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Tuesday 12 November 2019

Shane sinks a few as open party continues for golf's latest hero

Shane Lowry on Capel Street yesterday with Sgt Gillolley and Insp Cullen
Shane Lowry on Capel Street yesterday with Sgt Gillolley and Insp Cullen

The Shane Lowry party was in full swing in Dublin yesterday as the newly-crowned Open champion celebrated his first major win.

Since his thrilling victory on Sunday, the Offaly man has been enjoying his colossal win surrounded by his family and close friends.

The 32-year-old champion golfer arrived at The Boar's Head, on Capel Street in Dublin, yesterday afternoon, where he received a hero's welcome.

Tired though he was, Shane braved a smile as he posed in picture after picture with fans eager to get close to the man who etched his name into Irish golfing history.

He was also happy to allow his supporters to hold the coveted Claret Jug.

On Sunday night, footage showed Lowry belting out a fist-pumping version of The Fields of Athenry as punters sang and danced along in 37 Dawson Street.

Fans

The party will continue at 6pm this evening as Shane returns to celebrate with fans in Clara, Co Offaly.

RTE host Des Cahill will MC at the event and singer Mundy will be performing.

Details were announced by the Clara GAA Club last night as it urged: "Let's give Shane the welcome home he deserves."

Celebrations also continued last night at his home golf club, Esker Hills, in Tullamore, while family members joined with Shane's granny Emily Scanlon (82) at her house in Clara.

Pub owner Hugh Hourican shows off the signed 18th hole flag
Pub owner Hugh Hourican shows off the signed 18th hole flag

Shane's uncle Joe and aunt Martina certainly wouldn't forget the big day, as he won on their 40th wedding anniversary.

At the clubhouse in Esker Hills, the fans have been congregating from all over the world.

A busload of Australian fans arrived at the venue just after noon yesterday to see where Lowry had honed his skills.

Members of the Southern Golf Club in Melbourne and their captain Adrian Rowe missed out on tickets for the Open but watched the final day of the tournament in Portmarnock, in Dublin.

They were making their way to Killarney when their bus driver decided they would take a detour and head for Clara.

Meanwhile, the Marcus family from America were also among those who called into the bustling clubhouse.

RTE’s Des Cahill was among the well-wishers in the Boar’s Head
RTE’s Des Cahill was among the well-wishers in the Boar’s Head

All the way from Florida, Jerry and Liz Marcus and their sons Griffin and Palmer had been in Portrush for the practice rounds of the competition.

They watched the final day in Murty Rabitt's in Galway.

"It was a thrill to see him win on Sunday," said Jerry.

"It was amazing to see everyone stand up and cheer him when he won," added Griffin.

Meanwhile, Esker Hills Course director Ray Molloy said Shane's success "will be a huge boost for junior golf here".

"About 50-60 of them come on a Monday night and Shane sponsors it all. They have crisps and a drink when they're finished and he organised a bus for them all to go to the Irish Open," said ladies' captain Aislinn Hackett.

She has known Shane since he was just six years old as his teacher in primary school.

Ms Hackett taught Shane in senior infants and second class at St Francis' Boys' School.

Excitement

"It was wild with excitement here - I've never experienced anything like it," she said of Sunday evening's events.

"I went home and watched the last five holes again, it was just fantastic.

"He was a lovely boy and he was always outdoors. He was bright and there was never any problems. Shane loved football and was one of those boys who was always kicking a ball."

Meanwhile, experts say commercially, this win puts Lowry on another level entirely.

Going into The Open, Lowry was 67th in the Fed Ex standings and No 33 in the world.

After his win in Portrush he has shot up to 17th in the world ranking, the highest he has ever been and guaranteeing him invitations to the top golf events for the rest of the year and beyond.

Since turning professional in 2009, Lowry has earned €14m on the European Tour alone.

Lowry is the fourth Irish player to win the tournament in 12 years, after Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Rory McIlory.

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