Friday, March 31, 2023

Captains John Cushen and Rovena Fahey with Junior Captain Paddy Fitzpatrick

THE weather may not have been the best on the day, but it did little to dampen the spirits of The Heath Golf Club members when they gathered for the Captains’ drive-in.

The men’s captain John Cushen, one of ten siblings, was born and raised on the family farm at Ballyclider, Portlaoise. After a successful career in flour milling in Ireland and New Zealand, John settled back in Portlaoise in 1992 with his wife Mary, and four children, where they purchased a newsagent in Lower Main Street followed by another two years later in Laois Shopping Centre. They retired from business in 2013. During his term in business he captained the Midland Traders, and Irish Retail Newsagents Golf Societies.

As well as playing hurling and football in his youth with Ratheniska, John was Chairman of Ratheniska Macra at 16 years.

He joined the Heath Golf Club in 1996 and he reckons his golf highlight to date is winning a monthly medal playing with a handicap of 12. And he has had three holes-in-one on the Heath. He was a member of the Fred Perry and South Leinster teams in 2022 and managed the JB Carr team the same year. He has also served as President of the club’s Bridge Club.

The women’s captain, Rovena Fahey was born in Laois but became a Lily White at a young age and she now lives in Newbridge. However, she has returned to Laois to play her golf.

Rovena has been involved in sport since her teenage years having played everything from squash to badminton to volleyball and she is still involved in basketball. Rovena progressed to club basketball with Newbridge, Kilcullen and Dublin and played at various levels for over 35 years. She took up refereeing when she was 18 years of age and officiated at all levels of competition for schools, clubs, national leagues and most memorably the Special Olympics when it was held in Ireland in 2003.

Her introduction to golf began seven years ago when her husband brought home a flyer for the initial ‘Get Into Golf’ programme at the Heath. “I thought I would give it a go and thanks to Helen Kelly and Roisin Adams whose encouragement and support along with the other golfing ladies of the Heath made the experience wonderful. And the rest, as they say, is history,” said Rovena.

Rovena has served as the Handicap Secretary and last year, as Vice-Captain, she ran the ‘Get Into Golf’ programme which was very successful. She says she is very honoured to hold the position of captain of the women’s section of The Heath Golf Club and is looking forward to the year ahead.

The junior captain Paddy Fitzpatrick (16) is a transition year pupil in St Mary’s CBS, Portlaoise. He joined the club three years ago and now plays off a handicap of 7. As with his siblings, he is a talented sports person playing soccer, basketball, hurling and football. He is a member of the Laois minor football panel.

During his TY year he got involved in coaching first year basketball and the team has just won the Midlands ‘A’ final. He is also following his sister Chloe’s footsteps as she was the first junior captain of the club. Paddy is delighted to be junior captain and is looking forward to the year ahead.

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A little bit of history made