Lyons roars for Galway in fourth Senior win
Great players hit great shots under pressure, and Joe Lyons was thrilled to rifle a beauty to Westport's 18th to give Galway AIG Senior Cup victory over Carton House.
In was the Connacht champions' fourth Senior Cup success since 2006 and their second in three years and Lyons could not have been happier with the way he closed out the match against the veteran Westmeath man Dessie Morgan, firing a 182-yard seven-iron to 18 inches to seal a 3-2 win by two holes.
Galway had two points in the bag after Boys international Luke O'Neill beat Darragh Flynn and another teenager, Liam Nolan, eased to a 5&4 win over Paul O'Hanlon in the anchor match.
While Keith Egan had beaten veteran Eddie McCormack 4&3 and Gary McDermott beat Irish Close champion Ronan Mullarney by one hole, Lyons was three-up with four to play against Morgan before he three-putted the 16th and 17th to go to the 566-yard 18th with the narrowest of leads.
Bunkered off the tee, he was forced to lay up, but when
Morgan went for the downwind 18th in two and found the penalty area on the right with his daring second, Lyons' dart to the last forced Morgan to try to chip in for four.
After failing, he quickly offered his hand to a man he described as a gent.
Lyons was thrilled and relieved to win his fourth Senior Cup medal.
"I'd say that added about ten years to my life there," said the 47-year-old after going unbeaten in the Senior Cup and the Interpros this year.
"When it's all on you the last few holes, and you're my age and three-putt a couple of holes on the way in, you're kind of thinking: 'You want to be careful what you wish for.'"
Team captain Gerry Cox felt Galway's strength in depth proved the difference in the end as they had a nine-strong panel that was a vibrant mixture of youth and experience.
"We had a big squad," he said. "There were nine players that were available for selection. It meant that competition for places was exceptional. With that, you get guys that perform at a higher level."
While he won the Munster Strokeplay in May and contended for a place on the Irish team until he was forced to miss the final-counting Mullingar Scratch Trophy for the Bridgestone Order of Merit spots, he admitted that golf means everything to him and his wife Vera, who caddies.
"It's easier for me," he said. "I've no kids. It's just myself and Vera. I love the game.It's my sole pursuit outside of work. I live, sleep, eat, breathe golf. My work is around golf. Sure I love it."