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Albatross for Johnny Flaherty at Esker Hills

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Ace: Joe, Johnny and Michael

Ace: Joe, Johnny and Michael

Ace: Joe, Johnny and Michael

Former Offaly great Johnny Flaherty broke many a heart with a hurley in his hand and he proved he’s no slouch with a golf club either after he made a hole in one on a par-four at Esker Hills.

Playing in his own President’s Prize in the All Ireland Hurlers Golf Society outing last Friday, the Kinnitty legend was playing alongside fellow Offaly legends Joe Dooley and Michael Duignan at the course where major winner Shane Lowry learned the game.

The lovely midlands venue is one of the most enjoyable and testing tracks in the country but Johnny made short work of the downhill, 339-yard, par-four second when he holed his tee shot for a memorable hole-in-one and an albatross.

His big claim to fame in the sporting stakes came in 1981 when he scored the winning goal to give Offaly its first All Ireland Hurling title.

Now 41 years later he has an albatross on his CV and he had old pals Dooley and Duignan with him on the day.

Joe (1985, 1994 and 1998) and Michael (1994 and 1998) would go on to add three more Liam MacCarthy Cups to Offaly’s haul.

Whether they have Johnny’s power is debatable. Now in his early seventies, the man who put Galway to the sword in 1981, remains a great striker of a ball and regularly hits drives of 280-300 yards.

A hurling All-Star, he stood out as a massive hurling talent from an early age, winning back to back Leinster titles in 1980 and 1981 en route to that first hurling All Ireland.

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