Monday, May 10, 2021 – The luck of the Irish held on just enough to hold off the rain so that the 22nd Texas Irish American Cup Challenge golfers could enjoy their friendly tournament at the beautiful and historic Lakewood Country Club located in east Dallas.
Since 1998, the Irish golfers have traveled to Dallas for the Texas Irish American Cup Challenge. It all began with Mike Corboy, Jack Sistrunk, Mike Tierney and Tommy Gallagher more than 20 years ago. Together, the foursome dreamed up the idea of having a friendly golf tournament between the Irish and Americans. That dream continues to live and thrive. This year, due to the travel restrictions, our friends from Ireland were unable to travel to Texas, but there were plenty of supporters in America who traveled from near and far (i.e. Hawaii) to represent Ireland this year.
As the golfers trickled in for lunch after the morning tournament, Tommy Gallagher and other longtime friends in Ireland connected with the Texas golfers on a Zoom Conference call. “It was the next best thing to having them there,” said Marc Lyons, Chair.
Out of the 120 golfers that participated team Kenny Springfield and Jim Barragan won the Texas American Shootout in a chip off with 3 other teams after all parred hole #17, to represent the American side. Representing Ireland, team Declan Kenny and Brian Donohoe, making pars on 4 straight holes to advance to hole #18.
The American and Irish teams proceeded to #18 to vie for the Irish verses American Championship. The American duo drove their ball into the left lake and ended up taking a 6 on the hole.
The Irish duo drove their ball in the right rough but put their second shot 10 feet from the hole. They calmly two-putted for a par 4 and victory for Ireland. Congratulations to the Irish duo of Declan Kenny and Brian Donohoe for securing the Waterford Crystal Harp and green jackets for Ireland right as the rain began to fall!
David Feherty, announcer for NBC and the Golf Channel, host of Emmy-nominated “Feherty,” former golf professional and author, was the commentator of the Shootout. Feherty did not disappoint as he emceed and entertained the spectators with his candid and colorful reporting.
The guests watched the Shootout from the Terrace Garden Patio while they enjoyed connecting with friends and family. Additionally, guests partook in a Hinch Whiskey tasting, a new Irish whiskey in the Texas Market distilled in Co. Down, Ireland.
COCKTAIL RECEPTION, AWARDS DINNER AND AUCTION
Co-Chair, Marc Lyons welcomed the 200 guests and recognized the past Green Jacket recipients and the past Chairmen of the tournament. Darina Padian, Texas Development Director, thanked guests for their longstanding partnership and kind generosity. She spoke about The Ireland Funds’ 45-year legacy established by founders Dan Rooney and Tony O’Reilly. Additionally, Darina highlighted major sponsors, Carbon Companies, St. Jude Candle Company, Westwood Wealth Management, and American Airlines, Inc. She recognized Co-Chairs Marc and Georgia Lyons for their commitment and support for a tournament that would have happened in 2020. Darina ended her portion by showcasing the Heart of Community Fund Video featuring The Ireland Funds President and CEO Caitriona Fottrell.
National and Texas Regional Board Member, Kevin Curley, acknowledged and thanked past and current National Board Directors. Carbon Companies CEO, Ed Garahan, had the honor of introducing David Feherty who then regaled the room with his story of how he went from former professional golfer from Bangor, Co. Down, Northern Ireland, to becoming an American citizen and eventually was offered his first job commentating on CBS Sports as an on-course reporter and golf analyst. Darina presented David with the 2021 Diamond in the Rough Recognition Award for his years contributing to broadcasting and his influence in the golf industry over the past 40 years.
The evening continued with a Live Auction and six lucky winners who bid and won a variety of trips, excursions, and experiences. John Tillotson was awarded the 2021 Hall of Fame Award for his leadership, dedication, participation, and support in the golf tournament over the past 22 years. Darina thanked and recognized Georgia and Marc Lyons for their role as Chairs for the 22nd Texas Irish American Cup Challenge and presented them with a Waterford Crystal decanter.
It was a special day of gathering old friends and new to support the work of The Ireland Funds at a time of great need across Ireland’s communities. We thank our supporters for their commitment and care in these challenging days.
Photography: Turk Studio