GOLF Minister O'Donoghue Announces 2005 Team Ireland Golf Trust Recipients (March 23, 2005)

29 Mar 2005

"The Team Ireland Golf Trust has played a major role in the development of a new generation of Irish elite golfers. The Golf Trust invests in the talent of Irish golfers who require consistent, long-term support in order to reach their potential at the top levels of the sport". - Minister O'DonoghueView the 2005 Scheme Recipients attached below this article.

The Team Ireland Golf Trust has allocated a total of €251,000 to aspiring golfers who are pursuing their careers on professional golf tours. The Trust targets golfers who have playing rights on the major tours and young golfers who are starting out to compete on the professional golf circuit.

The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Mr John O'Donoghue T.D. made the Team Ireland Golf Trust announcement for the 2005 grant allocations to Ireland's aspiring tour professionals today (March 23, 2005).

Minister O'Donoghue stated- "The increasing presence of Irish golfers on the main professional tours is testimony to the value of the Golf Trust. Golf is a major sport in Ireland, with excellent facilities attracting many participants, top quality tournaments and world-class players. This should be reflected by the presence of our top golfers on the major tours, a reasonable goal which is being supported by the Golf Trust".

This is the sixth year of the Trust, which has provided more than €1.25 million 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 private companies.

2004 was another successful year for the Golf Trust, following an outstanding 2003 when Peter Lawrie, Gary Murphy and Damian McGrane enjoyed breakthrough years.

A major highlight for the Trust in 2004 was Stephen Browne securing his full Tour Card at the Qualifying School. Stephen has been assisted by the Trust since he turned professional in 2002 and will receive €20,000 in 2005. Other successes for Trust golfers included Suzanne O'Brien, who retained her Card on the Ladies European Tour, and Rebecca Coakley and Hazel Kavanagh, who obtained cards at the Qualifying School. They will each receive €20,000 in 2005.

6 Irish golfers competing on the Challenge Tour in 2005 will benefit from Trust support. Michael Hoey, David Higgins and Colm Moriarty will each receive €15,000. Grants of €12,500 also have been awarded to Tim Rice and Raymond Burns who are newcomers to the Challenge Tour in 2005. Justin Kehoe will receive €10,000.

One familiar name among the grant recipients is Philip Walton whose return to the European Tour is extremely welcome. He receives a special award of €15,000 in recognition of his need for assistance in his first year back on the European Tour and his outstanding achievements in golf, including his Ryder Cup record.

Other newcomers to the Golf Trust in 2005 are Noel Fox and Gareth Maybin. Noel Fox, as with Philip Walton, will receive a special grant of €15,000, in recognition of a distinguished record as an amateur including the Walker Cup. Gareth Maybin, who is competing on the Hooters Tour in the USA, is awarded €10,000. Ciaran McMonagle, Padraig Dooley, and Eamonn Brady will each receive €7,000 to play on the Europro Tour.

The Golf Trust will also contribute towards the expenses of 20 golfers who will participate in Europro Tour and European Tour Qualifying Schools in 2005.

The Team Ireland Golf Trust, which is administered by the Irish Sport Council, was established in 1999 with the aim of increasing the presence of Irish golf professionals on the various international tours. Team Ireland Golf is a partnership between statutory agencies and private corporations. The Irish Sports Council and Failte Ireland provide financial backing with private sector interests IAWS, O'Callaghan Hotels and the PGA European Tour.

The golfers on the scheme also have access to the sports science and medicine network provided by the Irish Sports Council to the athletes on the International Carding Scheme and administered by the National Coaching and Training Centre in Limerick.

The Irish PGA, the Golfing Union of Ireland and the Irish Ladies Golf Union, along with the state and corporate supporters, are represented on the Team Ireland Golf Trust committee, which is chaired by Mr Padraig O'hUiginn.

For further information contact Austin Mallon, Irish Sports Council; 01-8608800