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Golf: McGinley hoping for Irish captain; Ryder Cup hero wants home skipper for 2006 event.

Byline: MARK GARROD

MUCH THOUGH he would love to see an Irish captain when the K Club near Dublin hosts the 2006 Ryder Cup, Paul McGinley now accepts there is a very slim chance of it happening.

The Dubliner, Europe's match winner at The Belfry two years ago and unbeaten in Detroit two weeks ago, believes Des Smyth, Christy O'Connor Jnr or Eamonn Darcy would be ``brilliant'' in the position.

But if Bernhard Langer decides not to stay on McGinley sees Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and Colin Montgomerie as next in line -- in one order or another.

``I'm a realist and I understand that the guys sitting in the wings chomping at the bit to be captain are heavyweights, '' he said.

``It's just unfortunate timing for the lads, but I'll be very disappointed if they don't have some role in the team. ''

McGinley, at Mount Juliet in County Kilkenny this week for the American Express world championship, is a member of the player's committee which will discuss the captaincy and added: ``I'm looking forward to listening to all the cases put forward. You never know what's around the corner, but I think it's an outside chance there will be an Irish captain. ''

While Langer was not appointed until last July, only 14 months before the match, McGinley wants the decision to be made by the end of this year.

``I think it's important that the players know. There's none of this `who's going to be captain?', all these things in the air that deflects away from making the team.

``Last time you had Woosie, Faldo and Langer who were at a stage in their career where they could have made the team. You had to wait until the last minute to see how their form was.

``This time I think they're far enough removed from making the team that you can make a decision earlier.

``Personally, I think Monty is a little bit young and my instinct is he's still such an important player on the team.

``He's huge and if he doesn't make the team next time he's going to have a very, very strong case for a pick again. ''

McGinley was hugely impressed by the job Langer did and waits to see if he is interested in doing it again -- ``if he is you put him back in the equation''.

CAPTION(S):

Paul McGinley and Padraig Harrington celebrate last week
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 29, 2004
Words:402
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