McClean set for AIG Irish Amateur Close at Headfort

Ireland international Matthew McClean, pictured ahead of this weekend's AIG Irish Men's Amateur Close. Photo by: Stephen McCarthy - Sportsfile

This weekend, 144 of Ireland’s best men’s amateur golfers will tee off on the New Course at Headfort Golf Club in the AIG Irish Men’s Amateur Close Championship, contesting one of the most prestigious prizes in Irish golf. The competition gets underway on Saturday

Defending champion Peter O’Keeffe is part of a very strong field, with former champions Hugh Foley, Robbie Cannon and Paul O’Hanlon in the field. Five members of Ireland’s Home Internationals team that finished in second place last week in Ballyliffin will also be competing.

Matthew McClean was part of the Home Internationals team and was this week named on the Ireland team for the World Amateur Team Championships. The Belfast golfer helped launch this year’s Championship from his home club at Malone.


Speaking ahead of the tournament, McClean said he was looking forward to competing in Headfort.

“It’s the last big event in Ireland this year. I like playing parkland golf and I’m playing with Hugh Foley and Jack McDonnell for the first two days, so it’ll be a good event.

“I’m in good form at the minute. I played well in Ballyliffin last week. It’s all about getting some practice in, and going in with the same positive attitude I do every week.”

Play begins on Saturday morning and after 36 holes the top 64 players will advance to the Match Play on Monday morning, with a winner crowned on Wednesday evening.

The competition was first played in 1893 and former winners include five major champions – Darren Clarke (1990), Padraig Harrington (1995), Graeme McDowell (2000), Rory McIlroy (2005 and 2006) and Shane Lowry (2007).

AIG already proudly sponsor a number of prominent Golf Ireland tournaments and competitions and are also the long-standing sponsor of the biggest amateur golf competition in Ireland, the AIG Men’s and Women’s Cups and Shields tournaments that involves every club across Ireland.

Commenting on the announcement, Aidan Connaughton, General Manager at AIG Ireland said; “AIG is delighted to partner with Golf Ireland and to sponsor the AIG Irish Men’s Amateur Close Championship again in 2022.

“We have proudly supported this special competition along with Irish amateur golf for more than 20 years, supporting the men’s and women’s game equally, which reflects our core brand beliefs in diversity, equality and inclusion. Golf is a sport that is embedded in communities right across the island of Ireland and we are dedicated to serving the communities our customers live in.”

Mark Kennelly, Golf Ireland CEO added; “We are delighted to have AIG’s support this week for the Irish Men’s Amateur Close in Meath. Over 140 of our best male amateur golfers will be looking to win the title and add their name to the impressive roll of honour.

“AIG have been a brilliant supporter of amateur golf in Ireland for over two decades at all levels. Some of those competing this week, also represent their clubs in the AIG Cups and Shields, and we look forward to a brilliant five days in Headfort.”

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