Thoughts of a European champion - John Cahill
Dagenham 2019 arguably represents John Cahill's biggest victory to date in a hugely decorated career and understandably the Fermoy, Co. Cork native is elated. "It's a fantastic feeling. To finally get over the line is brilliant."
John prepared assiduously (accompanied by his club colleague David Sexton) around the Central Park course in advance of the championship and felt he got to know it well. "Dagenham is a very tricky but fair course. But if you pitch well, you will be rewarded."
A close shave (runner-up by a single stroke) at the 2015 European Strokeplay left him with a sense of unfinished business with the championship. "To be honest, in Orvelte four years ago, I felt Liam O'Donovan won it (with his five birdies to finish) instead of me losing it but yes, it was a bitter pill for me to swallow for a few days."
Midway through the back nine on Sunday in London, there was a fleeting feeling of deja vu. "It did cross my mind as we left the 14th green at Dagenham and I had lost a four shot lead, I was thinking HERE WE GO AGAIN!"
One of the all-time Pitch and Putt greats was one of Cahill's playing partners for the 2019 European Strokeplay championship final round. "John Walsh is a legend of the game and I always enjoy playing with him. We have been on the Cork team together for nearly 20 years. You know playing against John, if you don't play your best, you won't win. It's as simple as that!"
A keen calculator of the odds in his chosen profession, John delivered a succinct analysis of how Sunday's events unfolded at Dagenham. "It was a very enjoyable final round to be involved in. Both John and I were -3 for the first four holes. Conor Fahy was -1 so very early it seemed like a straight shoot out betwen me and John. After the 7th hole when I took a four shot lead, it was looking good for me but John-John brought me back to level after fourteen holes. The main turning point was on 16. That's a 58 yard hole and John-John pitched the ball to seven foot. I stood up and pitched the ball to two inches..!! John missed his putt, which gave me a one shot lead with two to go. We both parred the 17th. I pitched the last to five feet and John mishit his teeshot. It was "game over" then."
2001 Irish Strokeplay champion Cahill's tilt at the title got off to the best possible start with an opening round of 46 in Dagenham on Saturday morning. "I started very quickly. I was -7 after 11 holes. Breaking John Deeble's record of 43 did cross my mind. I took a bogey on 12 and that thought was quickly gone from my mind. The greens were rolling super which helped in good scoring all weekend."
A European Championship winner with Ireland at Urduna last year, John's Pitch and Putt focus will be domestic for the remainder of 2019 but his international ambitions are far from sated. "Well, there will be no more trips for me this year but I really like playing the international game. Next year is World Cup year so everyone will be trying to make the team. It's a pity it's only a three man team as it's a great honour to represent your country and it would be great to see more people wearing the Irish colours."