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Leona Maguire talks of her pri...
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Leona Maguire talks of her pride in being named on the Solheim Cup team

Cavan's Leona Maguire is hoping to be the first of many Irish women to play on a Solheim Cup team after being named in the European side.

Maguire was a wildcard selection by Captain Catriona Matthew for the matches against the USA at Inverness golf club in Ohio from September 4th to 6th.

She is the first Irish woman to ever play on the European team and she told Newstalk Breakfast that it has been a life goal.

"I have sort of dreamt about it and looked forward to it for a long time, so for it to be made a reality is really satisfying.

"Growing up there was no Irish women in the Solheim Cup. We had the lads doing heroic things in the Ryder Cup side. The Solheim Cup in 2011 at Killeen Castle was big for both myself and (twin sister) Lisa. We played the junior one at Knightsbrook. I remember following along every hole, watching Suzann Pettersen and her heroics to close that out coming down the stretch. Ever since I played those junior ones - I really wanted to be on this team. It took a while, but we got there and hopefully, I will be the first of many Irish players to be on Solheim Cup teams in the future."

26-year-old Slieve Russell star Maguire has had an excellent season on the LPGA Tour, with nine top 15 finishes, including a second at the Meijer Classic, followed by a tie for sixth in a major at the Evian Championship, which included a closing 61.

She has advanced to number 43 in the world rankings and Maguire had her twin to thank on what's another landmark moment for Irish golf.

"Lisa has been a big part of my journey. She was on two of those junior Solheims with me and I would love to be on a real Solheim Cup team with her. She has been with me every step of the way on my pro journey and I owe her a lot as well. This is as much hers as it is mine."

The Solheim Cup is the women's version of the Ryder Cup and Europe are bidding to retain the trophy they won at Gleneagles two years ago. Team sports fit well with the Irish psyche, and Maguire feels she will be in her element.

"I love team sports. That was something I really enjoyed in college, playing an individual sport, but being a part of a team as well, having the support of your teammates, and being part of something that's bigger than yourself. I got a taste of that in Tokyo a few weeks ago. The camaraderie with the Irish team was incredible and hopefully, this Solheim Cup will be no different. The Europeans are always known for having a bit better camaraderie than their American counterparts. I know all the girls on the team. We play together every week, but it will be nice to play together with people rather than against them for one week of the year.

"It will be up to Captain Beany (Catriona Matthew) to decide what she wants me to do,  but I'll be willing to do whatever it takes to try and bring that Cup home."

Maguire added that she's at home with all aspects of the team format.

"Foursomes is something I have always enjoyed. I'll be open to playing with anybody. Foursomes is the tricky one, getting that balance of people's personalities and their games matched up. We'll have a few practice days to figure those things out.

"Fourballs you can really play with anybody and it's just a case of trying to make as many birdies as you possibly can.

"It's a really exciting formula, I really do love team golf and Matchplay. Singles on the last day is an all or nothing thing. All the rankings and everything you have done for the year really goes out the window in Matchplay. It's 18 holes of golf and anyone can win."

The Solheim Cup may not contain the white heat of a Ryder Cup, but that doesn't mean it won't be edgy and competitive. For Maguire, that's a journey into the unknown, but something she is keen to embrace.

"The atmosphere -  I am sure there will be big chants of USA going around and we'll probably be severely outnumbered in terms of support, but at the same time, it's something you have to enjoy and thrive off that energy and those crowds and that adrenaline rush. I'm sure there will be nerves on the first tee, but once we get going, it's a case of settling into it quite nicely. Hopefully, everybody at home can watch along and cheer us along. Irish people are the best fans in the world - I have said that before. And hopefully, there's a few Irish Americans that will come out to Ohio and cheer us on."

Open champion Shane Lowry has not been shy to make known his love of Offaly GAA, and Leona Maguire wants to bring some silverware back to her native Cavan.

"There's no Sam Maguire coming back to Cavan this year, so hopefully we'll try and bring a Solheim Cup back instead!"

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