Dundalk golfers making their presence felt

Two of Dundalk’s most promising young golfers have earned call-ups to the Leinster team for this month’s U16 Inter-provincials in Tullamore where Leinster will be defending the title they won last year.

Eoin Murphy and Josh Mackin will travel to the Offaly venue as provincial champions with Murphy having won the Munster U16 Championship in Nenagh while Mackin captured the Leinster title at Beaverstown last week.

Murphy produced an excellent two under par 70 to beat a field of over 140 players. He produced four birdies during his round and crucially was the only golfer to play the inward nine under par, which gave him a two shot win over Lahinch’s Jonathan Keane.

It was Murphy’s second major win of the season as earlier in the year he captured the All-Ireland Faldo Series and will head to the Grand Final in England later this year.

Mackin needed a four hole play-off against Robert Galligan of Elm Park to take the Leinster title. Both players finished on one under par 71 after 18 holes but Mackin came out on top in the play-off, winning by one shot.

Two other Dundalk golfers, Sean Laverty and Padraig Fallon, played in both championships.

The Leinster call-ups for Murphy and Mackin brings to four the number of Dundalk players capped at provincial level this season as Caolan Rafferty and Deirdre Smith have played in the men’s and women’s senior inter-pros respectively this year.

Smith was part of the Leinster team that finished second to Ulster in the women’s inter-pros at Slieve Russell. She formed a formidable foursomes partnership with Aedin Murphy and the pair recorded wins over Connacht and Munster. However, Smith was injured in her singles match against Munster’s Paula Grant, was forced to withdraw after 13 holes and played no further part in the tournament as Leinster just missed out on taking the title.

Rafferty went one better as Leinster’s men, captained by Greenore’s Seamus McParland, retained the All-Ireland Inter-Provincial title at Fota Island.

The Dundalk player formed an unbeaten partnership with Ardee’s Eugene Smith with the pair winning their foursomes matches against Connacht, Munster and Leinster.

Rafferty sank a birdie putt on the 16th to win their opening match against Connacht’s Sean Flanagan and Mark Morrissey 3&2. They then had a one hole win in the match against Munster’s Peter O’Keefe and Cathal Butler before recording a two hole victory over Ulster’s Stuart Beakley and Jordan Hood on the final day.

Raffterty was unable to carry that winning form into the singles matches where he suffered three defeats but the three points he earned from the foursomes certainly played a part in Leinster’s overall victory and ensured a memorable debut for the Dundalk player.