Golf

Shane Lowry taking credit for Offaly's win in Leinster SFC

Clara man Shane Lowry is a keen supporter of Offaly's Gaelic football team  
Tony McGee at the K Club

OFFALY won their first Leinster Senior Football Championship match in nearly a decade last Sunday and Shane Lowry can take a little bit of credit for that. He sent manager Pat Flanagan a text on Saturday to tell the players a few things.

“I said - 'just listen'. I think it's time for them lads to stand up and it is all about faith in the jersey. We are going so bad of late, it's their chance to go and make a name for themselves. I listened to the first-half of the match in my bedroom and the second-half in the locker room with Pádraig Harrington. It was great for them to get the win,” said Lowry at Tuesday's press conference at the K Club.

Already, Lowry is planning to delay his journey by a day to the US Open so he can attend Offaly's next game in the Championship: “I'll be there, don't worry,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, there is the little matter of this week's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open to contend with and Lowry is, of course, well remembered as the man who shocked the pros by winning the tournament as an amateur at County Louth seven years ago.

He hasn't had great success in the competition since then, at times missing the cut by a shot or two in some years. Is the past success weighing too heavily on his shoulders?

“Coming to the Irish Open is a bit more difficult than coming to any other tournament. Talk to any Irish player - it's no different for me. I'd love to win this tournament again, or even to contend, give people something to shout about at the weekend. If you try too hard to do something, you won't end up doing it," he added.

“I've thought a lot about this week and I’m just going to go out and enjoy it as much as I can.”

The upcoming Ryder Cup is very much in the news just now and Lowry's name has been bandied about, a lot. Even the Esker Hills man has been mentioning the Ryder Cup, a lot. Is he putting pressure on himself to get into the team?

“These next few weeks are massive for the Ryder Cup,” he said.

“If you have two really good weeks, you could be on that Ryder Cup team in two weeks' time. They are, obviously, big weeks and I'm not going to sit here and say I'm not talking about it. I want to do well during the next few weeks because I want to put myself there come to the US Open. The longer it goes on, the more pressure I am going to put on myself.”

Lowry has also been thinking of the Rio Olympics: “Yeah, obviously, Rio is on my radar as well. I'm in the team as it stands and to go and play for my country in Rio would be very nice. Been talking about it most of the year. It would be nice going out in the opening ceremony under the Irish flag,” he said.

Does the newly-married Lowry believe another Irish amateur could follow his lead and win the Irish Open?

“Obviously, Jack [Hume] is playing well and Colm Campbell. They shoot really good scores. They will be familiar with this golf course and, if they give themselves a chance, you would never know what could happen," he said. 

"If one of them goes out the first day and shoots three or four under par and, all of a sudden, they are in here talking about winning, it could be hard for them. Of course, I'd love to see one of them win, as long as they don't beat me,” quipped the former North of Ireland amateur champion.

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