Lahinch primed and ready; detailing how Galway can beat Mayo

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Galway hurler Joe Canning tees off on the eighth hole during the Pro-Am ahead of the 2019 Irish Open yesterday. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Galway hurler Joe Canning tees off on the eighth hole during the Pro-Am ahead of the 2019 Irish Open yesterday. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

The stage is set and the forecast is for the weather to be unusually good all four days in Lahinch for this year’s Irish Open. It’s not often you’d even get a day with little or no wind on the old links along the Co Clare coast but this week it looks like the professionals will get the guts of four days with pretty calm conditions. That could well leave the course fairly defenceless leading to very low scores but, as Philip Reid writes from Lahinch, the rough is up, the course is playing as a Par 70 and some tricky pin positions can still cause problems for the world’s best. There are many good holes at Lahinch and also a few blind shots which require pinpoint accuracy, none more so than the uniquely blind Par 3 fifth hole. With no view of the green whatsoever players will have to trust their instincts (and the yardage their caddie has given them) when they hit over a huge mound to a narrow green. Philip Reid has taken a closer look at three of the key holes at this year’s tournament. And, if you don’t know much about the town of Lahinch, its history and the famous course which is routinely ranked among the best in the world, then you should read Richard Fitzpatrick’s article from last Saturday in which he fondly remembers his summers at the course and charts its history which includes IRA ambushes, Major winners and a link with Augusta National. You can also follow all of the action from the first round of the Irish Open on our liveblog which begins at 10.15am.

On to GAA and in his statistics column this morning Eamon Donoghue makes the case for how Galway can beat Mayo, knock them out of the championship and make it eight wins in a row against their Connacht rivals. “Mayo are a combative team who look to penetrate quickly, break tackles, get into scoring zones and shoot. They are powerful, brave, talented. But not patient and not balanced,” he writes. The two Connacht rivals meet on Saturday evening while Laois take on Cork in one of the other qualifiers. Yesterday Ian O’Riordan spoke to Ross Munnelly who is still going strong after two centuries of appearances for his county. Munnelly is currently the oldest outfield player left in championship football, along with Mayo’s Andy Moran and Monaghan’s Vinny Corey and his experience could well pay off at Semple Stadium this weekend.

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