Friday 25 May 2018

Lucky Neill glad to get one-stroke penalty

An Irish visitor looked like having some serious explaining to do to his wife about a recent visit to the Twenty Ten Ryder Cup course at Celtic Manor. And it had nothing to do with the usual complaints of golf widows.

Alan Neill, a five-handicapper from Donaghadee, was playing the long 18th when his trolley ran down the slope fronting the green and consigned his golf bag and its contents to a watery grave. By stripping to his boxer shorts, he managed to retrieve most of his valuables except two rather special items -- a €1,700 watch and his wedding ring.

After staying overnight in the on-site hotel, Neill watched members of the Celtic Manor greenkeeping staff search the murky waters for two hours the following morning, without success. All they retrieved were hundreds of golf balls.

Abandoning all hope, the ill-fated golfer had left the scene when the resort called in the local Cynon Valley Sub Aqua Club. And after a few hours of systematic searching with underwater metal detectors, watch and ring were found. "The watch was still ticking, but I was most worried about losing the wedding ring," said the greatly-relieved golfer, who celebrates his 10th wedding anniversary in September.

Against this background, it's not difficult to imagine Neill smiling benignly at a one-stroke penalty for visiting a water hazard.

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texts to one local radio station's morning show last week were bemoaning the fact that football and hurling could be pushed well down the pecking order for the next three months, what with an all-Irish Heineken Cup final, Ireland's tour of New Zealand, Euro 2012 and the Olympics all vying for attention.

Leinster Council have decided to get their spoke in early with some initiatives designed to promote the football and hurling championship. Their slogan, Nothing Beats Being There, sets out their stall: they want fans to get out of the living room and into the stands.

And to encourage this, they have rolled out five ticket plans to suit just about everyone: Family Ticket, Student Rebate, Senior Citizen Rebate, U16 Club Group Pass, Adult Club Group Discount. The latter two are particularly good value. With the under 16 pass, it's €3 per child, with one free adult ticket for every 10 children; while the group discount allows between 15 and 50 adults to club together and buy tickets to games at reduced rates.

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IT is the measure of the growing popularity of the game that Cricket Ireland have announced the launch of their new website www.cricketireland.ie

The first phase of the site went live last week with the site due to become fully operational next month ahead of the RSA Challenge against Australia in Belfast on June 23.

The Cricket Ireland site promises to be a great new resource for Irish cricket, with many exciting innovations planned. One of these is their new live scoring package which saw four games in the Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup carried live yesterday.

Throughout the season Cricket Ireland will have extensive live scoring of Irish cricket at all levels, including youth, domestic and international. Other features of the site include player profiles, and a 'how to get involved in cricket' section.

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Darach Honan has rejoined the Clare senior hurling panel after a 12-month absence. The 22-year-old All-Ireland under 21 medal winner was sidelined last year by a hip injury. Today his club Clonlara will host a challenge game between Clare and Tipperary to celebrate the opening of their new grounds at 6.45. GAA president Liam O'Neill will be in attendance.

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IT may seem like a long road from here to September, mainly because it is, but it's not too early for hurlers to turn their thoughts to autumn glory.

The Kilmacud Crokes Hurling Sevens, played on the eve of the All-Ireland final, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year with new sponsors One Direct. Last year's event attracted 40 clubs from 10 counties and those who wish to enter this year are urged to get in touch with Crokes early at denis@prospero.ie.

Dermot Gilleece, Fergus McDonnell, and Marie Crowe

ssport@independent.ie

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