If you search Wikipedia for Ben Campbell, you will be met with eight different possibilities.
There was a US Senator from Colorado; a musician from New Zealand; the founder of the city of Campbell, California; an ice hockey player; a voice actor; a character in the film 21; a British merchant and consular agent, who died in 1859; and a professional golfer.
The latter was Scottish and finished tied for third in the 1886 Open Championship.
However, there is also current golfer from New Zealand by the name of Ben Campbell, who plays on the China Tour – but he isn’t worthy of a Wikipedia page at the moment, despite being ranked 500th in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Is there anything you can do to such a high level that you feel you might be in top 500 worldwide in the discipline? If so, consider just how much time and effort you have had to put into that.
If you’re a golfer, you know just how difficult a sport it is, and you can have some appreciation of just how good Ben Campbell is, and the levels of dedication he has put in, to rank where he does.
And yet, Ben Campbell is – with all due respect – far from a household name and still way off the levels of Rory McIlroy, who returned to the number-one spot with victory in the CJ Cup in South Carolina last weekend.
It’s the first time in more than two years that the Co. Down native has been at the top of tree and it’s no small achievement, given that the global spread of quality is arguably stronger than at any other time in history.
At the age of 33, summoning the will to match the hunger of those who are younger takes a lot and he should be applauded for that.
McIlroy’s accession back to pole position has gone hand in hand with him being one of the most outspoken critics of LIV Golf and its attempt at creeping influence.
People might say that with so much money earned it’s easy for McIlroy to speak out, but there is little doubt that LIV offered to make him even richer.
It would be far easier to offer up platitudes and say nothing rather than taking a stand against what he feels is a retrograde development for the game.
There are also those who will say that given McIlroy’s reservoirs of talent: four Major wins – the most recent in 2014 – is a poor return.
While we are loathe to say that he should have one more, given that that is such a subjective view, there is no doubting the fact that he could have won more.
He led the Open going into the final round this year and while he had a bogey-free round, the birdie putts wouldn’t drop and Cameron Smith – who later defected to LIV – came through to win.
That will have stung McIlroy but he has bounced back well. Time is certainly on his side in terms of adding to his tally.
Up to 1981, there were 11 Dublin senior hurling and football championship ‘double’ wins since Garda managed the feat in 1927.
Before last year, the achievement of Ballyboden St Enda’s in winning the Dublin senior hurling and football championships in the same season stood alone in its uniqueness since 1981.
Then, in 2021, Kilmacud Crokes managed to lift both cups, and the last two Sundays saw wins over Na Fianna in the county football and hurling finals respectively to claim a remarkable ‘double double’.
It represented a fourth medal in under a year for Brian Sheehy, the only player on both panels. For 40-year-old Niall Corcoran – a winner of hurling titles with the club in 2012 and 2014 – this formed part of his third victory, having transferred back from his home club of Meelick-Eyrecourt in Galway as he took up a doctorate.
On top of that, in September the Kilmacud ladies’ team won the Dublin senior championship for the first time and last Sunday night brought a triple celebration as all three trophies were paraded at the club headquarters, with Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ the backing anthem.
Founded in 1959, Crokes were Dublin hurling champions within seven years, but it took until 1992 for them to claim football supremacy. Nine more of those have followed, including three in the last five years, with the club now having eight hurling titles to their name.
That and the ladies’ success is a perfect example of a rising tide lifting all boats, an entity catering for all of the community.
It is of course quite a populous community, but the numbers are only ever a raw material and only translate to success with hard work.
Last Sunday, Ballinascarthy beat Newcestown to win the junior A hurling championship in Carbery, the south-west division in Cork (the size of the county and number of junior clubs means that the grade is run on a regional basis).
It was the ninth time that the club had won the title and they now progress to the county championship under a management team headed by Joe Ryan.
In the interests of full disclosure, Joe is my brother-in-law, married to my sister Lorna.
Meanwhile, the winners of the Carbery junior B hurling championship were Randal Óg, from Ballinacarriga, just outside of Dunmanway – their manager is Joe’s father, Jerry Ryan, a former Cork selector and previous Ballinascarthy manager.
We wish both well as they progress in the respective county championships – and, perhaps in years to come, Joe’s expertise might be harnessed by Kilbrittain, now that he has decamped to the glorious seaside parish.