Irish Open Championships 2021 Day 3

Irish Open Championships 2021 Day 3

A case of Millertime on Sunday evening on lawn 4. No, not the mid-strength hooch but rather the fulsomely barneted follower of Inigo of Loïola (Ignatius of Loyola), Maximilien. The printing magnate - a serve and volleyer of distinction, dismantled the game of Gerard Osborne Burke in 90 minutes in their handicap singles clash. 26-4 the margin there. No mean feat as the bridge-designer cum mallet maestro GOB boasts the kind of game that is lorded throughout the croquet world. 

23 hours later, Max went on a 12 hoop break versus Danny Johnston but the petri dish whisperer put all 26 points on the board to seal victory. 

Day 3 action also saw squeaky bum time ag feidhmiú (functioning) ever so well. A 6-hoop break on time was not enough for legal kingpin Frank Martin as Burgundy enthusiast Nigel Werner took the spoils by 21 hoops to 19. 

The lawman would later fall short versus Dave McGrath after two maximum breaks from the tennis coach. 

Surf'n'turf supremo Tim Furlong is said to have hosted a high-level bbq late doors Oíche Dé Domhnaigh (Sunday night). The exclusive affair featured the distinctive South African "brai" cooking method popularised by Bafana Bafana (native fans of SA's national soccer team). Come morning time, Furlong shaped up to meet the tall, distinguished figure of Tony Allwright in their USCA Salver clash on lawn 2. The latter boasts the hulking physique of the 1974 Lions winning captain Willie John McBride. Allwright made an early 7-hoop break and was well placed to garner victory. Furlong rallied whilst demonstrating a remarkable grasp of lawn latitudes and angles. Possessed of this city's finest public planning cum engineering brain, Furlong grabbed victory by 22-12 and remains on course for major honours.

Croquet adversaries are much like pieces of cod and haddock; Some warrant battering but only in the 26-0 +6tp sense. The Royal and Ancient would have a field day with the number of rialacha (rules) adjudications this week. Réiteoir (referee) Simon Williams was summonsed multiple times to make judgement today. Eachtraí conspóideach/'igh (controversial incidents) ? Check. Tantrums, tiaras - Reg Dwight and Bernie Taupin would have had prime songwriting inspiration. One chastened protagonist was heard to utter Kevin Keegan's immortal line: "I tell ya what, they've still gotta go to Forest and get something and I tell ya, I would just love it, love it if we beat them !"

Richard Whelan's game has been compared to that of NBA great "the Mailman" Karl Malone (he always delivers). With partner Anne-Marie McGowan, a quite flawless and dramatic denouement played out in their alternative shot doubles opener by way of a 1 shot winning margin in overtime. Anne-Marie has the tactical smarts of the Sandman (Greig) and like the canny Scot, thrives under pressure.

That personification of Plato's republican ideals - Padraig Thornton,  took to lawn 1 with sharpshooter Sylvia Briggs in their doubles opener this morning. After a celestial half-lawn take-off from (B-baulk) the north boundary near corner 3 to the side of a ball on the eastern yard line to set up a rush to hoop 1, the Dalkey native was heard to declare, "I love living dangerously".

Elsewhere, esteemed dealbhóir (sculptor) Patsy Fitzgerald was sprinkling class all over lawn 3. The emerald-nation internationalist is tuning up his game for a tilt at the championship proper.

A major lunchtime logistics operation involving a Toyota Yaris and groundsman extraordinaire Simon Williams saw the replenishment of the bar's Killarney Indian Pale Ale stock. A group 1 carcinogen, aye,  but a most welcome accompaniment to a day's croquet. 

The elite championship events start tomorrow. A chance to glimpse thrilling technicians exhibiting a vast array of hoop-centric flourishments. 

Dave McGrath