Shane Lowry swings in behind Offaly GAA in new partnership

‘I don’t just want to put my name to something and then not get involved’

You can provide a legacy in different ways. How about by beating all-comers on the linksland of Royal Portrush to lift a Claret Jug? Shane Lowry, still the British Open champion, ticked that box in 2019.

And while he is set to resume playing on the PGA Tour at next week's Wells Fargo Championship, Lowry has deviated off the fairways to contribute to a different kind of benevolence in a cause close to his heart by getting behind Offaly GAA's bid to again be a major force in hurling and football.

While the Carrolls name will remain across the broad chests of Offaly players, Lowry has reached out to take on a role as a partner to Offaly GAA. Apart from financial contributions, his association will also include providing two days annually for possible fundraising activities – one in Ireland, another in the United States – and also meeting with the county's underage squads to provide inspiration and insight into how top sportsmen work to achieve their goals.

"Hopefully we can raise a lot of money and put it to good use, target the underage systems, the school system, getting young lads into college, into third-level and playing Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cups, that's where the progress will be seen," said Lowry, son of 1982 All-Ireland-winning footballer Brendan, and who himself played with his club Clara right up to minor level before, as he put it, going down a different path in pursuing a life as a professional golfer.


He added: “I don’t just want to put my name to something and then not get involved. This is something I’m very passionate about, that my family is very passionate about. My dad’s over the moon that this is happening. It’s great for us as a family to be able to do something like this. The underage is where I think is the big target for us and, if we can start producing good players who want to wear the green, white and gold jersey again, that’s what it’s about for me.”

While Lowry’s crossover from the GAA pitch to golfing fairways was to prove life-changing, he credits his father with instilling that competitiveness: “I got my competitive edge and my competitive spirit from my father and he would have got it from playing football for Offaly at a very high level. That’s where I get it from. I am a very competitive person, I don’t like losing.”

After a two-week break since playing in the RBC Heritage, which was his seventh tournament in an eight-week stretch, and after which he felt “jaded”, Lowry resumes tournament play at next week’s Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina and then has another week off before playing in the season’s second major, the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in South Carolia. “I feel like my game is in a good place and I am happy with the way things are going. I am excited about the PGA,” he said.

Lowry will have his regular caddie Brian "Bo" Martin back on the bag for next week's tournament and for the following run of events which will take him up to the US Open at Torrey Pines in June, after which he can start looking back towards playing in Europe and ahead of his defence of the Open at Royal St George's in July.

And while Lowry has targeted the Majors and also in making Europe’s Ryder Cup team later this year, does he harbour any ambitions to be world number one at any point in his career?

“ I don’t have any ambitions to be world number one. Not that I don’t want to be world number one or I’m not working towards it, but I don’t. To be honest, I just wake up every day and do what I can do to be as good as I can be. I literally try my best every day. I go out and gave it 100 per cent. I work hard and I do everything I feel I need to do to play at this level.

“Do I feel I can compete with the best in the world? Yes I do. Do I feel like I can become world number one? I am not sure. The standard in world golf is incredible at the minute. If you look at the top 10 in the world at the minute any one of them could be world number one.

“So no I don’t really. But people might criticise me and laugh at me for saying that. But I don’t have any ambition to be world number one, I just want to go out every day and be myself and be the best person that I can be and be Shane Lowry. The best version of me every day is good enough for me so that’s all I want to be I suppose.”

Adding his county’s GAA ambitions to his golfing legacy in such a manner as the new partnership would, you imagine, only confirm that he is being the best version of himself as he can be.

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times