Ryanair nightmare leaves Irish golfer empty-handed after tournament win

Irish golfer Joe Lyons was left trophyless and frustrated after Ryanair rules prevented him from returning home with his hard-earned silverware. 


Irish golfer Joe Lyons saw his Spanish Seniors Amateur Open trophy thrown in the bin after Ryanair refused to be flexible with their hand luggage policy. 

Lyons, 51, is currently the reigning Irish Seniors Close champion, and he added to his win list on Sunday when he closed out the Spanish Seniors Amateur Open with a final round 5-under 67 at Real Club Sevilla Golf. 

Beginning the day three shots behind the leader, he stormed up the leaderboard to eventually win by four clear shots, thanks to a stunning round that featured seven birdies and two bogeys. 

Despite his heroics, neither Lyons nor his wife Vera could fit the trophy in their hand luggage for their flight back to Cork, leading Ryanair to make him discard it at the gate. 

Joe Lyons
Joe Lyons

Credit: RFE Golf

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph about the fiasco, he said:

“We got to the checkout, we had our hand luggage with us and I had the trophy. So I went up to the desk and the staff said we couldn’t board with the trophy unless we could put it in our hand luggage.
“Vera tried to put it into her hand luggage, and she actually got it in a good bit of the way, but the zip on her luggage wouldn’t close.
“And they said, ‘No you have to be able to close all the zips’. So I said, ‘You know what folks, just leave it there. If that's the way you want to be about it, you can keep it’."

Despite his best attempts to plead with the Ryanair staff at the gate, Lyons was left with further frustration after the staff admitted they would be throwing the trophy in the bin if it were to be left at the gate. 

Having had to say farewell to his hard-earned silverware, Lyons did admit that despite the unfortunate circumstances, he wouldn't allow the shine to be taken off his performance.

He added:

“I am lucky enough that I have had a few wins down through the years and I have plenty of trophies.
“Winning yesterday, nothing will take the shine off that, to be honest. It was a very satisfying performance.
"People will say it was only a seniors event but no matter what level you play at, you want to win and to do it in the manner I did was very satisfying
“The point I was trying to make was that it could have been somebody who never won a trophy before. I couldn't believe it. I thought it was ridiculous on their behalf.”

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