Pat Creamer and Michael Ryan
A pair of former Limerick hurling stars will swap hurleys for golf clubs next week when they line up to play for Ireland against the USA in the International King's Cup at Lough Erne Resort.
Michael Ryan and Pat Creamer came through a regional qualifier at Dunmurry Springs GC (Co. Kildare) and a final qualifier at Lough Erne Resort to book their spots on Ireland's 12 man (6 pairs) team to face the USA in Co.Fermanagh (May 16-18).
“We grew up as rivals. I'm from Cappamore and Michael is from Doon so we played against each a lot before playing together for Limerick,” said Pat a seven-handicapper.
“Since we stopped playing for county in the mid-80s we've joined up on the golf course.”
The duo are members of Tipperary GC and have transferred their competitive instincts from the pitch to the links with Michael, a four-handicapper, competing regularly in inter-club events.
“With our sporting backgrounds the team format suits us well,” added Pat.
“We tried to qualify for this event last year and made it through the Munster qualifier at Ennis GC but we didn't progress from the final qualifier at Lough Erne.
“This year I was sick for the qualifier in Ennis but we managed to get into Dunmurry Springs and then on to Lough Erne. It's fantastic up there and the Faldo Course is a challenge, particularly if the wind blows.
“It was great to make the team this time around. It's a different challenge and it's great to represent your country at any level.”
The Limerick lads have been joined on the Ireland team by another pair of Munster men, Oliver McNamara (Ennis GC) and Martin White (Woodstock GC). Oliver and Martin fired a seven over par better ball score of 79 to qualify in the Over 50 section of the 10-15 handicap bracket.
The International King's Cup supported by Tourism NI honours golf’s greatest ambassador, Mr Arnold Palmer. The event, structured like the Ryder Cup, was created in 2016 when the United States Golf Challenge, the largest pairs better-ball tournament in the USA brought an amateur team across the Atlantic to compete against Ireland in the first ever International King’s Cup.
Both teams will stay on-site at Lough Erne Resort, with full access to The Golf Academy. The Irish team will receive specially commissioned outerwear courtesy of Glenmuir and both teams will attend a Gala dinner as part of the event. This year's International King's Cup, with Ireland going for a hat-trick of wins, will run from 14-18 May.
Gross scores are noted below:
Open Championship Flight (4.9 or less)
Ryan Gribben and David Barron (Warrenpoint GC) 69
Senior (50 +) Championship Flight
Martin Smyth and Liam Byrne (Druids Heath GC/Hermitage GC) 75
Open Flight A (5-9.9)
Declan McKeever and Darren McKeever (Donegal GC) 75
Senior (50+) Flight A
Michael Ryan and Pat Creamer (Tipperary GC) 74
Open Flight B (10-14.9)
Sean O’Gallachoir and Colin O’Leary (Cloughaneely GC/Cill Dara GC) 73
Senior (50+) Flight B
Oliver McNamara and Martin White (Ennis GC/Woodstock GC) 79.