K Club hosts surge to victory on Ryder Cup course in final
A day that was surely stolen from the Mediterranean blessed the participants in the Allianz-Irish Independent Officer Golf Challenge final with perfect conditions on the Palmer Ryder Cup Course at The K Club.
The setting and the occasion provided a fitting finale to the 21st season of the Challenge, and from the hosts' point of view, the outcome could hardly have been better.
Yes, The K Club team claimed the winners' pennant and the elegant Waterford Crystal prizes with a score of 81 points.
This gave the Straffan trio - captain Tony Kelly, lady captain Angela Cirillo, and lady vice-captain Carol Barry - victory by two points from Fota Island, who were represented by captain Fearghal Hayes, lady captain Mary Vaughan, and her husband and club president, Phil Vaughan.
Third place went to the Milltown team of captain Peter MacCann, lady captain Barbara Cotter and hon treasurer John O'Grady, on 75 points
Last but not least, Mount Juliet, one of the host venues for the qualifying series, came fourth. Captain Pat Garvey, lady captain Helen Hedigan and president Tom Duggan combined well to bring in 74 points.
Sean McGrath, chief executive officer of Allianz, welcomed the guests at the après golf dinner on behalf of the joint sponsors.
He said: "This is a day to celebrate the contribution of captains, lady captains, and honorary officers whose dedication and commitment to their clubs is essential to the well-being of the game all over the country.
"I congratulate you on your election to office and wish you well for the rest of the year.
"My thanks also to The K Club for presenting us this great Ryder Cup Course in fantastic condition, and for the excellence of the service and assistance given to all our participants on and off the course."
Tony Kelly, captain of The K Club, was delighted that he, lady captain Angela, and lady vice-captain Carol had taken the title.
The only previous K Club victories were in 2001 and 2007.
"It's a rare win for us. Although we have always been the host venue for the final, we don't win it too often. We set out only to enjoy ourselves and to win is a very nice bonus," he said.
The finalists were treated to a stunning cabaret performance by the effervescent Kathy Nugent before the prize-giving.
It was a happy but poignant occasion, as Cecil Whelan, the founder and event director, had passed away last April.
Cecil's wife, Pauline, was an honoured guest at the dinner.
Sean McGrath welcomed her on behalf of the sponsors, and thanked Cecil's brother-in-law and event manager Denis Keegan for ensuring the smooth operation of the event.