World U-21 Golf Championships - Egypt Click for full report
The Irish contingent were all knocked out by Eygptians, Aussie wonderkids or Kiwis who eventually won the tournament.
Kieran got through his first round by beating our own Jack Glesson who fought commendably, taking K to three games.
This set up a second round match with Dina Saad, an Eygptian girl who had beaten Danny in the block stages. The general consensus was that he should have won that game, so Kieran went in very confident and took the match in two (7-3 7-5), despite somewhat of a comeback from Dina in game two.
This meant Kieran would meet the old enemy in the form of Will Gee in his third round match. Having played Will on many occassions before, Kieran went into the match feeling as confident as I’d ever seen him and with a well moulded game plan. Will needed to be treated with a lot of respect. His extra long mallet, afforded him by strange wrists and suspect undercarriage, gives him power that even the Egyptians were taken aback by. He’d also developed a quiet shot so he was not being taken lightly.
The first game saw Will’s power and accuracy in spades and it was agreed that no-one could have beaten him on that form. He began by running hoop 1 from the boundry, then running hoop 2 from the same boundry. At hoop 3, Kieran perfomed two excellent clearences, only to see Will run the hoop from the East boundry from an angle I had believed it impossible to run from. Kieran clawed the game back to a respectable 7-3, despite Will clearing everything Kieran put in front of a hoop.
At this point, faced with such raw talent, it would have been easy to crumble and go out with a whimper in two games. On this occasion, Kieran calmly stepped up and played a ball in front of hoop one. He knew if he stuck to his plan and stayed focused he would have his chance. Kieran ran hoop one and Will missed (for what seemed to be the first time!) allowing Kieran to run hoop 2. With hoop three casually following this and Kieran playing as solidly as I’d ever seen him, the future looked bright. Will’s temper began to take hold and he began to miss shortish shots, allowing Kieran’s accurate placement and unblinking hoop running to do its work, whilst he cleared Will from every corner when required.
The 2nd game went 7-4 in Kieran’s favour and though Dixon (NZ; Tournament winner) was playing on lawn one, I knew where the quality croquet would be and watched as the balls were played to in front of hoop one for the finall game.
The game very quickly went to 3 all, Will having calmed down and Kieran still displaying the consistency that our Irish effort had sorely lacked. It was on hoop 7 that this was to come unstuck. Kieran was struck by indecision and played a double tap in front of the hoop. Will showed his quality here, running to comfortably in front of the next hoop. As the arms went to Kierans temples and he looked to the sky , I feared the worst. Will took the next hoop and after an unchacteristic miss from Kieran he took the next hoop too. At 6-3, it looked bleak, but Kieran was to fly in the face of probabilty and took the next hoop. Then, he performed a ‘Harris special’ by playing tactically strange shots at hoop 11, but then managing to sail through to in front of rover with a serene angled shot from 5 yards out. Will increased the tension by missing and Kieran ran his hoop leaving an improbable final hoop showdown. Will placed a ball, Kieran cleared it to the boundry from close to the opposite boundry. Will put another ball off the boundry and Kieran rolled up but his attempted block fell short and Will with clinical precision ran the hoop from 7 yards and ended Ireland’s hopes.
Kieran played extremely well against an on form Will so there was no disgrace in losing. Will cleared everything that wasn’t precisely blocked and ran everything he could see. Kieran showed a sense of calm and maturity that all of the Irish party could learn from and it almost saw him through. He has set the benchmark and we must all must rise to his level as we continue forward.