Super Sergio deserves overdue day in the sun
FIVE years after declaring he was not good enough to win a Major, Sergio Garcia proved himself (and many others) wrong in thrilling fashion as he just about got the better of Justin Rose in an epic golfing duel at Augusta.
The final round of the Masters is always gripping stuff but this year’s instalment and in particular the back nine on the final day, was something special.
It was a real roller-coaster Hollywood drama with both golfers playing some magnificent golf in a classic matchplay situation.
Garcia’s putting frailties haven’t gone away but he seemed more at ease with himself and was able to quickly recover his composure when things were going against him.
His recovery on 13 when he somehow made par after hitting his drive into the trees was probably the turning point but missed putts on 16 and 18 should have cost him more dearly.
Rose wasn’t able to capitalise on these mistakes and the Spaniard deservedly ended his long Major drought with a fantastic birdie on the first play-off hole.
The fact that he won the green jacket on what would have been the 60th birthday of his mentor and friend Seve Ballesteros only added to the warm feeling of contentment as I headed off to bed. SPEAKING of warm feelings, wasn’t the weather fantastic on Saturday afternoon as Louth fans made their way to Croke Park for the Division 3 final with Tipperary.
The result wasn’t what we were looking for but it was nonetheless a great day out for the players, their families and the supporters.
Much like last years Division 4 final against Antrim, it would have been great for the Louth captain Adrian Reid to collect silverware in the Hogan Stand but defeat was not the end of the world.
The hard work was already done in O Moore Park, Tullamore, Drogheda and Semple Stadium in the weeks previously when blood, guts and tears were spilled in pursuit of precious league points.
I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over the quality or otherwise of our performance on Saturday.
We were dominant in the opening 25 minutes but didn’t register our superiority on the scoreboard.
Tipp hit a purple patch just before half time which gave them the cushion they needed in the second period.
I felt the game was very flat and at times and was played at the pace of a challenge game, by both teams.
Players now go back to their clubs for a couple of weeks to recharge the batteries and will return refreshed, and hopefully not injured, for the Wicklow game in just over five weeks time.
As I said in this column several weeks I ago, my ambitions for Louth in 2017 were consolidation in Division 3 and a reasonable run in the championship and qualifiers. Promotion I felt was not on our radar.
But we’ve surprised everyone, including maybe even ourselves.
Great credit must go to the players and the management team for their hard work and dedication over the winter months. We’ve achieved promotion on merit and now find ourselves in Division 2 for next season alongside Cavan, Roscommon, Meath, Cork, Clare, Down and Tipperary.
The better quality company will hopefully improve our game even further but it will demand even more effort from our players, management and support structures. I hope all the stakeholders are ready and prepared for the step up in class. LAOIS men were never too kind to me over the years and so it was the case for last weeks Sideline Bet Marc Leishman at the Masters! THE Australian finished in a disappointing 43rd place on eight over par. With Louth playing in Croke Park on Saturday evening I missed, for the first time I can remember, the Grand National at Aintree. I’M not so sure I would have picked the winner One For Arthur but second place Cause of Causes has been a winner on two previous occasions for Sideline Bet. Although it’s quite a long way to go to Easter Monday in Fairyhouse, this week we go for Ted Walsh’s Foxrock at odds of 20/1 in the Irish Grand National.