Su­per Ser­gio de­serves over­due day in the sun

Drogheda Independent - - SPORT -

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.

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