Talented Maguire twins the future of Irish women's golf




This doesn’t happen very often, and it is definitely a one time offer -- step into the bedroom and we’ll take a look at something very interesting.

Now I’ll bet you weren’t expecting that paragraph to jump off the page in downtown Manhattan or uptown Queens as you digest all things Irish right now.

If truth be told, even I didn’t expect that I’d be inviting you into my bedroom today or any other day for that matter, but bear with me.

Let me explain. If we look out my bedroom window here in deepest county Meath, we can actually view the regal entrance to Killeen Castle golf club, host venue to the 2011 Solheim Cup.

The Royal County’s newest golf course is no ordinary golf course. It’s a Jack Nicklaus Signature course that has been designed to near perfection by the American great.

It’s tough, it is challenging and, yes, it is a joy to play in a county that already boasts a very, very fine Christy O’Connor Junior layout at Headfort in Kells, another at Knightsbrook and very good tests at the likes of Trim, Royal Tara and Black Bush.

I happen to know a thing or two about golf around these parts, and now that my new knee is finally in proper working order I’m looking forward to learning even more when I return to the fairways in the coming weeks.

Part of my golfing re-education will take place across the road from us here in Killeen, just between the villages of Dunshaughlin and Dunsany and not a stone’s throw from the historic Hill of Tara.

It’s still there by the way, the Hill of Tara that is. Despite the nonsense perpetrated by the tree huggers, the new M3 Motorway hasn’t brought the Hill crashing down, nor has it diminished the number of visitors to Michael Maguire’s very fine coffee shop adjacent to the famous site.

Back to the golf. Two of the most regular visitors to the Killeen Castle golf complex are the Maguire twins from Co. Cavan, two young ladies you are about to hear a whole lot more about.

They’re just 15 -- being twins both of them are 15 but I do know a story about a man asking a twin on radio if his brother was the same age as him!

The girls are in the headlines back home right now because both Leona and Lisa Maguire have just been selected on the Britain and Ireland team for the forthcoming Curtis Cup clash with the U.S.

Only the enigmatic Michelle Wie has played Curtis Cup at a younger age than the two Cavan girls who are coached by Black Bush professional Shane O’Grady and fine tune their game at Killeen Castle.

Michelle was just 14 when she flew the Stars and Stripes in the 2004 staging of this famous amateur tournament, and around these parts we expect to see Miss Wie visit us for the 2011 Solheim Cup in September of next year.

It’s unlikely, however, that the Maguire twins will be in the European team just over a year from now even if they are already good enough to prompt such speculation.

For a start, they have no plans as yet to turn professional, although there is little doubt that their talents will eventually lead them to the paid ranks.

They also have an education to worry about -- or not as the case may be!

Open Tuesday’s Irish Times and you will read a fascinating article by the talented Johnny Watterson, who spent Monday following the Maguires at the Irish Schools finals on the Milltown course in Dublin.

In the piece mum Mrs. Maguire, a school teacher who goes by the name of Breda, reveals that the pair will skip the Junior Certificate state exams in June in order to make their Curtis Cup debuts.

It transpires -- and I never knew this but Breda being a teacher I’ll take her word for it -- that the Junior Cert, unlike the Leaving Cert, is not compulsory.

The girls have already had their mock exam results accepted by their school back in Cavan and will be free to travel to Massachusetts for their big U.S. breakthrough in June.

Next year is a transition year at school for the sisters when they will play in a number of professional events, but strictly as amateurs according to their mum, who knows best like all mums.

That means they won’t be available for selection for the European team when the Solheim Cup comes to Ireland and Meath for the first time, but judging by the rapid rise of these two Cavan girls I wouldn’t bet against it -- no matter what mum says.

By the way, there will be a younger girl playing in this summer’s Curtis Cup, America’s Alexis Thompson.

“Alexis is two months younger than us,” Lisa Maguire told The Irish Times on Monday. “But it’s amazing that we have made it at such a young age.”

It is indeed an amazing story, and one that you are going to hear a lot more about the weeks and months to come.

Now if you need a bed when the Maguire girls play as guests at the AIB Irish Ladies Open at Killeen Castle this August just give me a shout.

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