Impressive MacKell wins Junior Scratch Cup

Neal MacKell (4) scored the biggest win of his career on Sunday when he won the Dundalk Junior Scratch Cup and now hopes he doesn’t have to defend it.

MacKell, with an exact handicap of 3.5, only just qualified to play in the 36 hole competition where he was the lowest player in the field and his scores of 71 and 76 were enough to see him lose a shot and move into the senior ranks where he hopes to stay for the next few years.

“It is the first trophy I have won so I am absolutely delighted but I hope I won’t be back to defend it next year as I now want to establish myself as a senior player,” said MacKell.

A top quality field of 87 entered this year’s Junior Cup, with 65 per cent of the field coming from 15 other clubs, but it was the home players who dominated the podium with the evergreen Clem Walshe (4) and Shane Hession (5) filling the top three spots.

MacKell got off to the perfect start in his morning round with back to back birdies on the opening holes and stayed at two under until he bogeyed the seventh having got up and down from 80 yards after being in trouble down the left.

Another bogey on the ninth saw him turn level and a birdie at the 10th was followed by a bogey at the 11th. Birdies at the 14th and 15th followed but a three putt at the par three 17th saw him drop a shot and he had to get up and down out of a greenside bunker on the final score before signing for a one under par 71.

That left him one shot ahead of Walshe who had rolled back the years with an excellent round of 72 but his challenge faltered on the opening nine of his second round and he was unable to take advantage as MacKell dropped three shots on his way to the turn.

A birdie at 10 steadied MacKell and although he handed it back at the next hole he did produce back to back birdies at the 14th and 15th and stood at level par on the 18th tee, five shots ahead of Walshe who had finished with a 77 for 149.

A drive down the middle left MacKell 110 yards to the flag but he pulled his gap wedge left and then dumped a flop shot into a bunker on the far side of the green. He splashed out to 10 feet from the sand but then missed his putt and tapped in from a seven.

“I didn’t know how I stood at that point and I really thought I had blown it because I knew Clem wasn’t too far behind. I was very relieved when I found out I’d hung on to win,” said MacKell who signed for a second round score of 76 and a final total of three over par 147.

After opening with a 79, Hession produced an excellent one-under par 71 to finish three shots behind on 150 with Francis Cheny (4) from St Anne’s two shots further back on 152.

It’s been a good week for Hession who won Wednesday’s Open Singles Stableford competition with a fine score of 38pts to edge out Anthony McGuinness (21) on countback.

Sunday, May 20 – Dundalk Junior Scratch Cup: 147 – Neal MacKell (4) (71/76). 149 – Clem Walshe (4) 149 (72/77). 150 – Shane Hession (5) 150 (79/71). 152 – Francis Cheney (4) (St Anne’s) 152 (78/74). Best Nett: Dean Mulligan (6) (Greenore) 142 (72/70). First 18 Gross: Eoghan McKenna (5) 75. First 18 Nett: Aidan Thornton (8) 72. Second 18 Gross: Declan Hughes (5) (Fort William) 74. Second 18 Nett: Dillon Greene (6) 70. First Round CSS: 74 Home, 75 Away. Second Round CSS: 74 Home, 75 Away.

 

Fred Daly and Challenge Cup teams see runs ended

The Dundalk Ladies Challenge Cup team which was beaten by Royal Tara on Sunday in Black Bush Golf Club. Back row (from left): Mary Dooley, Brid Rocks and Lady Captain Pat Cleary. Front Row (from left): Grainne Mullins, Sally McDonnell, Joan McKenna, Oonagh Quinn, Leone Smyth Bailie.

 

On the team front it has been disappointing week for Dundalk with three defeats although the JB Carr Diamond Trophy team still have a slim chance of advancing when they travel to Greenore on Friday for the second leg of the Louth final.

In last week’s home leg Dundalk lost two matches on the 18th, one at the 16th and the remaining two at the 15th, That leaves then trailing 0-5 but they will give it their all in trying to haul that deficit back. The squad is O Reilly, G Murray, C Monahan, T Reneghan, K Barry, P Donaghy, P Duffy, P Hoey, M Coburn, T Clarke, G Daly, E Sheridan, F Byrne.

The Boys U18 team’s hopes of winning back to back Leinster pennants in the Fred Daly Trophy ended today when they lost 3-2 to The Island.

Ciaran Johnston lost 4&3 while Oisin Conroy was beaten 6&5 in The Island meaning that Dundalk had to win the three home matches to advance.

Josh Mackin put the first Dundalk point on the board in the second match when he closed it out on the 13th for a 6&5 victory having been five up after nine. Ahead of him Eoin Murphy had a battle on his hands but he won the 15th and 16th to take control of his match and eventually took it 2&1.

The bottom match in Dundalk then became the decider and it was eventually decided on the 18th when Sean Lavery lost out to a par after a tremendous battle ith his Dublin opponent.

The Ladies Challenge Cup team bowed out in the third round of this year’s competition when they were beaten on Sunday by Royal Tara in Black Bush.  Managed by Brid Rocks and Mary Dooley, the team was Oonagh Quinn, Grainne Mullins, Leone Smyth Bailie, Sally McDonnell and Joan McKenna with Pat Cleary and Eve Beirne as subs.

The Dundalk Ladies Challenge Cup team which was beaten by Royal Tara on Sunday in Black Bush Golf Club.  Back row (from left): Mary Dooley, Brid Rocks and Lady Captain Pat Cleary. Front Row (from left): Grainne Mullins, Sally McDonnell, Joan McKenna, Oonagh Quinn, Leone Smyth Bailie.

 

Three more teams advance but two bite the dust

It was another good weekend for Dundalk Golf Club on the inter-club front with three teams advancing although it was tinged with disappointment that the Mens’ Pierce Purcell team just missed out on qualifying for the matchplay stages of their qualifier in Balbriggan while the Ladies Junior Foursomes side lost narrowly to Headfort.

There were wins for the Men’s All-Ireland Fourball Team and the Ladies Junior and Minor Cup teams all whom had to come through tough tests.

The All-Ireland Fourball team, managed by Frank Byrne and Larry Soraghan, are into the last 16 of the Leinster section after a super 3.5 to 1.5 win over neighbours Greenore on Saturday.

Dundalk won two of the three matches in Greenore and won the top match in Blackrock with the bottom match all square after 15 when it was called in. Dundalk will now face the winners of Headfort and Skerries in the next round.

As was to be expected any time these two great rivals meet, this was an extremely close tie which was decided on the 19h green at Greenore after the top match finished all squad in dramatic circumstances.

The Dundalk pairing of Eamonn McEneaney and Joe Flanagan held a one hole lead playing the last and when McEneaney sank a 30ft putt for par it looked all over but Greenore holed their 12ft birdie putt to send the match into sudden death. However, the Dundalk pairing came out on top on the first play-off hole when Flanagan sank a 20ft putt for victory.

That gave Dundalk the crucial third point as earlier Colm Garvey and David Cairns had recorded a 3&2 victory after finally getting control of a match that, somewhat like the top match, hadn’t seen either pairing open up more than a one hole lead.

In Dundalk, Peter O’Brien and Dermot McKenna won the first three holes to take control of their match but the Greenore pairing fought back to reduce the deficit to one shot after seven holes. However, the home duo regained control of the match by winning the eighth, 10th and 11th and although they lost the 12th, they won the next two holes to record an impressive 5&4 victory.

Michael Keating and Michael Begley, playing in the third match in Greenore, were level after 10 holes but then got hit by birdie blitz as the Greenore pairing birdied three of the next four holes to go three up and eventually won the point by 4&3.

The final match in Dundalk saw the home pairing of Adrian Kenny and Gerry McDermott come from three down after six holes to lead by one hole after 13 and the match was level standing on the 16th tee box when the pairings were called in.

The Ladies Junior Foursomes team, which is managed by Maria Kerr & Violet McGeady, were beaten 2-1 in the second round on Saturday in Mannan Castle by Headfort despite winning the opening match but there was much better news on Sunday when both the Junior and Minor Cup teams advancing to the next stage of their respective competitions.

The Junior Cup team, under the stewardship of Maeve Ahern & Anne Murray, faced Co Meath in Kilcock and three great wins by Pauline Campbell, Lady Vice-Captain Criona O’Reilly and Elaine Ward secured the victory for Dundalk and a place in the third round of the compeitition.

The Minor Cup team, managed by Jacinta Foran & Elizabeth McGuinness, met Balbriggan the third round at Luttrellstown and the three points needed to advance to the fourth round were duly delivered by Ide McDermott, who won by 3&2, Marie McGuigan, who won 4&3 and Briege Renaghan who also won the 15th,. The other members of the team were Geraldine Blackmore and Bernie Prendergast.

The Men’s Pierce Purcell team, managed by Seamus Bailey & Billy Cairns, finished seventh in qualifying at Balbriggan with the cumulative score of xx by the five scotch foursomes pairings just five shots short of the total needed to qualify for the semi-finals.

Dundalk’s defence of their Fred Daly Trophy Leinster title continues next Sunday when the Boys U18 squad face The Island with three match in Dundalk and two in The Island from 4.30pm.

The first leg of the JB Carr Diamond Trophy second round tie against Greenore will be played on Thursday next, May 17, with the second leg in Greenore on May 25.

Dundalk Golf Club’s Ladies Minor Cup team which defeated Balbriggan on Sunday in Luttrellstown. From left: Elizabeth McGuinness (Team Manager), Geraldine Blackmore, Marie McGuigan, Ide McDermott, Briege Renaghan, Bernie Prendergast.

 

Another win for Sexton as he takes PGA Tankard

Fergal Sexton picked up his third win of 2018 when he won PGA Tankard on Sunday. Last month Sexton (11) won back to back Wednesday Open competitions and produced similar form to claim the overall by victory by two points from Shane McGuinness (19) with Andrew Keenan (3) recording the best gross score of the day.

Sexton went out in 21pts after a flawless front nine which included three point pars at the third, eighth and ninth and he produced three more three point pars on the 10th, 11th and 12th to move to 30pts after 12 holes. After that it was all about getting home safely and he dropped only one shot over the closing six holes when he had to settle for one points after a double bogey six at the index four 16th.

That gave Sexton a back nine score of 20pts and an overall total of 41pts which was two more than McGuinness who is another player running into form.

The category prizes were won by Zak Alderdice (9), Kieran Reidy (15) and the in-form Mark Browne (17). Browne started 2018 with handicap of 22 and began last week with a handicap of 20, but lost three shots after he shot a spectacular 42pts to win the Semi-Open Singles Stableford competition on Bank Holiday Monday by seven points from Kyle Rafferty (4) and Michael McDermott (16).

Sunday, May 13 – PGA Tankard – Overall: Fergal Sexton (11) 41pts, Shane McGuinness (19) 39pts. Category 1 (0-11): Zak Alderdice (9) 38pts, Alan McDermott (6) 37pts. Category 2 (12-16): Kieran Reidy (15) 38pts, Brendan Keane (12) 37pts. Category 3 (17-28): Mark Browne (17) 36pts, Hugh Reilly (20) 35pts. Best Gross: Andrew Keenan (3) 31pts. CSS: 73 (35pts)

Rafferty regains Club Championship

Caolan Rafferty

 

Caolan Rafferty regained the Club Championship on Saturday when shot a seven under par total of 137 to win the 36 hole event by nine shots from fellow plus player Aaron Grant.

Rafferty, who plays off plus four, shot a bogey free five under par 67 in his morning round and was four under par and bogey free after 15 holes of his second round before three putting the 16th and 17th and finishing with a two under par 70.

“After going for 33 holes without a bogey I was really disappointed to let it slip with three holes to go as I was trying to get around again in the afternoon without a bogey,” said Rafferty, who is currently finishing off his first year exams at Maynooth University before heading to Royal County Down on Thursday for the Flogas Irish Amateur Open and the start of a busy period of tournament golf at home and abroad.

Aaron Grant, who is now off plus three, was battling a head cold as well as the course and in the circumstances did remarkably well to produce two rounds of 73 to take second place. Conor Curran (2) took the best nett with a score of 145 after nett rounds of 73 and 72.

Saturday, May 12 – Club Championship (36 Holes): 137 – Caolan Rafferty (+4) 137 (67, 70), 146 – Aaron Grant (+3) 146 (73, 73). Best Nett: Conor Curran (2) 145 (73,72). CSS: 73 (Round 1), 76 (Round 2).

 

Three teams make it through the weekend

Three Dundalk teams advanced to the next round of their respective inter-club competitions over the weekend but it is the end of the road for the Barton Cup and Newsam Cup teams as they both lost out to Meath opposition in their respective competitions.

There were wins for the Boys U18 team in the Fred Daly Trophy, the Ladies Revive Action team and the North Leinster Mixed team while the Husband and Wife team produced another strong performance in this annual competition at Co Meath Golf Club.

The strength in depth of the underage programme at Dundalk Golf Club was clearly shown on Saturday when the Boys U18 team went into the second round of the Fred Daly Trophy without three of their top players but beat Greenore 4-1 to remain on course for a successful defence of the Leinster title they won last year.

Boys U18 internationals Eoin Murphy and Josh Mackin, as well as juvenile captain Padraig Fallon, were all unavailable for this match but their replacements stepped up to the plate and won their matches to secure a Dundalk victory.

Playing in Dundalk, Oisin Conroy and Zak Alderdice both recorded victories with Conroy winning 6&5 and Alderdice winning 5&3. The other three matches were played in Greenore where another rookie, Ciaran Johnston, had a one hole win while Kyle Rafferty won 2up and Sean Laverty was beaten on the 15th.

Youth was also to the fore for the Ladies as their Revive Active Fourball team, which is managed by Maureen Sheridan and Marie Griffin, scored an impressive victory over Co Louth despite having to play three of the five matches in Baltray.

Teenager Eve Rowland was one of the stars of a great team performance when she partnered Pauline Campbell to a 3&2 win in Dundalk while in Baltray there was a 2&1 win for Criona O’Reilly and Theresa Connolly and a one hole win for Jacinta Foran and Bernie McCann.

The North Leinster Mixed team faced Royal Tara in the opening round of this year’s competition and won thanks to victories in Dundalk for Tommy and Briege Reneghan as well as Larry Soraghan and Sally McDonnell while Anne Murray and Brendan Keane got the vital win away.

In the Newsam Cup on Saturday it all came down to inches as Dundalk lost by 3.5 to 1.5 to the runners-up in the competition for the past two years, Knightsbrook. Dundalk had defeated the Trim based club in the final in 2016 and the Meath men exacted revenged in a match that was in the balance right up to the final stroke.

After a 3&2 win for Gavin McDonnell and Derek Teather, a 4&3 defeat for Dermot McKenna and Alan Uzell and a 4&3 defeat for Sean Gallagher & Steve Buckingham, Knightsbrook held a 2-1 lead with two matches still alive. In Dundalk Benny O’Shaughnessy and Sean Quigley were 1up standing on the 18th tee while, in Trim, Gerry McDermott and Mark Browne were two down with two to play.

McDermott and Browne, who had hung in doggedly down the back nine, finally got a break on the 17th when they found the par five green in three while their opponents found the water with their fifth shot. The Dundalk pairing then got up and down from off the green at the par three 18th for a win to send their match down the 19th where a booming drive from Browne split the fairway before they were called in because of what had unfolded in Dundalk.

Knightsbrook managed to win the 18th in Dundalk to force their match with O’Shaughnessy and Quigley down the 19th where it all came down to two putts as Dundalk lipped out from five feet and Knightsbrook sank a four footer to take the overall match

In the Barton Cup on Sunday, after a bright start, Dundalk fell away against Headfort and eventually lost 4.5 to 0.5. In Dundalk, Neal MacKell and Aaron Waite lost 6&5, while Ciaran Sheridan and Damian English lost 5&4 and Billy Cairns and Aidan Thornton lost 3&2. In Headfort, Ciaran Traynor & Eugene Hanratty were beaten 4&3 while Clem Walsh and Paul O’Callaghan were all square after 16 when called in.

On Sunday, Dundalk took part in the annual Husband & Wife competition hosted by Co Meath Golf Club in Trim. Dundalk won the inaugural competition in 2016 and the team, managed by Elaine Ward and Paul O’Callaghan, put in another strong showing in this year’s event but came up short at the end as victory went to Killeen Castle.

Next weekend sees the ladies in action in the Junior Foursomes against Headfort in Mannan Castle while the Junior Cup team faces Co Meath in Kilcock. The men’s All-Ireland Fourball team face Greenore on Saturday at 12.30pm with three matches at home. The JB Carr Diamond Trophy second round tie against Greenore will be /played on May 17 and May 25 with the first leg in Dundalk.

Representing Dundalk in the Newsam Cup away leg against Knightsbrook on Saturday were (from left): Steve Buckingham, Gerry McDermott, Pat Davis (Vice-Captain and Assistant Manager), Sean Gallagher and Mark Browne.

 

Top 15 finishes for Grant and Rafferty

Aaron Grant

Aaron Grant tied 11th at Munster Strokeplay Championship in Cork Golf Club after being one shot off the lead at the halfway stage of the 72 hole tournament,. He shot rounds of 70, 73, 75 and 73 for a three over par total of 291 and finished nine shots behind the winner Alan Fahy,

Caolan Rafferty tied 14th at Lytham Trophy and finished as the leading Irishman. After opening with a one under par 69 to lie two shots off the lead, Rafferty shot rounds of 73, 72 and 76 to finish on nine over with the winner, England’s Matthew Jordan, being the only player to finish under par.

Caolan Rafferty

 

 

 

 

Gorham leads Carolan Cup qualifiers

Mark Gorham was the leading qualifier in Sunday’s Carolan Cup and heads the 16 players who have qualified for the matchplay stages.

Gorham, who plays off four, produced an excellent nett round of 70 which included birdies at the first and third and 12 pars.

The cut-off for qualifying was 74 but not all players on this total made the cut. The 16 players whose names will go into the matchplay draw later this week are: Brian Reneghan (6), David Brennan (14), Ray Pepper (19), Andrew Brodigan (12), Noel Reid (15), Aidan Gaughran (13), Pat Donaghy (12), Michael Begley (19), Colin Roche (6), Ciaran Johnson (7), Jim Dwyer (9), Shane Hession (5), Brendan Keane (13), Mark Gorham (4), Richard Barry (9), Neil MacKell (3).

Sunday, May 7, 2018 – Carolan Cup Strokeplay Qualifer: Leading Qualifier – Mark Gorham (4) 70. CSS 73.