Claire Coughlan or Ray Murphy: Choose the next Echo Rebel Legend

Cast your vote in our new fun competition to be in with a chance to win a €200 voucher
Claire Coughlan or Ray Murphy: Choose the next Echo Rebel Legend

Enter our competition and be in with a chance to win €200.

CLAIRE Coughlan or Ray Murphy? 

The Echo is running a fun contest from here until March 11 where you can vote for your favourite Cork stars since 1970 and pick the winners in each round until we're left with an overall Rebel Legend winner.

There are 32 contenders, with a golf trailblazer and serial pitch and putt winner paired off today

This poll will be open until 8am on Thursday morning.

Here's the case for each of the Leeside stars and keep checking here for the updates on the winners in each round.

CLAIRE COUGHLAN

ONE of many notable performances during Claire Coughlan’s glittering golf career came during the Curtis Cup in 2005 in Formby, Merseyside.

The Cork Golf Club member was the only Irish player in the GB+I team, which had another Cork representative in Ada O’Sullivan, the non-playing captain.

Although the US won 10-8 thanks to taking the Saturday singles 5-1, Claire had the distinction of winning all her three matches.

She partnered Scotland’s Anne Laing to 1 up and 3/2 foursomes wins over their American opponents, who included 14-years-old Michelle Wie.

And in the final day’s singles, Claire recorded a 2-up victory over Brittany Lang to complete a memorable weekend personally, though tinged with the obvious disappointment of going so close to overall success.

Two years later Claire was picked for the Curtis Cup team again in Oregon, where the Americans retained the title.

Born a 9-iron from the first tee at the Little Island club, Claire was encouraged and tutored by her grandfather Mick Twohig, a formidable player in his own right who also acted as caddy.

By the time Claire had reached the age of 14 she had already been crowned national U16 champion and from there she progressed through the ranks to blossom into one of the great golfers in these parts.

Her obvious potential was realised at just 19, when she defeated Kilkenny’s Eileen Rose Power to win the Irish Close title in Carlow in 1999, having been the Irish Junior Golfer of the Year the season before.

Claire became the youngest winner in 47 years of the prestigious championship and it was a year in which Claire was selected for the British Women’s Championship at Royal Birkdale, the Ireland team for the European Championships in Versailles and the Home Internationals in Scotland.

The National Strokeplay title found its way to Little Island as well in 2003, when Claire spread-eagled the strong field to win by seven shots in Rathsallagh, tightening her grip with a brilliant four under par 69 in the second round of the 54-hole event.

A couple of years later Claire managed to reach the final of the British Amateur Championship in Nairn, Scotland, a brilliant achievement in its own right.

There, she came up against the defending champion, Sweden’s Louise Stahle, whose experience helped reclaim the title with a 3/2 victory.

Also, in 2005, Claire was a member of the successful GB+I side, which defeated Continent of Europe 13-10 at Chantilly.

Picture: SPORTSFILE
Picture: SPORTSFILE

Another crowning chapter in her career came in 2006, when she led Cork GC to their first Irish Senior Cup triumph in 79 years, defeating Co Louth 3/2 in an exciting final played in Massereen, Co Antrim.

Claire’s 3/1 victory over her fellow international Deirdre Smith helped secure a precious point in a very tight decider, Cork having defeated Royal Co Down in the semi-final.

Claire was also a proud member of the Munster team through the years and was one of the stars in the 2003 team, which broke the Leinster and Ulster grip on the title.

Claire spent a few years in the professional ranks, securing her Ladies’ European Tour card at her first attempt in 2007 before returning to amateur ranks.

More recently she has passed on her knowledge and experience as non-playing captain to a variety of representative teams, including the GB+I junior Vagliano Trophy side.

RAY MURPHY

MURPHY is arguably the greatest Pitch and Putt player of all time.

Like the Goat in another code, Ray wears red shirts on the final day of championships and tournaments.

He shared (with Tiger Woods) an uncanny ability to strike fear into the hearts of fellow competitors. His presence on a leaderboard could transform the focus of his fellow participants.

Before his initial Cork Strokeplay (senior grade) championship success in 1998, Ray Murphy captured the 1985 intermediate championship, when playing out of Crosshaven.

Ray’s first provincial or national major title arrived when he defeated John Looney (Collins) in the 1994 Munster Matchplay championship at Rocklodge. Oddly, that remains his sole victory in the provincial Matchplay tests.

Ray defeated Chris Scannell (Collins) at Glenville to win his first Irish championship — the National Matchplay of 1998.

In the mid-noughties, Ray was practically untouchable in national individual championships.

Picture: Richard Mills.
Picture: Richard Mills.

Having claimed the 2006 All-Ireland Matchplay, Ray won the next four national individual titles as well, racking-up an unprecedented 'double-double' in 2006 and 2007.

It’s no surprise that Ray finished a season top of the national pitch and putt rankings on eight occasions.

Having made his international bow against Australia at Fermoy in 1994, Ray captained Ireland to European Team Championship victory at Lloret de Mar, Catalonia in 2001. He is the highest points-getter in International pitch and putt history.

Integral Cork has been the dominant team in the Inter-county Championship over the past couple of decades and Ray has played an integral part in all of the Leeside successes.

Unflappable on the course, Ray’s two individual overseas wins came at the 2004 and 2011 Dutch Opens and he was runner-up in the 2009 World Strokeplay Championship.

Ray won his first Cork Gents’ Matchplay Championship in 1987. Then playing out of Crosshaven, Murphy beat Jerry Crean (St Anne’s) in the final at St Anne’s.

Murphy retained the title the following year and has since won the title on seven other occasions — in 1996, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011. Ray’s nine championships constitute the most wins by an individual since the event was first played under PPUI rules in 1961.

Ray also holds the distinction of the longest gap (23 years) between first and most recent success.

Last year, Ray contested his 13th National Matchplay semi-final, which is yet another record.

Murphy won his first Cork Senior Gents’ Strokeplay championship in 1998.

Then playing out of Templebreedy, Ray fired 86 at Collins to tie Pat Desmond (St Stephen’s). Murphy prevailed in the play-off and has since won the title on four other occasions — in 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2016.

In addition to his phenomenal competitive successes, Ray nowadays spends endless hours preparing the St Anne’s course for competitions and for members’ recreational play.

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