What it means to wear the Green jersey


Golf Ireland - Photo: David Lloyd / Golffile.

Golf Ireland welcomed Irish rugby legend Paul O’Connell into one of their High Performance team meetings at the end of May.

He spoke from the heart, detailing his memory of what it really meant to represent an all-island international rugby team – players from north and south wearing the same Irish jersey.

Golf is largely an individual sport but when it comes to the likes of the Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup, players team up to represent their regions. And this week, Ireland has sent four teams to European Team Championships in Belgium, Finland, Switzerland and France.


These players will unite and wear the Irish uniform and shamrock with the pride again.

“What we have got in the Irish team is something really special,” said Beth Coulter.

“It’s hard to explain, in college we are all part of a team but it’s different playing with your country, it’s like a pride thing.

“We know each other so well, we are from such a small place and we do spend a lot of time together. A couple of weeks ago we played the Close against each other and we can go out and spend four or five hours laughing while we are playing a serious match.

“That’s what’s really cool, we had that and then we are in Dublin Airport together and then playing as one and that’s really cool.

“We get the new gear and we get all this new stuff and it’s hard to realise sometimes you are actually playing for your country here.”

Golf Ireland partnered with Abacus Sportswear for the 2023 season, the uniforms now have a unified design consistent across all teams; Men, Women, Boys and Girls play together as one.

Kirkistown Castle golfer, Coulter, who hails from County Down, has only recently returned home after a year in USA where she was playing collegiate golf for Arizona State.

She is wearing green at the European Ladies’ Team Championship at Tawast Golf & Country Club in Finland. Fellow County Down starlet, Jessica Ross, is also part of that team alongside teammates Anna Foster, Kate Lanigan and recent call-up Mairead Martin.

Martin replaces Aine Donegan after her heroics in at the US Open in Pebble Beach. And following his sensational win in the US Mid-Amateur last year, Matt McClean was another Irish amateur who won invitations to Major championships Stateside.

The Belfast man was entered in The Masters and US Open, and McClean is back for Ireland in European action this week too, he is in Royal Waterloo Golf Club, Belgium for the Men’s Championship.

McClean loves getting the opportunity to play with his teammates, Max Kennedy, Alex Maguire, Liam Nolan, Mark Power and Caolan Rafferty.

“Representing your country, no matter where you are from, is obviously a special thing, whether or not that’s people in sport who represent Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland or the island of Ireland, it’s all the same,” said McClean.

“Whenever you get the chance to represent the country that you’re from it’s a great honour. Anytime you get to put on an Irish representative jersey it’s a proud moment.

“With golf it’s one governing body for the whole island which is good. Whatever people get used to, if you don’t know any different then no one has any problems really.

“Within the team over the years there has been plenty of good players coming from the north and south and you know it’s always been one team and there has never been any issues with that.

“Most sports can probably learn something from that and obviously the rugby team and the cricket team as well. Just a great environment to be a part of and it’s always a great moment when you get to represent Ireland.”

Maguire’s attentions will turn to The Open next week. The Laytown & Bettystown golfer has had a mesmeric rise and following his return from collegiate action in the States he has picked up the East of Ireland title along with the St Andrews Links Trophy.

“When I was nine or ten, I was dreaming about putting the Irish football jersey on and playing for Ireland. There’s no bigger honour than playing for your country regardless of what sport you’re in,” said Maguire.

“To be selected and get the call up to play for your country, to play and represent them in European teams is very, very special.

“There is something very special with the fact 32 counties play and everyone can be picked for the Irish team. I love the fact that anyone in the whole of Ireland can play for Ireland.”

Nolan is another player on form, the Galway man has also won big outside of Ireland this year with the South American Amateur in Ecuador before another victory at the Brabazon Trophy in Sunningdale.

“Walker Cup, Ryder cup, they were always big ones for me. I come from a house where we all love golf,” said Nolan.

“It was really special, we would bring the big TV down into the sitting room and all gather around it for a whole weekend to watch the Ryder Cup.

“I grew up playing team sports, I love team sports so it’s great to get an element of that in golf where it can be so individual. A group of golfers who usually have individual goals gather together for a week and you have one common goal to go and win the tournament you have been selected to play in.

“It’s really cool playing with the lads, we are so close all year so it’s good to get going to Belgium and give it a go as a team.

“You have the lads from all over the country, there’s no reason why we can’t go and represent our Island.

“It’s really special to wear the Irish gear and go over and show that we are as good as all the other big countries in Europe.”

Kennedy joined Ross on the winners podium in Clandeboye last May – he won the Men’s Ulster Strokeplay that day.

“It’s an absolute honour to play for Ireland. That’s probably the goal of every Irish amateur,” said Kennedy.

“I still remember the first time I was picked for Ireland when I was 14, I got picked for the U14 panel to go to Scotland and I remember coming here and getting the Irish clothes.

“Seeing the names of the likes of Gavin Moynihan, to be following their footsteps is pretty cool. When you look back at what you wanted to do as an amateur this is the pinnacle of it in Irish golf.

“The team brings us all together and that’s what we all want is unity, so for it to be like that and have lads from all over the country is a great honour, and it’s great to play for them.”

It is obvious these players are delighted to pull on the green shirt and play for the island. It is a unique opportunity not afforded to other countries.

And Clandeboye youngster, Ross, has only returned to golf post-Pandemic but is in scintillating form.

“It’s great to play with an all-Ireland team, it’s just nice having the other girls there to support you and you want to play well for them as well so it’s good,” said Jessica Ross.

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One response to “What it means to wear the Green jersey”

  1. Pat Lyons avatar
    Pat Lyons

    You state “the players will unite and wear the Irish uniform and shamrock with pride again”. In its wisdom(?), Golf Ireland has discarded the shamrock symbol from representative gear. This was and continues to be an utter disgrace. It is recognised worldwide as our national symbol and should be restored on our blazers/golf wear as a matter of priority.

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