Teams gearing up for April start

APRIL will see the start of golf’s inter-club competitions and Dundalk Golf Club plans to send out over 30 teams in men’s, ladies and juvenile events at regional, provincial and national level.

All-Ireland pennants have been thin on the ground with the Jimmy Bruen Shield triumph in 2004 being the club’s only national title to date although there has been some success at provincial level in competitions like the Barton Cup, Junior Cup, Provincial Towns Cup, JB Carr Trophy and most recently, the Fred Daly Trophy which the Boys U18 team won last year.

Regional competitions have also yielded some success with the 2016 Newsam Cup victory and the 2016 Husband and Wife being the most recent successes on the local front.

Anne Doohan & Mary Lou Grennan have been appointed as Team Directors for the Ladies teams while Jim Caraher, Vincent Conlon and Paul Malone will take charge of the Boys teams while Pauline Campbell and Mary Lou Grennan will look after the Girls teams.

Clem Walshe, who was part of the management team that guided Dundalk to a Leinster title in the Junior Cup back in 2015, has been handed overall responsibility this year for the men’s teams and he has been working hard over the past few months to get ready to the coming season.

“I was very honoured when our Captain Gerry Byrne approached me and asked would I take on looking after the men’s teams. I’ve appointed managers to all the teams and we had an excellent get-together in January to plan the year and how we intend approaching each competition this year.

“All the managers have been asked to trawl through the club looking for players who might be suitable for playing inter-club competitions. Different competitions have different formats such as strokeplay, matchplay, singles, foursomes and fourballs and are also confined to certain handicaps so there is a lot of work in matching players, with the right handicaps to the format that is best for them and the team.

“Then we have the preparation phase. In a lot of cases we will probably not be playing every match in Dundalk so we have to make sure that players get the opportunity to practice the course they will be playing.”

Walshe, who plays off five, intends to draw on his own experiences in his role. He won a Barton Cup with St Anne’s in 1995 and was manager of the Dundalk team which won the Leinster Junior in 2015.

“One of the things I have tried to get across to the managers is the importance of preparation, particularly when we are playing away from home. There are things that you need to do when you are preparing to play on an unfamiliar course which I have learned down through the years and I have tried to pass that on.

“As the panels are assembled we will look to bring them together for practice sessions as well as coaching sessions from our club professional Leslie Walker who in addition to being an excellent teacher also possesses a wealth of competitive playing experience which he is always happy to pass on.”

The first Dundalk team in action this year will be the Senior Mixed Foursomes, which is managed by Alan Hurley and Criona O’Reilly. They take on Bellewstown on Sunday, April 8, at 2.30pm with three of the five matches in Dundalk. The winners away to the either Greenore or Laytown & Bettystown in the second round.

Next up for Dundalk will be the Barton Cup team. Managed by Carl Stewart and Alan McDermott they face Ardee in Saturday week, April 14, at 2.30pm with three of the five matches in Dundalk.

Three Ladies teams will also in action the same weekend. On Saturday, April 14, the Challenge Cup team, which is managed by Brid Rocks and Mary Dooley, will travel to Laytown & Bettystown to face Ashbourne.

The next day, Sunday, April 15, the Intermediate Cup team, managed by Olivia Cunningham and Teresa Oakes, and the Minor Cup team, managed by Jacinta Foran and Elizabeth McGuinness, will be in Concra Wood for their first round ties. The Intermediate team face Ardee while the Minor team take on Hollywood Lakes.