The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open may be eight months away but the immense benefits that will accrue to the Mid-West and the entire Atlantic corridor from the staging of this major European Tour golfing event in Lahinch were heard loud and clear when competition host Paul McGinley addressed Shannon Chamber’s President’s lunch in Dromoland Castle Hotel on Thursday, 22 November 2018.
The lunch, which was sponsored by DB Schenker, drew an audience of over 230 business people from the Shannon region and beyond, who were transfixed by the address delivered by the former Ryder Cup Captain, whose roots, as he stated, are in the GAA but whose career has steered him towards golf.
Regaling his audience with insights into how his career developed after he won the 1989 Irish Amateur Close Championship and the 1991 South of Ireland Championship at Lahinch, he said it seems to have now come full circle with his hosting the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch.
Referring to his ‘Template of Success’ which guides his leadership style, he said that it’s a matter of looking at what really works and seeking to do that better.
“A Captain must be on message all the time, keeping his/her team onside and together but each player much be given the freedom to remain individual yet aiming for a common goal; the same applies to business,” he stated.
Looking ahead to July 2019 and having played in 20 Irish Opens, McGinley said his preparations will follow the same pattern as that used in the Ryder Cup 2014, but with a quality team in Lahinch, he is off to a good start.
Outlining the preparations undertaken so far, which are all under control, his one ask from the corporate sector at the luncheon was that they become ‘emotionally involved’ with the event.
“Sport is great, but what propels sport to being a great event and to making it come alive, is spectator involvement,” he said.
“This is an amazing opportunity for the Mid-West and South-West of Ireland; a sporting event of this magnitude has never been staged in this part of Ireland before. It needs an electric crowd; it needs stands that come alive; it needs engagement.
“It’s not my Irish Open; it’s your Irish Open,” he told the audience urging them to get behind the event and play their part in leaving a huge legacy behind.
“The local community is going to make or break the Irish Open, but we plan to make it the best ever and to present what’s great about Lahinch and the entire Mid-West,” he added.
Shannon Chamber president Mary Considine was fulsome in her praise for the decision to host the Dubai Irish Open in Lahinch and said that all stakeholders in the region will work extremely hard to make an excellent impression on all those who visit with clubs in hand in July 2019.
“Shannon Chamber, and every business in the region, will play a collective part in ensuring that 2019 will be the best-ever Irish Open on and off the course,” said Ms Considine.
Shannon Chamber’s President’s lunch, sponsored by DB Schenker and with Clare County Council, Shannon Commercial Properties, First Names Group and Baker Hughes, a GE company, as associate sponsors was the final event in the Chamber’s calendar of events for 2018.
Photograph by Eamon Ward