Irish Golfer Magazine (Monthly Print)

June 2019

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26 / www.IrishGolfer.ie / June 2019 FRONT 9: NEWS & OPINION Caolan Rafferty might be the West of Ireland champion and has set his sights on the Walker Cup but he's also come a long way and his feet remain firmly on the ground. By Paul Gallagher The rise and rise of Rafferty The culmination of the Irish schools golf calendar took place in Milltown Golf Club saw five District winners in two categories, Junior Cert and Leaving Cert cycles, competing for an All-Ireland pennant and the prestige of becoming Irish Schools Champion 2019. In the Senior category, Glenloa Collegiate School, Scoile na Trínóide Naofa Doon, The Institute of Education, Ursuline Convent Waterford and St. Mary's Secondary School, Mayo had won District honours to earn their place in the all-Ireland finals. The Institute of Education, Dublin, claimed top position as Lucia Masing and Xhemi Rama's gross stableford combination secured them a 2 point buffer over the Glenola Collegiate School team of Rebekah Gardner, Ella Jane Ross and Brooke Stranaghan. Meanwhile representatives from Sullivan Upper School, Co. Down, Colaiste Treasa, Co. Cork, Loreto Secondary School, Navan, Ursuline Convent Waterford and Sligo Grammar School competed in the Junior Cup event. Caoimhe O'Grady and Chloe Maples Gaffney captured the Junior Cup title representing Loreto Secondary School, Navan. INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION AND LORETO NAVAN BEST IN CLASS AT SCHOOLS FINALS aolan Rafferty prefers to let his golf do the talking "then hopefully things will look after themselves". It's a good outlook, and thus far this season it has secured a West of Ireland title and a recent call up to the GB&I Walker Cup panel. There was a time when Rafferty had lost his mojo for golf. He knew he had talent, but he was also realistic and honest enough to figure his chances of making it as a touring professional were slim. He briefly went down the PGA route but reversed after realising C long days in a shop or working as a teaching professional wouldn't cut it for him. Rafferty wasn't knocking the profession; he just knew it wasn't his calling. The experience reminded him that he still loved playing and competing. His best golf comes when he's enjoying the game – and the laid back 26-year-old is certainly enjoying his game just now. "In many ways it's been the ideal start to the season getting a win so early at the West then following that up with the good news that I was selected on the panel for the Walker Cup," said Rafferty. "I had a great run around the West. The week before I finished second at the R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament at St Andrews. I had a five shot lead going into the last day, but you know yourself with golf, you just never know what's going to happen. I played a little poorer on the last day and a fella shot seven under and beat me. Lots of people wondered how that affected me, but I learned an awful lot, especially how to dig deep and keep going." 70 The reduced par that the links of Lahinch will play at as Paul McGinley attempts to combat the crunching numbers the pros could put up in County Clare PAR STAT ATTACK Lesley O'Sullivan (left) and Brigid McCaw (right) with Chloe Maples Gaffney and Caoimhe O'Grady from Loreto Secondary School, Navan

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