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Rising star Sean Ryan tipped to have a big future after Irish Junior joy

By Ali Gordon

Warrenpoint golfer Sean Ryan has been hailed as "one to watch" after his Applegreen Lowfuelcard Irish Junior Open Series victory.

The nine-year-old from Burren had to birdie the last hole to win the overall championship.

Tournament organiser Michael Gallagher said: "I saw Sean playing a few years ago and I knew he was going to be good.

"But to put that performance in under pressure shows how good he is for his age and how much potential he really has. He's one to watch out for over the next few years."

The Irish Junior Open Series, Ireland's biggest junior golf tournament, began last month with its first event held at Holywood Golf Club. Leinster, Connacht and Munster then held regional finals before this week's three-day championships at Killymoon Golf Club.

Sean was leading the competition going into yesterday's final day, but had to finish in the top six to secure the overall title.

"The talent over the whole summer has been great," said Gallagher, who is the PGA professional at Clandeboye Golf Club.

"The cream always comes to the top and that's certainly what Sean did. He managed to come sixth by birdieing the last hole after being the last player to go out and finish so it was difficult for him but he saved the best to last."

Over 170 young golfers played in the final yesterday, including Sean's classmate Harry McArdle.

Nine-year-old Harry from Warrenpoint finished up as Under-9 winner while Ryan McNelis from Fintona fought off tough opposition in the form of Keaton Morrison and Tom McKibbin to take home the Under-15 trophy.

Sean said: "It felt great winning, it was very exciting."

Gallagher added: "The scoring over the past few days has been phenomenal. I have been so impressed. I'm going to build upon it and add another couple of events for next year. We had 800 youngsters this year so hopefully we can take it up to 1,000. It's all been very positive."

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