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25 May 2022

Portarlington Golf Club joins exciting Offaly junior academy

Portarlington Golf Club joins exciting Offaly junior academy

Last week, Offaly Junior Golf Academy launched its 2022 coaching programme at Portarlington Golf Club. The Offaly Junior Golf Academy was founded in 2018, with the overall aim to develop junior golf in Offaly by providing junior coaching support to Offaly Golf Clubs. Since then the Academy has gone from strength to strength, and has established itself as one of Irelands leading Junior Golf Academy’s.

Brian Monaghan, Chairperson of the Academy, said: “Our vision all along was to develop our junior golfers in Offaly and to provide additional support to our golf clubs in strengthening their junior programmes. Since 2018, our programme has broadened and the Academy now boasts a very impressive team of Professionals who provide professional golf coaching, strength and conditioning as well as sports psychology.

“We were delighted to induct Portarlington Golf Club into the Academy this year. We were approached by Sinead Scully, Junior convener for Portarlington, seeking our assistance and we were only too happy to come on board. We were really impressed to see what Portarlington were striving to achieve with their junior programme and we were only too delighted to induct
the club into our Academy set up.”

Sinead Scully and Portarlington Senior committee are committed to developing junior golf in their club; in 2019 the Junior Portarlington Golf Club Academy was formed with 25 children. The children had golf sessions on a Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday this continued into early 2020 prior to Covid.

In March 2021 with golf clubs reopening, contact was made to the parents of the children who played golf during 2019. During the summer months their numbers peaked at 45 children attending the sessions. Portarlington hope to increase this with the assistance of the Academy and believe that the Academy offers a goal for their juniors to achieve and motivate them to participate in their junior programme.

Sinead added: “Families are an essential part of the Club. The role played by family members in assisting with the development of their child through the Junior Golf Programme has been invaluable, and the Academy’s approach of family involvement and the relaxed atmosphere fits in well with our visions also. We now have 6 Juniors signed up to the Offaly Junior Golf Academy, and I have no doubt many more will strive to be selected for Academy coaching into the future.”

This year the Academy took Peter O’Keeffe of “Golf Strong” on board as their strength and conditioning coach. Peter is a highly decorated Irish International golfer and current holder of the Irish Amateur Open.

Brian Monaghan added: “I contacted Peter towards the end of last year and pitched the idea. He was more than willing to join our team, and his extensive knowledge of the game of golf along with his unique approach to on-line coaching was exactly what we needed.”

Classes commence on the 5th February and promise to be fun and challenging and set our juniors up for the coaching season ahead. “As a follow on from the 2021 season, we also brought Dr Mark Campbell, of the University of Limerick back to our team. Mark himself was a highly decorated amateur golfer representing Ireland and winning major national and international events as an amateur.

Dr Campbell introduced our juniors to the importance of positive thinking and self-management while playing and practicing the game of golf. He will again present on-line interactive sessions helping our juniors understand how to handle their emotions and harness a positive attitude while playing and practicing the game of golf, a set of skills that will assist our juniors in whatever sport they play and indeed in life itself.

“Our two professional coaches, Eamonn O’Flanagan and Corey Doherty remain with the Academy and have been pivotal in shaping the progression of the Academy. “

Eamonn has worked from 2007 as a provincial coach for the Leinster Branch of the GUI, and coached some of the country’s most promising golf talents. Currently, he holds the position of Pathway Manager for Golfing Ireland’s High Performance coaching programme for Midlands East.

He also continues to coach within the HP programme for Golf Ireland working with players at area development level up to national representative players. Eamonn still provides private coaching to players helping them improve their performances and enjoyment at all levels of the game.

Eamonn commented: “As a coach within the academy, it is a great privilege to help advance the junior golfers unique talents and watch their golfing experiences and skills grow.”

Corey Doherty qualified as a PGA professional in 2016, he spent time coaching overseas before he took up the position of Club Professional at Tullamore Golf Club in March 2020 with the goal of establishing himself as a top coach in the region and growing junior golf in Offaly. Corey completed a Master’s degree in Coaching Science from UCD in June 2020, which helped him develop his knowledge around sport psychology as well as Strength & Conditioning.

Corey also began his tenure as a Golf Ireland Area Development Coach in 2021, simultaneously working with talented junior golfers from the Midlands-East and South-East Regions.

Corey remarked: “The OJGA is a unique and pioneering project in which I am privileged to be a part of. There is a wonderful team atmosphere in the academy as talented junior golfers from all over Offaly can come together to learn and develop their skills while representing both their individual clubs but also their county.”

Brian Monaghan thanked all sponsors.

“It goes without saying, none of this would be possible without the financial support of local businesses. Our sponsors have been fantastic and have supported our development since the inception of this venture. We are always looking for additional support and without these businesses we would not be able to provide such a comprehensive coaching programme.

“Our main sponsor, who was really the catalyst for this project remains committed to this Academy, and with people like Roger Guiney, Dolans Pharmacies, Austin Handy of Trade Safety and the people at the Offaly Sports Partnership backing this venture, we will continue to grow and evolve.

“We are always looking to improve our Academy and the coaching we offer and anyone who likes what we do are always welcome on to come on board.”

This year the academy commences with a Strength and conditioning programme from the 5th February, this is followed by six spring coaching sessions which brings the juniors to May 2022. Dr Mark Campbell will present his lessons in June which prepares the juniors for the summer ahead, with additional short game coaching and Academy junior golf tournament bringing the season to a close in August.

“We are so proud of what we have achieved thus far,” Monaghan smiled. “ Our hard working committee and dedicated sponsors, along with this wonderful team of professionals has collectively developed this academy into one of the best in Ireland and bodes well for the future of the game in our county.”

A testament to the Academy’s hard work can be seen first-hand in Offaly’s representation in Golf Ireland high performance panels. Offaly has no less than 13 junior golfers, including boys and girls, on Golf Ireland development panels. Eight of these juniors started their golf at their local clubs, and made their way onto the Academy set up where they progressed from there
onto the Golf Ireland panels.

“Who knows, we might have a Leona Maguire or Shane Lowry of our own yet,” concluded Brian Monaghan.

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