If ever the Mayo senior football team wanted to draw some inspiration from one of their own, they could do worse in advance of their upcoming All-Ireland SFC Final with Tyrone than look to the example set by Eddie Maguire.
The Blacksod native, who as an 18-year-old made his senior football championship debut for Mayo in the same month that he sat his Leaving Cert, and scored his side’s only goal in a 1-7 to 1-6 defeat to Sligo, last week pulled off one of the shocks of the golfing season by winning the Handa British Open for blind and visually impaired golfers.
In what could turn out to be a great sporting year for Mayo, Maguire shot two nett level par rounds at Co Antrim’s Galgorm Castle Golf Club for a stableford total of 72 points, which secured him a three stroke victory despite his ranking as one of the outsiders in a quality international field.
The course at Galgorm was an extremely challenging one and posed plenty of problems for all the golfers, but dealing best with the terrain and the conditions was Maguire whose playing partner was a former British army officer, Jason Heathfield, who had been seriously injured during a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
This was Eddie Maguire’s ninth attempt to land the British Open crown and his attention now will turn firmly to the ‘Race to Royal Dublin’, as he currently sits in third position in the 10-event Order of Merit title race which will conclude in late November. The significance is that the top three finishers in the Order of Merit after Royal Dublin will be selected to represent Ireland at the Handa South African and Handa World Championships in Cape Town next April.
The scorer of the late goal that snatched victory for Mayo against Dublin in a dramatic 1961 All-Ireland minor semi-final, Eddie Maguire is among the most uniquely positioned ex-GAA players in that he went on to play senior inter-county football for four different counties – and scored for three of them in Championship.
His 1962 debut turned out to be his only senior championship appearance in the Green and Red although Maguire did also play in the National Football League, and there followed outings for New York, Meath and Carlow as well before his retirement from the inter-county game at the early age of 25.
Also a talented boxer in his youth, Eddie Maguire was a geography, history and Irish teacher by profession but after his most recent success is confident that “it will be birdies and eagles all the way for this new look Mayo team” when they hit Croke Park on September 11.