Roscommon’s Ken Kearney recalls epic battles with superstar Harrington

Padraig Harrington’s amazing victory in the British Open Golf Championship was rightly celebrated around the country on Sunday last as one of the greatest ever achievements in Irish sporting history.  For one Roscommon man who played with and aganst Harrington in his amateur days and who remains firm friends with him to this day, it was an occasion to remember.   Ken Kearney played against Padraig Harrington many times in competitive golf – winning several times and losing several times too! The two played together on many occasions for Ireland and for Great Britain and Irish teams as two of the top amateur players in the country in the early 1990’s. Probably their most dramatic high profile clash came in the 1994 West of Ireland Final. I was in Rosses Point myself to see Roscommon man Ken  against the up and coming star of Irish golf, Harrington.   Ken burst from the blocks and blitzed Harrington with a run of birdies and by the 8th hole the Roscommon man was four up. However Harrington showed the patience for which he has now become so famous and he had levelled the match by the 14th hole. After that it was nip and tuck and when he sank a birdie putt on the 17th he had beaten Ken by 2 and 1 to claim the West of Ireland title.   ‘I remember it well. I played ever so well early on but he stuck in there and caught me at the finish. There were loads of great golfers at that time