Local ace Morgan grateful for Mullingar chance

Des Morgan will chase his Mullingar Scratch Cup dream again today — just 10 weeks after a four-hour operation to have a faulty heart defibrillator replaced.

The popular 32-year old Mullingar man, who has suffered from SADS or sudden arrhythmic death syndrome since 2004, feared he was having a massive heart attack when the defibrillator he had inserted suddenly kicked into action during a holiday in Spain. It turned out to be a faulty lead which connects the defibrillator to the wall of the heart and after having it replaced on March 4, Morgan is ready to tee it up again.

Drawn with newly-crowned Irish Amateur Open champion Robbie Cannon and Newlands’ Andrew Hogan in today’s first two rounds, Morgan said: “Initially when you get the shocks you think you are getting a heart attack because there’s no other reason why it should go off. Luckily enough there was a nurse with me at the time and she said I wasn’t having a heart attack. But with the sheer power of these jolts into your body you think, ‘Will this machine kill me?’ You go from ‘I am having a heart attack?’ to, ‘Is this machine going to kill me?’ You are in survival mode and a bit of blind panic.”

The former Leinster interprovincial didn’t play his first round of golf until Sunday and with a Mullingar man yet to win the famous Scratch Cup since it was first played 50 years ago, he’s determined to give it another shot, having finished second to Brian Casey last year and to Shane Lowry in 2008.

“I got the all clear from the surgeon and cardiologist three weeks ago and they said that all the tests were good and the body had healed quite quickly,” he said. “There was no reason not to get back so here we go, I’ll give it a rip even though I have no expectations. I wasn’t planning to come back for the Scratch Cup. Physically I am fine but with the lack of golf I might be very tired. But it’s great to get back.”

A clash with the Welsh Amateur Open has claimed some big names, with champion Casey of Headfort joined at Royal Portcawl by Richie O’Donovan, Harry Diamond, Rory McNamara and Jack Hume.

But there’s still a top-class field, with Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy the favourite with the bookies ahead of Morgan and 2011 winner Nicky Grant to lift the title after tomorrow’s final 36 holes.

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