The full Irish Ireland's Senior amateur squad for 2014
(Club: Balbriggan. Age: 34. Handicap: +2.2)
Cannon showed his calibre by outgunning Gavin Moynihan and Scot Graeme Robertson in extra-time in the 2003 Irish Amateur Open. A qualified strength and conditioning coach, he's also quite an athlete, winning 200m bronze at the Leinster Indoors last year. Cannon probably is fitter, stronger, faster and every bit as ambitious as the young bucks.
(Club: Faithlegg. Age: 18. Handicap: +1.6)
Crowned Irish Boys Amateur Open champion at Lisburn and prominent on the team which won the Boys Home Internationals, Dawson was Ireland's only representative on the GB&I side which snatched back the Jacques Leglise Trophy from Europe. Impressively, he was top scorer at Royal St David's with 3.5 points from four games.
(Club: Belvoir Park. Age: 29. Handicap: +2.5) Diamond emulated good friend Rory McIlroy by winning the West of Ireland during a stellar season in 2012 but didn't shine quite so brightly last year. As manager of thriving nightspots Club Ceol and Status in Bangor, he has made his career outside the game but this classy performer still has much to contribute on the golf course.
(Club: Greystones. Age: 21. Handicap: +3.8)
Followed up his East of Ireland victory at Baltray with a flying start to his third year at UAB in Birmingham, Alabama, winning the Georgetown Intercollegiate so impressively he was named conference Player of the Week. Former national champion at Boys and Youths, Dunne is a cerebral player in the mould of UAB alumnus Graeme McDowell.
(Club: Tullamore. Age: 21. Handicap: +2.8)
Since enrolling at East Michigan State last spring, 2012 Irish Youths champion Grehan has twice won Conference Player of the Week award, the most recent in October when he fired a final-round 67 to win the Firestone Invitational. His plus-two handicap is said to be the lowest ever recorded by a member of Tullamore Golf Club.
(Club: Claremorris. Age: 24. Handicap: +2.5) Focused and self-reliant, Healy spent this winter working in Portugal at Quinta do Lago and relished the experience. The former Irish Boys champion paired up with Hannah Grant to help Claremorris win the 2013 Irish Mixed Foursomes title. Healy and Stuart Grehan represent Ireland at the South American Amateur in Colombia (January 22-25).
(Club: Naas. Age: 20. Handicap: +2.8)
Famous for his Grand Slam of provincial boys' titles in 2010, Hume played splendidly last year to propel himself into the national senior squad. He went agonisingly close at the Lytham Trophy, lipping out with a par putt on 18 to lose a three-hole play-off by one after blinding rounds of 70 and two-under 68 on Sunday as the Open venue showed its teeth.
(Club: West Waterford. Age: 20. Handicap: +2.8) Studying at Maynooth on a Paddy Harrington Scholarship, Hurley made history in 2013 by winning the R&A Scholars at St Andrews to become the first Irish-based collegiate player to represent Europe at the Palmer Cup. A former Young Scientist of the Year entrant, he is always meticulous ... it's the appliance of science with no little flair.
(Club: Portmarnock. Age: 26. Handicap: +1.7)
An interesting character, Lenehan and his sister run Bibi's, a popular breakfast and brunch café on Emorville Avenue in Dublin's south city. After serving up decent fare on the course, he figures with Cannon, Hume, Hurley, McElroy, McNamara, Selfridge and Whitson on the Irish team for two top-class stroke-play events in South Africa early next month.
(Club: The Island. Age: 18. Handicap: +2)
Impressive with the driver, 'Willie John' McBride, like Dawson, appears well equipped for the step up from boys' golf. After completing his Leaving Cert, reigning Ulster U-18 champion Paul will follow the path of former Malahide CS team-mate Moynihan onto the US collegiate circuit -- he enrols at Wake Forest in August.
(Club: Ballymena. Age: 20. Handicap: +4)
Pro golf beckons but this gifted youngster will resist until June at least and avail of exciting competitive opportunities on the amateur circuit. McElroy has flourished over the past 12 months. National coach Neil Manchip says: "He always was really skilful and got a lot more out of himself in 2013. He has grown from boy to man. He is very, very impressive."
(Club: Headfort. Age: 24. Handicap: +3.4)
McNamara goes to great lengths (the Costa del Sol, in fact) to maintain his practice regime through the winter, spending the entire off season in Spain. His attention to detail showed last season with his splendid wins at the West of Ireland. "Rory organises himself well," says coach Manchip. "Does what he has to, good player!"
(Club: The Island. Age: 19. Handicap: +3.9)
Blessed with an unflappable nature and a glorious short game, Moynihan oozes potential -- he is occasionally capable of the spectacular. Like McElroy, he romped home in the Peter McEvoy; at 18 he won the 2012 Irish Amateur Open; he acquitted himself with distinction at September's Walker Cup then was signed by NCAA Champions Alabama State. RICHIE O'DONOVAN
(Club: Lucan. Age: 23. Handicap: +4.8)
A series of impressive performances in the first half of 2013 were followed by a frustrating few months. O'Donovan, a splendidly talented golfer, simply hit the wall. Having emerged from that learning curve, watch out for him in 2014, starting at the Portuguese Amateur in a team which includes Diamond, Dawson and McBride.
(Club: Moyola Park. Age: 21. Handicap: +2.9)
Three domestic 'major' titles in 18 months (the 2012 East of Ireland and Irish Close plus this year's North of Ireland) say it all. University of Toledo student Selfridge once again will benefit from warm-weather action with the Irish squad in South Africa, where the single-minded Castledawson native no doubt will hit the books as well as golf balls.
(Club: Ardglass. Age: 21. Handicap: +3.3)
As a child, his sporting role models were Henry Shefflin and Eoin Kelly but barely five years after taking up golf at age 15, Sharvin last July emulated Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy by winning the 2013 Irish Close. A nephew of veteran tour caddie Brian Martin, the Stirling University scholar is showing huge promise.
(Club: Mourne, Age: 23, Handicap: +2.9)
After a superb Spanish Amateur Open win last March, Whitson, son of Royal Co Down pro Kevan, backed it up nicely, though his form ebbed nearing Walker Cup selection time. Manchip says: "Reeve's ball-striking can be phenomenal, while the way he went about his business last summer really was impressive." He will face the lure of the Tour next autumn.