VOTE: Offaly All Time Great semi-final: Shane Lowry and Brian Whelahan

Offaly Express Reporter

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Offaly Express Reporter

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VOTE: Offaly All Time Great semi-final: Matt Connor v Pat Smullen

Brian Whelahan

63%

Shane Lowry

37%

The Offaly Express is continuing a series of polls to crown Offaly's All Time Great.

A shortlist of 16 was drafted with some of Offaly's finest exports drawn from the areas of sport, politics, music, television and business duelling it out for votes, and following a week of voting, we now have our semi-final line-up.

This semi-final is between two sporting giants, golfer Shane Lowry and hurler Brian Whelahan. Voting remains open until 11.59pm on Sunday.

SHANE LOWRY

Offaly's most internationally recognisable sportsman, Shane Lowry has made a name for himself as one of the world's top golfers. He burst onto the scene thanks to his historic win in the 2009 Irish Open while still an amateur, becoming just the third amateur ever to win on the European Tour.

He quickly turned professional, enjoying a win in the Portugal Masters in 2012 before enjoying his most recent and biggest victory in the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, beating former US Masters champion Bubba Watson by two strokes, and a field of the world's top golfers, in the process. And he started in 2019 in style with a tremendous win in Abu Dhabi.

Lowry wears his Offaly colours proudly internationally, while also regularly supporting local charities and groups in his native Clara.

BRIAN WHELAHAN

A colossus of Offaly hurling, Brian Whelahan is the county's 'Millennium' hurler, one of the finest players of his generation. The Birr publican is the county's most decorated hurlers, the winner of four All-Star awards, two inter-county All-Ireland titles, one National Hurling League title, seven Leinster club titles and four club All-Ireland titles with Birr.

He was also twice named 'Texaco Hurler of the Year' and appeared at left wing-back in the Hurling Team of the Millennium in 2000. In Offaly's most recent All-Ireland success in 1998, Whelahan, said to be suffering from flu, gave one of the finest ever All-Ireland final performances, scoring 1-6 in a 2-16 to 1-13 victory over longtime rivals Kilkenny.