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Friday, February 26, 2010

Irish find a way to give cash aid to THEIR
aspiring male and female professionals
The Team Ireland Golf Trust this week announced grants totalling €217,000 to 17 aspiring male and female golfers who are pursuing their careers on professional golf tours.
Among the golfers receiving the top award of €20,000 are Alison Walshe, Tara Delaney and Martina Gillen.
Walshe, pictured right by Cal Carson Golf Agency, from Co Galway, who has a card on both the Ladies European Tour and LPGA in the United States, has decided to represent Ireland in the professional ranks after having competed as an amateur for the USA in the Curtis Cup match at St Andrews in 2008.
Delaney and Gillen will both play on the Ladies European Tour in 2010. Rebecca Coakley and Hazel Kavanagh will also receive grants of €15,000 to assist their campaigns on the Ladies European Tour and their efforts to qualify for the European Solheim Cup Team in 2011.
Irish golf enjoyed another very successful year in 2009. Team Ireland golfers made their mark with another series of successful performances on the major golf tours.
The Team Ireland Golf Trust, which is unique in Europe, plays an essential part in the development of professional golfers at the start of their tour careers, given the lack of commercial sponsorship.
The impact of these golfers in recent years is also a tribute to the excellent work of the ILGU and GUI in improving the standards of golf in Ireland. The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Mr Martin Cullen TD, welcomed the allocation of the grants:
"I welcome the great work the Golf Trust has done over the years to assist and encourage talented young golfers to make the transition from amateur to professional international status. Without the initial financial assistance given to them, many of our successful international golfers would not have reached the successes they have achieved.
"Padraig Harrington, Paul McGinley and Shane Lowry are among those who have benefited from the Trust. Padraig was a grant recipient from the original Golf Trust for a number of years, at the time when he was an amateur, and he has often talked of what a great help these grants were to him in his early career.
"I wish the Golf Trust every success as they further develop the talent of our young golfers pursuing their professional careers and, adding significantly, to our country's golf tourism profile abroad."
As part of the Trust’s support package, all golfers can avail of the world-class facilities at the GUI’s National Academy at Carton House. The golfers on the Trust scheme also have free access to the network of service providers such as physiologists, sports psychologists, biomechanists, physiotherapists, and doctors offered by the Irish Sports Council to the athletes on the International Carding Scheme.
Alison Walshe, reacting to her award, commented; “I am thrilled to receive this generous grant from the Golf Trust. I’m starting to play an extensive LET schedule this week in New Zealand and am really honoured to do it as a member of Team Ireland. One of my chief goals is to represent our country in the 2011 Solheim Cup and this support will help tremendously.”
This is the eleventh year of the Trust, which has provided €2.5 million in financial support to golfers to date. The Trust, which is administered by the Irish Sport Council, aims to contribute to an increase in the presence of Irish golf professionals on the various international tours.
It is a partnership between state agencies and the various golf organisations. Financial backing for the Trust is provided by the Irish Sports Council, Fáilte Ireland and the PGA European Tour.
Trust Chairman Padraig O’Huiginn stated: “The Trust was established with a very specific goal in mind, increasing the number of Irish golfers competing and winning on the top tours and hence promoting Ireland, north and south, as a golf destination.
"The proof of the success of the scheme is the presence of many successful Irish golfers in international competition. This brings enormous benefits to the game at home, not least by highlighting Ireland as an important golf tourism destination.”
Established players on the main European Tour, who have benefited from the Trust, are Padraig Harrington, Paul McGinley, Peter Lawrie, Damien McGrane, Gary Murphy, Michael Hoey, Gareth Maybin and Shane Lowry.
The Irish PGA, the Golfing Union of Ireland, and the Irish Ladies Golf Union, along with the state agencies are represented on the Team Ireland Golf Trust committee, which is chaired by Mr. O’Huiginn. John Treacy, CEO of the Irish Sports Council commented
“Irish golf is enjoying a period of unprecedented success. The Trust has played a major part in that success by providing support for top amateur players as they embark on careers as touring professionals”.
Team Ireland Golf Trust Grants 2010
Total €217,000
Jonathan Caldwell, Co Down (Challenge Tour) €15,000
Rebecca Coakley, Co Carlow (Ladies European Tour) €15,000
Tara Delaney, Co Carlow (Ladies European Tour) €20,000
Martina Gillen, Co Cavan (Ladies European Tour) €20,000
Hazel Kavanagh, Dublin (Ladies European Tour) €15,000
Niall Kearney, Dublin (Challenge Tour) €15,000
Richard Kilpatrick, Co Down (Alps Tour/Challenge Tour) €7,000
Brian McElhinney, Co Donegal (Europro Tour/Challenge Tour) €7,000
Michael McGeady, Co Donegal (Challenge Tour) €10,000
Colm Moriarty, Co Westmeath (Challenge Tour) €10,000
Paul O’Hanlon, Co Kildare (Europro Tour/Challenge Tour) €7,000
Peter O’Keeffe, Co Cork (Europro Tour/Challenge Tour) €7,000
Gareth Shaw, Co Antrim (Challenge Tour) €15,000
Simon Thornton, Co Down (European Tour) €20,000
Barrie Trainor, Co Down (Europro Tour/Challenge Tour) €7,000
Niall Turner, Co Cork (Europro Tour/Challenge Tour) €7,000
Alison Walshe, USA & Co Galway (Ladies European Tour) €20,000
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