21st Texas Irish American Cup Challenge and Cocktail Reception and Awards Dinner
21st Texas Irish American Cup Challenge, 2019
This year’s showdown between the American and Irish golfers was held at the beautiful TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas in Irving, Texas on Monday, May 13, 2019. The Texas Irish American Cup Challenge has been a growing juggernaut in The Ireland Funds Texas Chapter for more than two decades. It was founded by Mike Corboy, Tommy Gallagher, Jack Sistrunk, and Tom Tierney and began as a friendly competition between American and Irish friends in 1997.
“We were fortunate to have the Tournament spearheaded by second-time Co-Chairs Joe and John Tillotson. Other key organizers included Sylvia Tillotson as Chair of the Ladies Committee; original founder Tommy Gallagher; the Mens Golf Advisory Committee; our volunteers; sponsors; hosts; and, of course, visiting Irish golfers. All participants were invaluable to the success of the tournament and the many accompanying events surrounding the main event,” said Texas Director Darina Padian.
It was a beautiful day for the 124 golfers who traveled near and far to participate in the competition. On the American side, team Ryan Hanratty and Marc Lyons won the American Shootout with a par on #17. On the Irish side, team John Cantrell and Eamonn Cregan and team Geraldine Doran and Kieran Quinn tied with par 3s on #17. On replaying #17, both teams tied again. A chip off ensued to break the tie, and Cantrell and Cregan were closest to the hole to win the Irish Shootout.
The American and Irish teams proceeded to #18 to vie for the championship. Both teams made a par 4 to tie the hole. As the rules stated, both teams replayed #18. The Irish team pulled their drive into the lake making a bogey 5. The American team drove their ball onto the fairway; the second shot was on the green. They calmly two-putted making a par 4 and victory for the Americans. The last time the Americans won was 2015.
Cocktail Reception and Awards Dinner, 2019
The Shootout was accompanied by bagpipers and a solo drummer marching from the 18th fairway to the 18th hole playing traditional Irish music marking the end of the Tournament and the beginning of the Harp Trophy Ceremony and Cocktail Reception around the 18th hole. After Ryan Hanratty and Marc Lyons were awarded the Waterford Crystal Harp Trophy, guests were directed to the Four Seasons Pavilion for dinner where they were welcomed by Co-Chair John Tillotson who kicked off the Green Jacket Ceremony by congratulating the pair again and presenting them with their green jackets.
John also recognized Honorees Archie Bennett and Tommy Gallagher for their commitment and dedication to the Tournament. Texas Director Darina Padian welcomed guests and introduced a video highlighting The Ireland Funds mission and the many causes it supports.
Tom Codd, Board Member of The Ireland Funds America, recognized key organizers and discussed the role The Ireland Funds plays in the lives of so many around the world. John and Don Hanratty presented the Founders’ Award to Deborah Sistrunk-Hill and Noreen Tierney – both daughters of the late Jack Sistrunk and Tom Tierney respectively. John and Sam Chantillis, M.D., presented the Hall of Fame Award to Paddy Shanahan for attending all 21 Cup Challenges.
Kingsley Aikins, CEO, The Networking Institute, conducted a high-spirited live auction. The evening ended with guests gathered around the keyboard for a traditional Irish sing song.
Photos: Can Turkyilmaz