Friday 15 November 2019

Cian focussed on the pros

Arthurs looks at big picture after One-Armed Grand Slam success, writes Brian Keogh

Stepping stone: Cian Arthurs wants a pro career on the Disability Golf circuit
Stepping stone: Cian Arthurs wants a pro career on the Disability Golf circuit

Brian Keogh

Parents are always proud to see their children succeed, but there was an extra special glow emanating from the entire family when Cian Arthurs completed the grand slam of One-Armed golf titles this summer.

The 27-year old Dubliner didn't just win the Irish title, the English and Welsh crowns and the Scottish One-Armed Championship, he won the World One-Armed Golf Championship to boot and now dreams of making his career as a professional on the Disability Golf circuit and, who knows, one day compete for a medal should golf make the Paralympic Games.

"It gives me goosebumps just to think about it," said Cian, who lost his right arm in a lawnmower accident when he was just two but has since overcome all obstacles to follow in the footsteps of big brother Eoin, the former East of Ireland champion and Irish international.

He has plans to do his PGA training and break into the burgeoning European Disabled Golf Association tour scene and compete against the like of Brendan Lawlor and Gareth McNeily on the circuit.

But what he wants just as badly is to show others with disabilities that there is no goal they can't achieve with some help from their friends and family and a little determination.

"It's not something I dwell on," Cian said of the accident. "I like to think you can make the most of what you've got in front of you. I was two when it happened at home. A freak accident.

"Accidents happen, and some are worse than others. But there is always somebody worse than you out there as well, and you just have to keep going.

"I want to be an ambassador for Disability Golf and show people that no matter what life throws at you, there are avenues you can go down and things you can do to make life easier and more enjoyable."

Proud parent John and Frances are no strangers to pulling for an Arthurs on the golf circuit, having supported Eoin for years as he played at Boys and Senior international level.

Eoin's career highlight was that East of Ireland win when he left the likes of Shane Lowry (Irish Open champion 11 months later) spluttering in his exhaust fumes at Baltray in 2008.

"My brother was good, and that's the reason why I play golf," said Cian, who also plays Gaelic football in goal for Ballyboughal Rangers, minding the sticks in a series of Division 2 matches this season.

"I loved Gaelic and soccer when I was a kid, but I'd see the way my Mam and Dad watched Eoin playing in the championships and how proud they were of him, and I said, I want that as well. He was my inspiration, and my goal is to be as good as him."

Goal-keeping is tough enough, but one-handed goalkeeping requires a special kind of determination and Cian clearly has that in spades.

"I like to keep busy," he said of his sporting interests. "I learned to adapt and pat the ball down in front of me. People say it's a spectacle to watch me play in goal, but I love to say fit and have fun with the lads.

"I used to play soccer in goal for Swords Celtic as well, but golf takes up a lot of time now, and I have to watch out for injuries."

He's grateful to his big brother and coaches such as Eoin Gibbons for taking time out to coach him and also to Kinsealy Grange Driving Range, who give him complimentary uses of the facilities.

Currently playing off seven at Roganstown, he's set himself some lofty goals, and after giving up his time to attend the first Disability Golf Hub at Donaghadee yesterday, he's keen to do more.

"As some doors close, others have opened, and luckily I am excelling on the one-handed golf scene, and I can push forward," he said of his golfing career.

"It's great to see how big disability golf is getting and how inclusive it is. And I think my level of golf is good enough to get to the top level."

It hasn't been easy for Cian to find his way, but while he's had reverses in life, he believes he can inspire others to overcome obstacles and keep going.

"This year, I have been able to make my Mam and Dad very proud," he said. "It has been a long time coming, and I now have the confidence to go on and do more.

"But the real goal is to get more people involved in Disabled Golf. That's the big one. As I always say - while one door closes, others have opened."

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