Offaly legends unite as Shane Lowry visits Brian Whelahan's pub!
Last Sunday is one that visitors to Brian Whelahan's pub won't forget in a hurry, as one of its customers on the day was none other than Shane Lowry!
Tourists from Northern Ireland were among those surprised and delighted to walk into the pub in Birr and be greeted by the sight of the 2019 British Open winner.
"We had two couples from Northern Ireland who came in to have a drink on Sunday, and the first person that they saw was Shane Lowry!" Brian Whelahan told the Offaly Independent.
"They had come to Birr for the weekend and bumped into one of Ireland's most famous sportspeople, so that was a great occasion for them as well."
The publican and Offaly hurling legend was delighted to host the golfer, his father, and their friends on the day, and the feeling was mutual.
On Instagram, Shane posted a photo of himself with Brian, and wrote: "They say you should never meet your heroes but this one is different."
Explaining the background to the visit, Brian said that Shane, his father Brendan, and a few others had called in to the pub before attending Sunday's Senior B Hurling Championship game between their native Clara and Shinrone, which took place in Birr at 2pm.
The group said they would return to Whelahan's after the game, and they did just that.
"Shane was in great form, and we had a good evening," said Brian. "He was there with his friends, and was able to watch the Liverpool and Manchester United game with them.
"He posed for pictures with everyone - if anyone wanted a photograph taken he obliged them. He was just very down to earth and very humble.
"They're recently back from the Ryder Cup, and there was great chat and great banter about how they're getting on, and everything like that. Everyone couldn't believe how down to earth he was, but that's just the nature of the guy."
And Brian was equally enthusiastic about the positive impact Shane Lowry's backing has had on gaelic games in the county.
"Shane is known throughout the world as an outstanding golfer and a great ambassador for Ireland, but he's also known very much within this country as being a huge Offaly GAA supporter.
"The relationship there - coming from his Dad and his uncles - has lent itself to that. So it has been a wonderful association, between the way Shane's career has gone and seeing him at Offaly games as a genuine supporter," he said.