THE children of St Oliver Plunkett’s Primary School in Beragh, Co Tyrone, were treated to a special visit from the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Trophy – thanks to P7 pupil Molly-Rose McMackin who won the unique opportunity after coming first in an all-Ireland art competition.
11-year-old Molly-Rose, who has High Functioning Autism, was crowned the winner of the nationwide ‘Putt Yourself in The Picture’ competition organised by the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.
As part of the prize, the pupils enjoyed a Q & A session with Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Championship Director, Simon Alliss, professional golfer and Dubai Duty Free golf and tournament ambassador, Des Smyth, and Brian McIlroy, Chairman of the Rory Foundation and uncle of tournament host Rory McIlroy.
Molly-Rose and her family will also enjoy a VIP tour at the tournament’s Pro Am on Wednesday July 4, ahead of the main event which takes place from Thursday July 5 to Sunday July 8 at Ballyliffin Golf Club in County Donegal.
‘Putt Yourself in the Picture’ was a nationwide competition aimed at schoolchildren of all ages who were asked to submit a golf-themed drawing or painting of anything that inspires them. More than 300 entries were submitted from children all over Ireland but it was Molly-Rose’s drawing that stood out from the crowd.
Inspired by her favourite golf course Royal Portrush, Molly-Rose spent many hours refining her picture and sacrificed a few colouring pencils in the process as she made sure the colours were just right. The talented artist even incorporated the Burj al Arab as a nod to title sponsors Dubai Duty Free.
Molly-Rose’s winning picture will now be signed by Dubai Duty Free Irish Open host Rory McIlroy and defending champion Jon Rahm, then put on display at the tournament for players and spectators to see. What’s more, the signed picture will be auctioned to raise money for St Oliver Plunket’s Primary School. Molly-Rose will also receive a signed copy to keep and treasure.
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice President and CEO of Dubai Duty Free said: ‘’We were delighted to see the success of this year’s competition and the standard of drawings was very impressive. Congratulations to Molly-Rose on her wonderful winning drawing and we hope she has a memorable visit to this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open’’
The European Tour’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Championship Director Simon Alliss said: “We are so happy we ran this competition and met the highly talented Molly-Rose whose drawing was simply outstanding. The effort she put into her picture was phenomenal and we look forward to showing it off at this year’s tournament!
“We wanted to thank all the students who entered this year’s competition. We were so impressed by the drawings and loved looking at each one of them while building a greater understanding about what inspires children to play golf.”
Brian McIlroy of the Rory Foundation said: “The fourth annual Dubai Duty Free Irish Open children’s competition was a complete success. We received more entries than ever before, and it was a pleasure to see the children’s drawings. Molly Rose is an exceptional young lady and her drawing was beautiful. It was great to meet her, and I enjoyed hearing how much she loved taking part in the competition.
“We hope this encourages more children to take an interest in golf which is exactly what Rory wants. He knows first-hand how the game can be a fun hobby and even a good career choice!”, added Brian.
Bronagh Maguire, Principal of St Oliver Plunkett Primary School said: “We are delighted that one of our Year 7 pupils Molly-Rose McMackin has won such a prestigious prize for our school. We are extremely proud of Molly-Rose and knew she would excel in this task.
“In this time of economic austerity for schools, the money that will be raised at auction will provide a welcome boost and enable our pupils to avail of hopefully two things which will improve learning and teaching within our school. We have been fundraising for Accelerated Reader which is a computerised programme to encourage reading. We also need school iPads so any money raised from Molly Rose’s art will go towards these projects. What a fantastic contribution to our school from one of our pupils,” added Bronagh.
This Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation will take place at Ballyliffin Golf Club in County Donegal from July 5-8. Tickets for the event are still available on www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com. A portion of all tickets sales this year will go towards the Rory Foundation which was established by McIlroy in 2013 to help children live better lives by raising funds and offering support to children’s charities around the world.