The Day ‘Monty’ Had A Laugh As DJ Sunk An Eagle At Mount Juliet

by Gazette Reporter

With the line of stars in our fourball, there was a big crowd following us and DJ said to Monty with a big smile on his face: “You’re not the only one they’re here to see.”

One of the benefits of having played sport at a high level is you get invites to participate in other events like this week’s Pro-Am as part of the Irish Open in Mount Juliet.

There was a bit of a ‘who’s who of Irish sport’ with Robbie Keane, Stephen Hunt, Tomás Ó Sé, Rob Kearney, Joe Canning, Johnny Murtagh and Greg O’Shea among the sport names listed to play

Then you have the television celebs such as actor James Nesbitt, Spencer Matthews and Today FM broadcaster Dermot Whelan. A meeting of all sorts but they are always good fun.

This week’s game on the beautifully manicured Co Kilkenny course brought back to mind the first time I played there in a pro-am in 1997 with Colin Montgomerie, DJ Carey and Ronan Keating of Boyzone.

I was a bit nervous at the start as I was afraid Monty would be a bit miserable or stand-offish. He was anything but. From the first tee he chatted away and was a real expert on snooker, a game he seemed to have a great interest in. He asked me about all the different personalities in the game and what they were like – really he was like any other fan.

He also had a lovely sense of humour and needed it on one of the par fives when DJ had an eagle after hitting a monster drive and putting an eight iron close enough to sink the putt.

With the line of stars in our fourball, there was a big crowd following us and DJ said to Monty with a big smile on his face: “You’re not the only one they’re here to see.”

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It was great to be in Dublin for the matches at the weekend as well and I thought Dessie Farrell’s crew looked good but will need both Con O’Callaghan and James McCarthy back on duty if they are to overcome Kerry. I’m already looking forward to that game and I’m hoping that as both are suffering from hamstring injuries, they should have enough time over the coming 11 days or so to be ok.

Of course the best match, and the worst fallout, of the four quarter-finals was the Armagh v Galway encounter, which had drama heaped upon drama with the late equalisers in both normal time and extra time.

The eye-gouging and fracas after normal time was something that has to be stamped out of the game because it gives the GAA a bad name among the public. I’ll be interested to see how Croke Park deals with this particular outbreak of violence because they really have to come up with punishments which act as real deterrents.

All that said, the penalty solution to such a fine game was a cheap way of ending such a gripping contest. The GAA should realise that neither players nor spectators wanted this denouement when a replay, particularly to reward amateur sportspeople with another big day out, was the least they deserved.

It will be interesting to see if the powers that be take on board the overwhelming view against penalties in such games and change the format for next year. They quote lack of dates but they are also doing themselves out of massive revenue which the GAA always needs to plough back into the grassroots of its association via the clubs.

Also the talk that such a replay would generate is the best form of marketing for a sport – and with big game finished by early August, that leaves a long time over the winter months for other sports to take centre stage.

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