THE winner of this year’s Irish Seniors Close Championship will receive the Maurice Kelly Trophy following a decision by the Golfing Union of Ireland to name the trophy after the five time champion, who passed away on 28 December last.
Kelly won the last of his five Close titles at Enniscrone in 2018. He was a prolific winner throughout his Seniors career and won the inaugural Close championship in 2009. At international level, Kelly played 99 times with Ireland. The Naas clubman, who also played out of Killeen during his international career, made his Ireland debut in 2005. A stalwart of many teams in green, Kelly enjoyed success at both the Seniors Home Internationals and European Seniors Team Championships multiple times.
Mark Wehrly, Championships Manager of the GUI, said: “Maurice Kelly was such a great competitor and it is only fitting that the Union has honoured his memory by putting his name on the Irish Seniors Close trophy. Maurice lifted this title a staggering five times. He was universally respected by his peers and we know this trophy will now be contested even more fiercely as a result.”
The Irish Seniors Close Championship, now 10 years old, was first staged in 2009 at Roscommon. That first championship was won by Maurice Kelly and he retained his title the following year at Blainroe. Kelly triumphed again in 2014, at Tullamore, and in 2015, at Grange.
Kilkenny Golf Club will host this year’s championship from 3 to 5 July. Played over 54 holes, the championship is open to male players over 50 years of age.