Cookies on Dublin People website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Dublin People website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
Hide Message
  • Southside

Southside golfer predicted Shane Lowry’s Open success

Sunday, 11th August, 2019 9:00am
Southside golfer predicted Shane Lowry’s Open success

Aidan Claffey and Team Ireland athlete Mark Claffey, from Blackrock, are pictured at the 148th Open at Royal Portrush.

Southside golfer predicted Shane Lowry’s Open success

Aidan Claffey and Team Ireland athlete Mark Claffey, from Blackrock, are pictured at the 148th Open at Royal Portrush.

SPECIAL Olympics golfer, Mark Claffey (29) from Blackrock, was one of two lucky Team Ireland athletes who got the chance to attend the 148th Open at Royal Portrush recently, having been invited by the European Tour to see their heroes in action. 

Southsider Mark, who won gold at the recent Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi and Team Ireland teammate, Jill Connery (33) from Scarva, Co Armagh who achieved a fourth-place ribbon at the 2019 World Games, enjoyed watching on as some of the biggest names in golf tested out Royal Portrush at the final practice day.

During their visit to the Open, the athletes recorded a heart-warming message of good luck to their hero Shane Lowry, predicting his historic victory in lifting the Claret Jug.

Claffey is no stranger to the limelight following his international gold medal success. The young Blackrock man captured hearts across Ireland and beyond during the World Games when a video of the moment he found out he won Gold went viral.

During his visit to the Open, he was back online to send a special good luck message to his hero, Shane Lowry, as he made his final preparations to compete in the historic tournament.

In a video message published on the Special Olympics Ulster Facebook and Twitter feeds, the golf gold medallist who was joined by Team Ireland teammate Jill Connery predicted that Lowry would take home the Claret jug.

“I think my favourite guy, my best friend, Shane Lowry will win The Open,” Mark stated. “Try your best Shane Lowry, I love you so much, I know you’ll try your best; do it for me, I know you can do it!”

The Special Olympics golfers were also rooting for Special Olympics global ambassador, Padraig Harrington, who had taken time out with the Team Ireland golf squad to provide some hints and tips ahead of their unforgettable journey to Abu Dhabi in March.

The athletes were also cheering on local legends, Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell and, and got the chance to see GMac warming up for the competition during his practice session. 

Commenting after the event, Emma McMenamin, head of delegation for Team Ireland said: “It was fantastic for our athletes to be invited to the Open, and to see the best in the world competing at this level.

“Having travelled to Abu Dhabi to represent Ireland at the Special Olympics World Games, they are just coming back down to earth. Representing your country is the biggest honour for any sportsperson and it was a great experience to be at the Open for this historic moment for golf in Northern Ireland.

“This is a huge golfing nation and to see the Open return here for the first time, and to see these big names in action on home turf, has been hugely inspiring to all of our athletes.

“Golf is a large and growing sport for Special Olympics in Ireland,” Emma added. “And is buoyed by the profile the sport has gained in recent years, through the success of golfers such as Harrington, Lowry, McIlroy, Clarke and McDowell.

“Our athletes have made a big impression on and off the course in recent years, and as well as the opportunity to compete on a regional, national and international level, Special Olympics is promoting inclusion in sport and social inclusion particularly, giving our athletes a chance to make new friends, gain confidence and improve their social skills.”

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here