Lack of sleep no obstacle to super Shaw

Lack of sleep proved no obstacle to in-form Austin Shaw as he surged to victory in Sunday’s Singles Stableford competition which also doubled as Round 2 of the Winter League sponsored by Tiernan’s Centra Blackrock.

In the first 18 hole competition of the year, Shaw (9) had three points to spare over Neal MacKell (3) who had to settle for winning Category One and also recording the best gross score of the day with 37pts.

A passionate Dundalk FC supporter, Shaw travelled to the Showgrounds on Saturday night to watch Stephen Kenny’s side record a 2-0 victory over Sligo Rovers. He drove home after the match and, despite losing an hour’s sleep when the clocks went forward on Sunday morning, he still made the first tee for his dew-sweeping 08:12 start.

Any tiredness the nine handicapper might have felt were soon banished as opened with two three point pars followed by a two point bogey five at the third and a three point par at the fourth.

That left him on 11 points after the first four holes and then he missed holing his eight iron tee shot at the par three fifth by inches but the three points he gained for the tap in birdie brought him to 14pts for his round. Two pars on the back to back par fives yielded another five points and a one point bogey five at the eighth and a two point par at the ninth saw him turn for home on 22pt.

Three more pars and eight more points followed over the next three holes before a well struck nine wood into the heart of the green on the par three 13th set up his second three point birdie of the day.

A two point par at the 14th took Shaw to 35pts with four holes to go but disaster almost struck on the 15th when he drove into the trees but was fortunate to escape with a one point double bogey six. Shaw got that dropped point back at the 16th where he produced a three point par and he then parred 17 and 18 for a further four points to finish on superb score of 43pts and record his first victory of the season.

Donal Curran (12) took the Category Two prize and Conor Byrne (23) was the Category Three winner.

March 25 – Singles Stableford & Winter League sponsored by Tiernan’s Centra, Blackrock – Overall: Austin Shaw (9) 43pts. Category 1 (0-11): Neal MacKell (3) 40pts, Connor MaCaughey (5) 36/20pts. Category 2 (12-17): Donal Curran (12) 38pts, Noel Reid (15) 37/19/12pts, Category 3 (18-28): Conor Byrne (23) 39pts, Sean Gallagher (20) 37/20pts. Best Gross: Neal MacKell (3) 37pts.

McCarthy hottest on day of red-hot scoring

BILL McCarthy was the winner of Sunday’s Singles Stableford when he shot a superb score of 36pts to win the 14 hole competition on countback from Mark Browne (22).

On a day of red hot scoring from many of the club’s seasoned campaigners, the 28 handicapper produced a round that included a four point birdie two at the ninth, four three point pars and four three point bogeys.

McCarthy could even afford to blank the par five index three seventh, where he had two shots, and still beat Browne thanks to his 26pts over his final nine holes.

Browne finished second with George Rogers (19) in third place on 35pts. The Category Prizes went to Jim Dwyer (9), Brian Ward (15) and Sean Ward (18) while Billy Cairns (6) returned the day’s best gross score of 27pts.

Sunday, March 11 – 14 Holes Singles Stableford & Tiernan’s Centra Blackrock Winter League – Overall: Bill McCarthy (28) 36/26pts, Mark Browne (22) 36pts, George Rogers (19) 35pts. Category 1 (0-12): Jim Dwyer (9) 33/22pts, Category 2 (13-17): Brian Ward (15) 34pts. Category 3 (18-28): Sean Ward (18) 34pts. Best Gross: Billy Cairns (6) 27pts.

To view standing after Week 1 please click here

Good finish by Rafferty in South Africa

Caolan Rafferty

Caolan Rafferty was the second best placed Irishman at the South African Strokeplay Championship which was held at Pecanwood Golf Club last week.

Rafferty finished in joint 26th place on -11, which was four shots behind Alex Gleeson of Castle. The tournament was won by Sweden’s Oliver Gillberg who shot a phenomenal 27 under par to win by one shot.

Rafferty found himself six shots off the lead after an opening round of two under par 70 which included four birdies.

He fell further behind after the second round when he shot a 71 to make the half-way cut on -3 which was 12 shots off the lead.

That left him tied for 49th place but he moved up two places after posting a two par 70 in the third round. Rafferty recovered from a dreadful start as he double bogeyed the opening hole and went on to shoot six birdies as well as two bogeys.

That suggested he was beginning to acclimatise to the conditions and he proved it in the final round when he carded his best round of the week, a six-under par 66, and climbed 21 places up the leaderboard to finish on -11.

The tournament left Rafferty with plenty of positives as all four rounds were under par and he managed to throw in a low one as well. He now heads, along with his Irish team-mates, to Glendower Golf Club for the African Strokeplay Championship which runs from Tuesday to Friday.


Winter League entries now open

Entries are now being accepted for the 2018 Winter League which is sponsored by Tiernan’s Centra Blackrock.

This year the League will be a five person team event and will commence on Sunday, February 18 and run for six weeks with the final scheduled for April 1. There will be a break for the Captain’s Drive in on February 25.

The competition format will be stableford with one team score to count in weeks one to three, with two scores in week four and three scores counting in week five.

The top two teams will play a matchplay final on April 1 which will be run concurrently with the Sunday competition on that date.

The closing date for entries is Friday, February 16. Entries should be placed in the box in the Club Bar. The entrance fee is €5. Please ensure your full name and handicap are written on the envelope.

O’Brien’s birdies make the difference

Darren O’Brien produced a super round, which included three birdies, to win Sunday’s 14 Hole Single Stableford competition.

On a perfect day for golf, the 13 handicapper, shot an amazing 37pts for the 14 holes and was a clear winner by two points from Shane McGuinness (19) who had to settle for second overall.

Barry Cunningham (8), Michael Hamilton (15) and George Rogers (19) took the three category prizes with Peter Rogers (1) returning the best gross score for the second successive week.

O’Brien, who had 10 strokes to play with because of the reduced number of holes, got off to a great start with a three point par at the first but handed it back when he double-bogeyed the next. However, successive three point pars at the third and fourth holes got him back in the groove and a two point par at the fifth was followed by a three point birdie at the par five sixth.

He then parred the next three holes for a further eight points to turn for home on 23pts. A two point par at the 10th and a two point bogey at the index two 11th brought him to 27 points with three holes to go and he then proceeded to burn off the field with a blistering finish.

O’Brien pared the par-five 12th for three points and then parred the par-three 13th for another three points before birdieing the par four 18th for four points and signing for a remarkable 37pts.

Sunday, February 4 – 14 Hole Singles Stableford – Overall: Darren O Brien (13) 37pts, Shane McGuinness (19) 35pts. Category 1 (0-12):Barry Cunningham (8) 34pts. Category 2 (13-18): Michael Hamilton (15) 33pts. Category 3 (19-28): George Rogers (19) 33pts. Best Gross: Peter Rogers (1) 29pts.

Blemish-free Browne a clear winner

Mark Browne was a clear winner of Sunday’s Singles Stableford competition which was played over 14 Holes with seven clubs.

The 22 handicapper shot a blemish-free round of 34pts and had two points to spare over John Farrell (22) who edged out Seamus Bailey (11) for second place on countback.

Peter Rogers (1), Pat Curran (13) and Conor Byrne (22) took the category prizes with Rogers also recording the day’s best gross score, a two under par 30pts.

Browne was steadiness personified in playing to his handicap, not dropping a shot, and taking his three point par chances when they arose.

His first par arrived on the second and he then had back to back three point pars on the fifth and sixth before two more back to back pars came on the 10th and 11th. The par three 13th yielded his sixth par of the day and all he needed on the 18th was a two point bogey five to finish two points ahead of the field.

Sunday, January 28 – 14 Holes Singles Stableford – Overall: Mark Browne (22) 34pts, John Farrell (22) 32/21pts, Seamus Bailey (11) 32pts. Category 1 (0-12): Peter Rogers (1) 31pts. Category 2 (13-16): Pat Curran (13) 29pts. Category 3 (17-28): Conor Byrne (22) 30pts. Best Gross: Peter Rogers 30pts.

Ladies Spring League: Week 1

The SPRING LEAGUE started on Saturday 20th and Tuesday 23rd January 2018. This is the beginning of the golfing season for the ladies and the scores certainly did not disappoint. Jennifer Holland had a great start to the season playing superb golf coming in with 20pts winning Class A. Jennifer has not lost her touch over the winter months. We will be watching Jennifer’s team in anticipation. Sally McDonnell, one to watch this year, wins Class B with another brilliant score of 21pts. Oonagh Quinn wins Class C with 16pts. Well done to all the winners.


Winner:         Jennifer Holland (13)           20pts

Runner-Up:      Jacinta Foran (14)              19pts

Third:          Wendy Williamson (19)           18pts


Winner:         Sally McDonnell (28)            21pts

Runner-Up:      Siobhan Rogers (21)             19pts

Third:          Geraldine McGeough (24)         18pts
From Judy McDonough


Winner:         Oonagh Quinn (32)               16pts

Runner-Up:      Bernadette Kearney (35)         15pts

on back 6 from

Third:          Alison Quigley (36)             15pts

Two’s:          Bernadette Herr on the 5th

72 Ladies Played


McKeown keeps his composure to deliver winning score

Patrick McKeown was the winner of Sunday’s Singles Stableford competition when he shot 34pts to win the 14 Hole Seven Club competition by one point from Noel Reid (15),

The 17 handicapper had 13 strokes on the day over the reduced layout which saw the first 13 holes being played before finishing on the 18th.

The early starters had to contend with fog but McKeown, with a 10.30 tee time, was able to enjoy the best of the weather and took full advantage of the firm fairways and greens which were in superb condition for this time of year,.

After opening with a double-bogey six on the first for one point, McKeown showed his ability to bounce back from setbacks and promptly parred the next three holes for a nine point haul that left him with a solid foundation after the opening four holes for a possible good round.

A bogey at the par three fifth and a par at the par five sixth, where he didn’t have a shot, yielded another four points but he then failed to score at the par five seventh.

That’s something which can often derail potentially good rounds but, just like he did earlier, McKeown responded positively to the set-back by parring the eighth and ninth, birdieing the par-five 10th and then parring the index two 11th for a 13pts haul.

That left him on 27pts with three holes to go and after successive two point bogeys he finished in style on the 18th with a three point par to sign for 34pts.

That left him one point ahead of Noel Reid who took second place while the category winners were Austin Shaw (9), Eamon McEneaney (15) and Mark Browne (22) who all returned scores of 32pts. The day’s best gross score came from Neil Mullooly (6) with a score of 25pts.

It was a second successive for McKeown in the winner’s circle as the previous Sunday he had joined forces with Ray Pepper, Colm Garvey and Joe Flanagan to win the 14 Hole Team Scramble.

Sunday, January 14 – 14 Hole Singles Stableford – Overall: Patrick McKeown (17) 34pts, Noel Reid (15) 33pts. Category 1 (0-12): Austin Shaw (9) 32pts. Category 2 (13-17): Eamon McEneaney (15) 32/21pts. Category 3 (18-28): Mark Browne (22) 32pts. Best Gross: Neil Mullooly (6) 25pts.



Draws made for 2018 inter-club competitions

The draws for the various 2018 inter-club competitions have taken place and Dundalk now know the hurdles they will initially face as they try to bring Leinster and All-Ireland pennants back to Blackrock in 2018.

Dundalk have been one of the most formidable teams within Leinster in the Junior Cup and the club will host nine other clubs in the area qualifier on June 9 and 10. The top two strokeplay qualifiers will meet in a matchplay final for a place in the Leinster quarter-final at Carlow on June 28.

The club’s elite players will compete in the Senior Cup and Barton Shield. The Senior Cup qualifier will take place at Laytown & Bettystown on June 13 and 14 with Dundalk due to meet Killeen Castle for a place in the area semi-final where they will meet the winners of Headfort and Greenore. The Barton Shield qualifier takes place in Balcarrick on May 26 where 25 clubs will tee off looking to be one of the top eight teams that will advance to the semi-final stage on Sunday morning. This area qualifier will send two teams to the Leinster Finals in Mount Wolseley on July 20 and 21.

In the Jimmy Bruen Cup, Dundalk will be one of 18 clubs taking part in the area qualifier at Roganstown on June 16 with the top four going forward to the matchplay stage the following day which will decide the team who will advance to the Leinster Finals on July 21 in Mount Wolseley.

The Pierce Purcell Cup is for players with a handicap between 12 and 15 and the area qualifier will take place in Balbriggan on May 12 where 17 clubs will be looking for a place among the four teams that will battle it out on May 13 for a place in the Leinster quarter-final.

The All-Ireland Fourball is one of the newest inter-club competitions and Dundalk have received a bye into the second round where they will play the winner of Bellewstown and Co Louth on or before April 22. It will take Dundalk five matches to reach the Leinster Final in Tullamore on August 12.

In the Barton Cup, Dundalk will meet Ardee on or before April 15 while Greenore will provide the opposition in the Provincial Towns Cup on April 22 with the winners meeting either Seapoint or Co Louth in the second round.

Dundalk will begin the defence of their Leinster Fred Daly pennant in April against Laytown & Bettystown with the winners facing Greenore or Royal Tara while the U15 Inter Club Matchplay competition sees Dundalk meeting Co Louth for a place in the next round against ether Balbriggan or Laytown & Bettystown.



Rafferty receives honorary membership after international breakthrough

Caolan Rafferty

IRISH international Caolan Rafferty has received honorary membership of Dundalk Golf Club after he became only the sixth player from the club to make a senior international appearance.

Rafferty made his international debut at the Home Internationals in August and finished as the competition’s top scorer with five points out of six as he made a significant contribution to Ireland retaining the trophy for an unprecedented fourth consecutive time.

Rafferty has followed in the footsteps of Walter J Carroll, Charles A Carroll, Mick Ferguson and Barry Donnellan, who were Dundalk’s previous senior men’s internationals, and Yvonne Cassidy who was a ladies international.

“This year was a tremendous one for Dundalk Golf Club as we produced three internationals,” said outgoing Captain Michal Coburn. “Eoin Murphy and Josh Mackin played for the U18 and U16 teams respectively while Caolan bridged a 65 year gap to our last men’s senior international. Everybody in the club is very proud of what Caolan has achieved this year. He is a great inspiration to everybody in Dundalk.”

Rafferty admitted he was honoured to receive such a special recognition from a club that has already given him tremendous support.

“It’s not something that is easily got so it is a huge honour for me to receive it. I really appreciate everything the club has done for me. They have helped me to play in tournaments here and in Britain and all the members have been following my progress very closely. It’s great to come back to the club and have people asking you about the championship you have just played in,” said Rafferty.

Rafferty has certainly had a year to remember and there have been no shortage of highlights for the 25-year-old who recently won the Irish Universities Championship at Enniscrone while also helping Maynooth University, where he is a Harrington Scholar, to third place in European Universities Championship in the Czech Republic.

His other big individual win of the year was in Colomiba at the Fedegolf Championship where he also partnered Tiarnan McLarnon to victory in the Team Event. That was his first big win as an elite golfer and he admits it is a big breakthrough.

“I’ve won a few Scratch Cups but Colombia was the first big competition I have won. To also win the team competition was special as it was the first time a team from Britain or Ireland had won it. I went on and won the Irish Universities and now I am looking forward to next year and trying to win one of the major Championships. It would mean a lot to me to bring one of those trophies back to Dundalk.”

Rafferty also claimed leading qualifier honours and course records at two of the biggest championships during the year. At the British Amateur Championship he led home 280 of the world’s top amateur players and also managed to set a new course record over the Princes course. He repeated the feat at the North of Ireland Championship where he set a new mark for the Dunluce course at Royal Portrush and then reached the semi-final of the Championship itself.

He also reached the quarter-finals of the West of Ireland Championship and the Irish Close and finished 10th at the East of Ireland. There was a seventh place at the Lytham Trophy in England, a second place in the Laytown & Betystown Scratch Cup and a third place in a spirited defence of the Dundalk Scratch Cup behind international colleagues Colin Campbell and Tiarnan McLarnon.

As well as helping Ireland to victory in the Home Internationals, Rafferty also led Leinster to a three-in-a-row in the Interprovincial Championships where he finished as top scorer winning 5.5pts out of a possible six.

Not surprisingly, Rafferty won the Leinster Senior Order of Merit to round off a memorable year and he realises it is going to tough to match those achievements in 2018.

“Obviously I want to do well in the major championships and I want to keep my place on the Ireland panel and make the Home International team again. The Eisenhower Trophy is being played at Carton House in September so making that three man team is a target as well.

“I also want to win a pennant with Dundalk. We have some good young lads coming through and we are all determined to do something with the club.”

Having just recovered from a rib injury sustained in a freak accident, Rafferty is currently preparing for 2018 in Maynooth University where he has just started studying Business Management.

“I am really enjoying it and Barry Fennelly has been a big help to me. We have got access to physios and psychologists and I am also in gym and doing things like yoga. I am fully focused on my studies and my amateur career for the next three years. After that we’ll see what happens.”