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Lurgan schoolboy with prosthetic limbs named Irish Junior Open golf champion

Lurgan schoolboy Niall McCann won the Irish Junior Open
Marie Louise McConville

A teenage golfer from Co Armagh who has two prosthetic limbs is celebrating after winning the Irish Junior Open.

Niall McCann from Lurgan was named champion earlier this week after a culmination of scores from a series of events saw him emerge the winner.

A pupil at St Ronan College in Lurgan, the 16-year-old is a member of Lurgan Golf Club and has been playing since the age of 12.

A former Gaelic footballer for Clann Eireann, the teenager was forced to give the sport up at the age of 12 due to a problem with his knee, which dislocated a total of 15 times.

Born with ectrodactyly - a genetic disorder affecting the hands and feet - shortly before his first birthday Niall had both his lower legs amputated as a result of complications connected to the condition.

Fitted with prosthetic limbs just before he turned two, the youngster followed in the footsteps of his parents when he began playing for Clann Eireann.

However, when he was forced to give this up, he turned his hand to golf and has already won a series of high profile competitions including the latest, the Irish Junior Open.

The Lurgan teenager received his trophy on Monday in Portmarnock.

Speaking to the Irish News, the school boy's mother, Martina Hoye said her son is a very "determined" young man and despite having to give up Gaelic football, is still very much involved with the club.

"Clann Eireann is his passion," she said.

"We are big into our local GAA club and it really was his passion.

"He tried cycling and golf and then he really got into. His daddy started taking him to competitions. He has been entering loads of different competitions and won a couple of junior events".

Martina said her son was "over the moon" to win the Irish Junior Open.

"He loves it and he is a very dedicated wee boy," she said.

"He would go to the golf course and practice all the time. He is very focused. He just loves Tiger Woods and I think it's because he has had similar problems. Everybody wrote him off with his back problems but he regained himself and came back. That's the motivation".

Martina said her son had now qualified for the Champion of Champions Junior Golf Event, an invite-only event for the world's best junior golfers.

The event will take place at Powerscourt Golf Club in Co Wicklow in April.

The Lurgan mother added: "We are just so proud of him.

"He is just that type of boy, very determined. He never let his condition get the better off him. He really seems to be destined for big things".

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