The Open teed off in Ireland yesterday for the first time since 1951. Yesterday was a day to measure how far Northern Ireland has come, and how far Rory McIlroy's tee shots have strayed into the deep rough.
One small bit of progress that might have been lost on some of the golf audience was Antrim hurler's Neil McManus appearance this morning on Sky Sports. McManus is a wonderful representative of Antrim and the entire GAA and gave an eloquent explanation of what hurling is before smashing a golf ball 147 yards with his hurley.
How far can you drive a golf ball with a hurl?🤔@AontroimGAA's Neil McManus caught up with @SkySportsGolf at #TheOpen to bring his hurling expertise to the fairways!📽️👇 pic.twitter.com/JQ8pYzcssL
— Sky Sports GAA (@SkySportsGAA) July 19, 2019
It's obviously unusual to see a hurley on a links course, but it's especially bizarre to see a hurley in Portrush, which is located deep in the unionist heart of north Antrim.
If you want a sense of the cultural interests in Portrush, have a look at the line up of the 'Celebration of Marching Bands' which will take place tomorrow evening in the coastal town after the golf. Here's the programme:
1830 - 1900: William King Memorial
1900 - 1930: Derryloran Boyne Defenders
1930 - 2000: Dunloy Accordion
2000 - 2030: Ballykeel Loyal Sons of Ulster
2030 - 2100: Moneyslane Flute Band
2100 - 2130: Drumderg Loyalists, Keady
Hurling and the Moneyslane Flute Band - where else would you get it but Portrush?