One of five counties that make up the province of Connacht in the West Region of Ireland, Roscommon – motto “steadfast Irish heart” – is one of the least populated areas in the country but, according to a report in 2008, the good news for those who live there is that they enjoy the longest life expectancy of any resident in Ireland.
Half a dozen golf clubs operate in Roscommon today and by far the most important of these is the oldest, Athlone. The club was originally founded as Athlone Garrison in 1892, the year after the GUI was established, though it did not affiliate to the national association for another seven years. To mark the 100th year of its GUI membership, the club hosted the All-Ireland Cups and Shields finals in 1998.
For a relatively modest golf club, Athlone has acquitted itself very well in competitions down the years, winning provincial honours in the five main annual competitions (Senior Cup, Barton Shield, Junior Cup, Pierce Purcell Shield and Jimmy Bruen Shield) on more than 40 occasions. The club’s finest golfing achievement came in 1959 at Portmarnock when its 4-man Barton Shield team lifted the trophy at the All-Ireland finals.