Good weekend for club teams as four advance

The Barton Cup team members who played at home against Ardee.

It was a good weekend for Dundalk Golf Club on the inter-club front as four teams advanced to the next rounds of their respective competitions.
The men’s Barton Cup team, the ladies Minor and Challenge Cup teams and the Boys U18 Fred Daly Trophy team are all safely through to the next round but the ladies Intermediate Cup team were beaten while the Boys’ U15 team have a mountain to climb after their first leg.
The Ladies were the busiest section with three teams scheduled to play over the weekend although only two of them actually got to tee up as the Minor Cup team, which had been due play Hollywood Lakes in Concra Wood, got a walkover.
On Saturday, the Challenge Cup team were involved in nail-biter with Ashbourne in Laytown & Bettystown. The scores were tied at 2-2 but Marie Griffin got Dundalk over the line when she won her match on the 18th to give Dundalk a 3-2 win. The other players on the team, which is managed by Brid Rocks and Mary Dooley, were Oonagh Quinn, Joan McKenna, Teresa Oakes and Sally McDonnell.
On Sunday, the Intermediate team, managed by Olivia Cunningham and Teresa Oakes, faced Ardee in Concra Wood and unfortunately, despite great preparation by the players and managers, they came out on the wrong side of a narrow 3-2 defeat. The team was Bernie McCabe, Theresa Connolly, Brìd Rocks, Mags Coburn and Katherina Conneally Sloan while Jean Connolly and Maeve Ahern were the subs
The only men’s team in action was the Carl Stewart and Alan McDermott managed Barton Cup team which faced Ardee on Saturday with three of the five matches at home.
Dundalk won the home leg 2-1 with none of the three matches going beyond the 14th hole.
In the top match, Neal MacKell and Aaron Waite got their noses in front early and ran out winners by 5&4. It was even more decisive in the next match but it was the Dundalk pairing of Shane Hession and Donal Sheridan who were on the wrong side of the scoreline, going down 6&5 on a day when nothing went right for them.
Damian English and Ciaran Sheridan  got control of their match around the turn and eventually won by 5&4 to leave Dundalk 2-1 ahead and all eyes on the action in Ardee where the two matches were a lot closer.
Going down the back nine, Dundalk’s lead pairing of Billy Cairns and Aidan Thornton had edged narrowly in front and they closed out the match when they won the 17th hole to win 2&1 with their point securing the overall victory for Dundalk.
In the bottom match the pairings were all square for most of the round with never more than a hole in it. Ardee won the 15th to go one up, but Clem Walshe and Paul O’Callaghan rallied to win the 16th and they were called while on the 17th fairway so the match was halved.
The Boys U18 team delivered Dundalk’s only pennant last year when they won the Fred Daly Leinster title and with five of last year’s squad still underage they definitely have a chance of being in the mix again this year.
They opened their campaign on Sunday afternoon against Laytown & Bettystown and emerged 3.5 to 1.5 winners. Ireland internationals Eoin Muphy and Josh Mackin, playing in Dundalk, both won with Murphy winning 4&3 while Mackin won by 5&4. Sean Laverty, also playing over the home course, was two up when called in on the 14th because Kyle Rafferty, playing in Laytown, had won 2&1 to secure the winning point. Debutant Oisin Conroy lost his match 7&6 in Laytown. Dundalk now play Greenore in the next round.
Finally, the Boys U15 team have it all to do in the second leg of their Leinster Inter-Club tie against Co Louth as they lost all five matches in Baltray on Saturday and must now do a clean sweep in Dundalk on Sunday afternoon.

The members of the Barton Cup team who played away against Ardee.

Barry claims Jubilee Cup

Kevin Barry (10) won the first major cup of the season on Sunday when he shot a three-under par 69 to claim the Jubilee Cup.
It was a narrow win as he only edged out the in-form Fergal Sexton (10) on countback. Sexton had won  Wednesday’s Open Singles with an impressive 42pts and was denied back to back victories by the narrowest of margins.
Pars at the opening two holes gave Barry a good start but a double bogey at the third undid that work and the same happened at the sixth where a bogey cancelled out the benefit of parring the index one fourth.
He then parred the index three seventh and index seven eighth to get to two under nett but handed both back at the par three ninth which he double-bogeyed.
That left him on level par nett heading for home but he got it together down the back nine and came home in three-under nett after picking up shots at the 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th and giving away shots at the 10th and 18th.
In end it was that performance down the back nine that allowed him to hold off the challenge of Sexton.
Ollie English (13)  took the Veteran’s Prize while Aaron Grant (+2) shot a two over par 74 to record the day’s best gross score. Category winners were Brian Mernagh (1),  Pat Curran (13) and Mark Browne (20).
Sunday also saw the first nine hole singles competition and Pat Hoey (12) with 23pts took the honours.
Sunday, April 15 – Open Singles Stableford – Overall: Kevin Barry (10) 69/33, Fergal Sexton (10) 69/34.
Gross: Aaron Grant (+2) 74. Veteran: Oliver English (13) 72/34.5. Category 1 (<11): Brian Mernagh (11) 69, Paul Morrison (11) 72/36.5. Category 2 (12-16): Pat Curran (13) 73/36.5/23.7/11.8. Noel Reidy (15) 73/36.5. Category 3 (17 -28): Mark Browne (20) 71, John Farrell (22) 72/32. Nine Hole Competition: Pat Hoey (12) 23pts.
Wednesday, April 11 – Open Singles Stableford – Overall: Fergal Sexton (10) 42pts, Pat Daly (20) 39pts, Shaun Ward (10) 38/21pts.

Reidy leads Gold Medal qualifiers

Noel Reidy with a score of 69 led the 64 qualifiers for the matchplay stages of the Gold Medal.

Reidy, who plays off 13, birdied the par four 14th and also recorded pars at seven other holes, but he only took the leading qualifier spot on countback despite having just one double-bogey, at the seventh, on his card.

The competition was run over Saturday and Sunday with some players on 76 from Saturday and some players on 77 from Sunday qualifying. Defending champion, Maurice J Murphy, is among the qualifiers.

Sunday, April 8 – Gold Medal Qualifier – Leading Qualifier: Noel Reidy (15) 69/32.5. First Round Draw (Matches to be played by May 14): Noel Reidy v Gerry McDermott, Michael Hamilton v Michael Stewart, Nigel Giff v Fergal Sexton, Gerard Carroll v Mark Gorham, Alan Hurley v Conor McClenaghan, Damian English v L Matthews jnr, David Brennan v Tom Lanigan, Andrew Keenan v Barry Cunningham, Paul Lynch v Martin Crosby, Eoghan McKenna v Austin Shaw, Niall McCaul v Pat Curran, Oliver McGinnity v A Gaughran, Fergal McKenna v Maurice Soraghan, Pat McKeown v Adrian Kenny, Clem Walshe v Eddie Rocks, Neal MacKell v Bill McCarthy, Gregory McCaughey v Sean Hession, Paschal Keenan v Michael Gill, Peter O’Brien v Kevin Barry, Brendan Keane v Danny Miele, Mark Browne v Anthony O’Donoghue, Bobby McCarthy v Seamus Bailey, Colm Garvey v Fergal Harte, Derek Murdock v Sean Gallagher, Aidan Thornton v Maurice J Murphy, Noel Reid v Colm Coburn, Martin Cairns v Billy Cairns, Eamonn McEneaney v Martin McEnteggart, Kevin Joyce v Larry Curtin, David Murden v Conall Murdock, Carl Stewart v Gerry Murray, Trevor Giff v Brian Mernagh,

Boys teams in action this weekend

Next weekend will be a busy one for Dundalk’s Boys team as the U18s begin the defence of their Fred Daly Leinster title while the U15 also open their Leinster campaign.

The U15s face a two-leg tie against Co Louth and will be away in the first leg which will be played on Saturday, April 14 at 3.30m in Baltray.  The return leg is fixed for Sunday 22nd April in Dundalk at 3.30pm. The team consists of five players and the format is singles matchplay over the two legs with the first team to win six matches over both legs progressing to next round.

The U18s, with five of last year’s panel still under-age, begin the quest for back to back Leinster titles against Laytown & Bettystown in the first round on Sunday, April 15. Dundalk have home advantage so three of the five singles matches will be playedin Dundalk with the remaining two being played in Laytown & Bettystown. The first to win three matches progresses to the second round.

Triple winner Walshe is no April Fool!

Clem Walshe

Clem Walshe proved he was no April Fool on Easter Sunday as walked off the course a triple winner.

The five handicapper shot a superb round of 42pts to win Sunday’s Singles Stableford competition and his gross score of 37pts was also the best gross returned on the day.

His nett score also had a major bearing on the outcome of the 2018 Winter League as Team 11, captained by Mark Browne, went from joint fourth place, and five points behind, at the beginning of the final round to top spot by the end of day’s play. They took the title by seven points from Team 7, captained by George Rogers, which had started the day alongside them in fourth place.

Another member of Team 11, Anthony O’Donoghue (13), also made a significant contribution with 38pts which was also enough for him to claim third place overall in the singles competition with Kevin Barry (10), a member of Team 7, finishing second with 40pts.

Team 3, captained by Bill McCarthy, had started the third round leading by one point but after returning a total of 98pts from their three counting cards they had to settle to third place, nine points behind the winners.

Walshe, who won the Hilary Outing at Seapoint recently, produced a superb round of golf on his way to victory as he carded three birdies, 13 pars and two bogeys for a one under par 71 or 37pts that, with the addition of his five strokes became an impressive 42pts.

He went out in 20pts, helped by a four point birdie at the par three fourth, and came home in 22pts having recorded three point birdies at the 12th and 15th and three point pars at the 11th and 15th. A sign of how well he played was shown by the accumulation of 12pts from the five holes where he had strokes.

Colin Roche (6) with 37pts took Category 1 while Kenneth Cairns (13) won Category 2 with 38pts and Sean Gallagher (20) claimed Category 3 with 35pts.

Sunday, April 1 – Singles Stableford Competition – Overall: Clem Walshe (5) 42pts, Kevin Barry (10) 40pts, Anthony O’Donoghue (13) 38/22pts. Category 1(0-11): Colin Roche (6) 37pts. Category 2 (12-16): Kenneth Cairns (13) 38pts. Category 3 (17-28): Sean Gallagher (20) 35/18pts. Best Gross: Clem Walsh 37pts.

Winter League sponsored by Tiernan’s Centra Blackrock (Final Standings): 216pts – Team 11 (Mark Browne, Clem Walshe, Anthony O’Donoghue, Ciaran Rafferty, Edmund Sheridan). 209pts – Team 7 (George Rogers (c), Kevin Barry, Connor McCaughey, Peter O’Brien, Brendan Tinnelly. Full results here

Winter League Standings Week 2

1 3 Bill McCarthy 109
2 2 Colm Coburn 108
3 14 Sean Ward 106
4 11 Mark Browne 104
4 7 George Rogers 104
4 5 Ray Pepper 104
7 12 Colm Garvey 102
8 9 Brian Ward 100
9 8 Kenneth Cairns 99
10 6 Michael Stewart 98
11 1 Pat Curran 97
11 15 Patsy Cole 97
13 10 Brendan Keane 93
14 13 Barry Cunningham 91
15 4 Tom Clarke  88

The Winter League is sponsored by Tiernan’s Centra Blackrock

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.

Rafferty wins Laytown & Bettystown Scratch Cup

Caolan Rafferty

Caolan Rafferty produced a strong finish to win the Laytown & Bettystown Scratch Cup for a second time on Sunday.

The 25-year-old birdied his final three holes to capture the 36 hole competition by one shot after shooting rounds of 70 and 66.

A shotgun start saw Rafferty teeing off both his rounds on the second hole and he admitted he was surprised to find himself only one shot off the lead after the first round.

“It was a cold morning and there was a bit of a breeze but I didn’t hit it that well and I just scrambled my way around with five birdies and four bogeys. I couldn’t believe it when I found out I was only a shot behind a group on two under as I thought somebody would have posted a decent score.”

Relieved to be still in contention, Rafferty knuckled down in the second round and produced some excellent golf as he roared around the famous Co Meath links with a five under par 66 that included seven birdies.

After parring his opening two holes, he then birdied the fourth, fifth and sixth, to move to four under for the tournament. A dropped shot at eight was cancelled out by a birdie 11 but he then bogeyed the 12th to move back to three under.

Last Tuesday in Portmarnock, Rafferty returned the best gross score in the Winter Alliance when he birdied two of the last three holes for a 69 and on Sunday he once again produced some sparkling golf over the final three holes.

After birdieing the 17th, Rafferty hit a drive and an eight iron to set up a birdie on 18 and he then birdied the first, his last, to finish on six under and take the tournament by one shot.

It was his second victory in the competition having won it previously 2013 and he was delighted with the way he played and finished the final round.

“It’s always nice to finish strong and to do it twice in a week is great. Winning the Laytown & Bettystown Scratch Cup in 2013 was a big breakthrough moment for me and it means a lot to have won it again,” said Rafferty

While most of Ireland’s top amateurs are heading to Rosses Point this week for the West of Ireland Championship, Rafferty will heading to St Andrews in Scotland with Maynooth University for the R&A’s Scholars Championship.

“To win in Laytown is a nice boost heading to St Andrews. I played there last year in the St Andrew’s Cup and made the cut so I’m hoping that experience will stand me to this week.”

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