Alan Hanlon rolled back the years last Wednesday night to win his first major competition in Collinstown in over 5 years. Hanlon made the unprecedented move, a few years back, of completely rebuilding his game from scratch by switching to left-handed pitching. I can honestly say that apart from himself – nobody thought that this was a good idea. But it is a credit to the man that is Alan Hanlon that he persevered and worked hard through many dark days until he finally got his game back to a competitive standard. The first hint of this was earlier in the year when he blew the field away in Custume scratch cup. More recently, it was very obvious that he was back near his best when he comfortably qualified for this year’s county team after an absence of seven years. In many ways last night was just another step in the right direction – but it was a step, nonetheless, that he really wanted to take. And that appetite was obvious in the manner of the victory last night.
Collinstown was in its usual groomed condition for this coveted prize – a cup that local publican Des McManus sponsored many years ago. It was a cup that many coveted over the years and indeed with its new face-lift this year – it was once again a cup that any member would be proud to have in their trophy cabinet. Early moves were made by the usual suspects – John Browne recorded an opening 46 with Michael Buckley and Alan Hanlon both a shot back on 47. Darren Reilly playing off a 3 handicap was also in the mix after the opening 18 holes.
But it was in the second round that things really got going. Michael Buckley went on to add a 45 to his 47 to record the same score that won this cup last year – 16 under par. Darren Reilly did one better with a 17 under total, which eventually gave him the runners-up prize. Anne Kelly recorded a 110 score to win the ladies prize. But what was Hanlon doing? Well a fist pump on 9 when another birdie was rolled in, signified that he was doing a lot. For the second time in a week Mr. Hanlon recorded a 41 on the Collinstown course for an incredible 20 under par total, to win by the proverbial mile. The man is back – and back in a big way!!!