It was, as they say over here in Ireland, a gas.
More than 200 of us gathered at Grange Golf Club in Dublin yesterday to play in the inaugural Therese O’Reilly Fourball Trophy and commemorate a woman who died, far too young, nearly 11 years ago. She was a force of nature, at the centre of every gale of laughter, kind, compassionate, shrewd and a heck of a golfer who gave the ball a lash.
Nee Moran, a member of a formidable sporting clan, Therese had only herself to blame for the nickname ‘Tiny’. She decided, in her wisdom, that Mary Gorry, a small but formidable fellow member of Grange who represented Leinster and Ireland with great distinction, should be known as ‘Midget’. The thinking was straightforward: MG equals MG Midget equals Midget or Midge.
If that’s the case, Mary responded, looking up at her tall and formidable friend, you can be Tiny. And that was that.
If you’re expecting a coherent account of yesterday’s proceedings, this is the wrong place to look. This half of the blog, having found its driving licence (but not its passport), is now on Irish time and that means sitting down to write at about two in the morning, having fitted in copious chatting and socialising and catching up with people not seen for far too long.
There was a bit of golf too, partnering the FBG, aka Mary Culliton, nee Governey, a wonderful hostess when Whittington Heath visited The Heath on my ladies’ captain’s stayaway a few years ago. The Fine Big Girl, thus christened by an admirer in those far-off days before the phrase “politically correct” was invented, hit some fine shots at the end, so we won the money – all of two Euros – from Rita McGoldrick (nee Walsh) and Mairead Browne (nee Mullins).
We were never in danger of winning the trophy and found Grange’s undulating greens a bit beyond our current skill levels. No wonder Paul McGinley (ne McGinley), one of the club’s many distinguished members, had no trouble holing that putt at The Belfry to win the Ryder Cup. The greens there were wee buns to a man brought up holing out at Grange.
The FBG and I hit two good shots down the 18th, short of the evil, devilish ditch that protects the green, not a piece of land that looked in need of such extra protection. Rita and Mairead hit their second shots into the ditch and I then shanked my third, from pretty well position A, into a wall and the ball ricocheted back into position Z+++ ad infinitum. Seve at his peak would have been tested to the limits of his skill and imagination to hit the green and I gave up the unequal task and played out sideways. Suffice to say that it was left to my partner to save the day.
Pontificating later, I gave my considered opinion that it would only rarely be worth going for the 18th green with your second shot, the lay-up being the wise, percentage option. A friend looked puzzled and double-checked that she was thinking of the right hole, the last, right? Right. “I hit a drive and an 8-iron,” she said. “No bother at all.”
Ah. Well, in my heart I’ve known the truth for a while. I play a form of the game with which even seniors are not familiar.My thanks to the indefatigable Sheena McElroy (nee O’Brien-Kenney), who was one of the many people who put a huge amount of time and effort into organising the day, for lending me clubs vastly superior to my own. And to Mary McKenna, great golfer turned fantastic photographer, for a driver that worked surprisingly well most of the time. And to everyone for the fun, the laughter and the love.
Finally, congratulations to Ireland, Scotland and England for making it into the top eight at the Women’s European Team Championship in Italy this week and to Shanshan Feng, one of my favourite golfers, for winning the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Wisconsin last Sunday in dramatic style.