, father of the twins. "Usually we like to let the twins' golf clubs do their talking, but I find it totally strange that they could leave Lisa out of the team.

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"It wouldn't be an issue if she'd not been playing well, but that's simply not the case," he added, pointing out that Leona and Lisa performed well at the last Vagliano Trophy and in last year's Curtis Cup. "A lot of questions need to be answered."

Lisa and Leona indisputably would figure among the best nine ladies amateur golfers in Great Britain and Ireland. But the decision to name Lisa among the Vagliano reserves is related to the Irish Union's decision to withdraw its players from the panel to play next month's Astor Trophy.

This Irish decision was made in the belief that the Astor Cup, a five-day event featuring 36 holes of match play per day, would be too much for players to take on in the week between the British Amateur in Royal Portrush and the Vagliano.

By offering their strong endorsement to the Astor Trophy team, the LGU have made a point. Yet in omitting Lisa Maguire, they have committed a grave injustice.

"I don't think they've calculated how a decision like this might impact on a 16-year-old," said Declan Maguire. "Lisa's first reaction was to wonder why she'd not been selected or had she not played well enough. The only thing I can tell you is that this will make the girls twice as strong."

GB&I Vagliano Trophy Team (June 24-25 at Royal Porthcawl): Amy Boulden (Wal), Holly Clyburn (Eng), Louise Kennedy (Sco), Kelsey McDonald (Sco), Danielle McVeigh (R Co Down Ladies), Leona Maguire (Slieve Russell), Stephanie Meadow (R Portrush), Pamela Pretswell (Sco), Kelly Tidy (R Birkdale). Reserves: Lisa Maguire (Slieve Russell), Charley Hull (Woburn), Charlotte Ellis (Minchinhampton).

Irish Independent

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