TRANSPORT Minister Noel Dempsey was at the centre of a weekend scare after succumbing to a back injury on a golf course in Kenmare.
The minister was playing in the annual Brothers Golf Classic in Kerry with siblings Dermot and Niall when he suffered a sharp back spasm which left him prostrate on the 13th fairway.
He had to be helped off the course and returned Saturday to his Meath base.
Ironically, the Dempsey brothers looked set for a second victory in the event in three years before the Minister was forced to retire with six holes left. After bending down to search for a ball in bushes, he collapsed in agony when he subsequently tried to swing the club.
There was understandable anxiety when his brothers saw him collapsed in the middle of the fairway.
The Transport Minister is one of 12 brothers from Trim and is a keen golfer, with a handicap of 21.
The event was won for the second successive year by the Harty brothers from Nenagh – William, 17, Tim, 15, and Pat, 20 – with 180 points. They are the first set of brothers to successfully defend their title since the Ennis brothers in 1979.
Even without their stricken brother, the Dempseys still managed to come in third overall with 177 points. The Doran brothers from Carlow – Packie, 14, David, 10, and Jim, 13, finished second overall with 178 points.
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