Fintan goes for gold in countdown to games

Fintan goes for gold in countdown to games

7 March 2018

A BALLYNOE golfer intends swinging his way to gold later this year.

Thirty-eight year-old Fintan O’Connor is one of 11 members of Down Special Olympics Club included in the Ulster team which will take part in the Special Olympic Ireland Games in Dublin in June.

The nine-handicapper won gold at the 2012 Special Tri-Nations tournament and also lifted the Ulster Special Olympics title at Killymoon Golf Club in 2015.

He has an insatiable appetite for golf and has been helped by his brothers, Kevin and Garvan.

“Winning gold in Dublin is my aim,” he said. “Golf is everything to me and I get out on the course as often as I can to practice.

“I love being out in the fresh air and working on different parts of my game. I’m concentrating on my putting at the minute and trying to visualise the ball ping into the hole as I line up my putts.

“I enjoy meeting people and have had a great time since joining Down Special Olympics,” he added.

Fintan maintains he gets a buzz out of playing well and when he is in the zone, there is no stopping him.

“I feel comfortable with my game at the minute and hope to try out a few different local courses as the tournament draws nearer,” he continued.

“Hopefully, the weather will improve enough over the next few weeks and I will get the change to play Royal County Down, Lough Erne and the tournament course at St Margaret’s Golf and Country Club, just outside, Dublin.

“When I am out on the course I don’t feel pressure or worry about what people expect of me. I just go out, play with a smile on my face and enjoy it. 

Fintan continued: “I like watching Rory McIlroy and the way he just goes for it — I do the same, but never always with the same result as he gets. I am confident enough in my own ability and firmly believe that I can win gold in Dublin.”

Fintan revealed one of the secrets of his success — he’s been using the same set of clubs for the past 20 years and sees no reason to change them;

“They give me confidence and although I am a bit nervous before the start of a round when I am playing in front of people, I settle after a few holes and don’t let anything get in my way.”

A fund-raising table quiz for all of the Down Special Olympics Club athletes on the Ulster team will be held in the Lakeside Inn, Ballydugan, on St Patrick’s Night, starting at 8pm. The charge is £5 per person.

Meanwhile, Down Special Olympics Club will be the beneficiaries of Loughinisland GAC’s Strictly Come Dancing competition later this year.

Training begins in July and the semi-finals will be held on September 22 and September 29, with the final on October 13. Anyone wishing to take part should contact Maureen Brennan on 07713 126864.