Peter O’Keeffe was today named on the Irish Mens team to play in the Home Internationals. O’Keeffe narrowly missed out on selection 10 years ago when he was competing at elite amateur level, and now he’s finally ticked that box. The Douglas golfer was added to the international mens panel after winning the Flogas Irish Amateur Open, and he followed that win with some solid performances through the months of June and July. Last week he finished as a semi-finalist in the South of Ireland, and many felt that would be more than enough to get the call up for August. For O’Keeffe its marks the achievement of a key long term goal, and it’s also a target he set himself. “I decided at the end of last year that I was going to work my ass off to make the Irish team” said O’Keeffe after the announcement of the team. “I’m delighted to achieve it now. I’m looking forward to preparing for the home internationals so I can have a great performance.” O’Keeffe put a huge amount of work into his game through the off-season, and he built a support team – including his fiancé Mary Claire who was drafted in as video analyst – to help him tighten up his game. Despite a busy day job, Peter’s phenomenal work-rate allowed him to improve in several key areas and now he’s reaping the rewards from physical and mental investment in his game.
O’Keeffe is one of two new caps. Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty is the other. Rafferty finished tied for seventh at the Lytham Trophy and made it to the last 16 of The Amateur Championship, where Paul McBride (The Island) was a beaten quarter finalist. McBride is playing at the Home Internationals for the third time and he comes into the event on the back of a fine performance on the European Tour. Having received an invitation to the Porsche European Open, he made the cut with two shots to spare. Tullamore’s Stuart Grehan is unavailable for selection as he is competing at the US Amateur Open but there is no shortage of experience in the side. Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) and Robin Dawson (Tramore) have featured on the last three winning teams. Campbell secured the decisive point against England in 2016. North of Ireland champion Rowan Lester retains his place in the team along with three other members of last year’s victorious side: Alex Gleeson (Castle), Conor O’Rourke (Naas) and Conor Purcell (Portmarnock). Colin Fairweather (Knock) regains his place in the team, having previously been capped for the 2015 Home Internationals at Royal Portrush.
Team captain Tony Goode is feeling confident: “I’m very happy with the team that we’ve selected. I’m really pleased with the two new caps, Peter O’Keeffe and Caolan Rafferty. They both deserve their place in the team. It is an experienced team and hopefully the boys can bring their A game. You need your A-game at the Home Internationals.”
Ireland begin their bid for a fourth successive triumph in the Home Internationals, at Moortown on 16 August. After completing a three in a row at The Nairn in 2016, Ireland now have the chance to create history. Never before has an Ireland team won four times in succession.
Ireland team (Home Internationals, Moortown, 16-18 August): Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), Robin Dawson (Tramore), Colin Fairweather (Knock), John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead), Alex Gleeson (Castle), Rowan Lester (Hermitage), Paul McBride (The Island), Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas), Conor O’Rourke (Naas), Conor Purcell (Portmarnock), Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk).
Team Captain: Tony Goode (Lucan)
Team Manager: John White (Co Armagh)
National Coach: Neil Manchip