Entries open for Dundalk Scratch Cup

Entries are now being accepted for the 36 hole Dundalk Scratch Cup, sponsored by One Finance, which will be played at Dundalk Golf Club on Sunday, September 17.

Irish international Caolan Rafferty will defend the title he won for the first time last year and there will be a special prize for anybody who beats the course record of 64 which was recently set by another former Scratch Cup winner Aaron Grant..

Grant and Rafferty will lead the challenge from the home club along with Boys internationals Eoin Murphy and Josh Mackin,.

Entries can be submitted to the Pro Shop at Dundalk Golf Club on +353 42-9322102.

 

Murphy makes international debut

Eoin Murphy

Congratulations to Juvenile Captain Eoin Murphy who made his international debut last week and picked up his first point for Ireland at the Boys Home Internationals in St Anne’s Old Links in England.

After suffering foursomes and singles defeats in Ireland’s draw with Scotland on the opening day and a foursomes loss in the defeat by the eventual winners England, Murphy finally got his debut point on Day Three against Wales when he partnered Charlie Denvir (Elm Park) to a 4&3 win. That point helped Ireland to a 10-5 win over the Welsh and second place overall.

Caolan Rafferty will make his senior international debut this week at the Home Internationals at Moortown Golf Club in England from Wednesday to Friday and everybody at the club extends their best wishes to him.

 

International call-ups for Rafferty and Murphy

Caolan Rafferty

Caolan Rafferty and Eoin Murphy have been called up to the Ireland teams for this month’s men’s and boys Home Internationals. It will be the first international appearance for both players and is recognition for the excellent seasons that both players have had.

With Josh Mackin having already appeared for the Irish Boys U16 team at the Home Internationals in Wales it means that Dundalk Golf Club has now produced three internationals in the one year,

Rafferty will be part of an Ireland team that is bidding for a fourth successive triumph in the Home Internationals when they tee off at Moortown on August 16. The team will have a chance to create history as no Ireland team has ever won four times in succession.

He is one of two new caps on the team as Irish Amateur Open Champion Peter O’Keeffe from Douglas is also included.

Rafferty has been having his best ever season and, in addition to reducing his handicap to plus five, he finished tied for seventh at the Lytham Trophy and made it to the

Eoin Murphy

last 32 of The Amateur Championship where he also won the silver medal for leading qualifier. He was also leading qualifier at the North of Ireland where he was a beaten semi-finalist and reached the quarter-finals of the West of Ireland. He also helped Dundalk reach the semi-finals of the Barton Shield for the first time won five points out of six as Leinster won their third successive Interprovincial title.

Team captain Tony Goode feels both new caps will strengthen his side. He said: “I’m very happy with the team that we’ve selected. I’m really pleased with the two new caps, Peter O’Keeffe and Caolan Rafferty. They both deserve their place in the team. It is an experienced team and hopefully the boys can bring their A game. You need your A-game at the Home Internationals.”

Murphy is one of seven new caps in the Ireland team for the Boys U18 Home Internationals at St Anne’s Old Links where hosts England will be defending the title they won last year in Ballyliffen. Ireland last won the Boys Home Internationals in 2013.

Murphy, who last year won the Faldo Ireland Series and the Munster Boys Championship, reached the last 16 of the West of Ireland after coming through pre-qualifying and qualifying rounds. He managed top twenty finishes in all the provincial boys championships and then helped Leinster to the Interprovincial title where he won two points from four matches before leading Dundalk to a first ever Fred Daly Leinster title. He was also part of the Barton Shield team.

Ireland team (Home Internationals, Moortown, 16-18 August): Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), Robin Dawson (Tramore), Colin Fairweather (Knock), Alex Gleeson (Castle), John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead), Rowan Lester (Hermitage), Paul McBride (The Island), Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas), Conor O’Rourke (Naas), Conor Purcell (Portmarnock), Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk)Team Captain: Tony Goode (Lucan), Team Manager: John White (Co Armagh), National Coach: Neil Manchip.

Ireland team (Boys Home Internationals, St Anne’s Old Links, 8-10 August): Reece Black (Hilton Templepatrick), John Brady (Rosslare), Charlie Denvir (Elm Park), Jack Doherty (Carton House), Jack Hearn (Tramore), Ross Kelly (Tuam), Aaron Marshall (Lisburn), Robert Moran (Castle), Eoin Murphy (Dundalk), Mark Power (Kilkenny), Cameron Raymond (Newlands). Team Captain: Cathal McConn (Roscommon). Team Manager: Alasdair Gibson (Knock). National Coach: Neil Manchip.

 

 

 

 

Boys team reaches Fred Day Leinster Final

Dundalk are through to the Leinster Final of the Fred Daly Trophy after an superb win over a Carton House team that contained newly crowned Ulster Boys Champion Jack Doherty.

The Fred Daly Trophy is the premier inter-cub boys tournament in the country and involves five singles matches with the home team staging three and the away team hosting two.

Drawn away, Dundalk despatched Eoin Murphy, Josh Mackin and Padraig Fallon to the Kildare venue while Sean Laverty and Kyle Rafferty were handed responsibility for the home leg.

Laverty was always in control on his way to a 3&2 victory while Rafferty found himself two down after eight but was level after 12 and eventually won on 19th after somehow scrambling a par from the trees on the 18th to force the match to sudden death.

At Carton House defeats for Murphy and Fallon meant the outcome rested on result of Josh Macken’s match and, one down playing the last, the Irish Boys international showed his steel as he eagled the par five 18th after hitting a two iron 215 yards to 20 feet and sinking a tricky downhill breaking putt.

Another great approach shot at the 19th to six feet left Macken with two putts for victory and he duly sealed Dundalk’s place in the final where they will face Greystones at Portmarnock Links on Friday, July 28.

Dundalk began their campaign with a 4-1 win over Laytown & Bettystown before defeating Donabate 3.5 to 1.5 in the Second Round. A narrow 3-2 win over Ardee followed before a 3.5 to 1.5 win over The Island in the quarter-finals.

 

Rafferty and Murphy make presence felt in West

Two Dundalk golfers certainly made their presence felt at West of Ireland Championship in Rosses Point last week and while they didn’t come away with the title, they certainly laid down markers for the season ahead.

Caolan Rafferty went one better than year by reaching the last eight while Eoin Murphy, who has just turned 17, reached the last 16 in what was his first major amateur championship.

Murphy, who is a two handicapper, had to pre-qualify for the tournament and earned one of the 20 spots on offer after a marathon seven hole play-off was needed to fill the remaining four qualifying places from the 10 players tied on 77.

On the seventh tie-hole Murphy found himself as one of three players chasing the last two spots and his hopes of qualifying looked doomed when he forced to take a penalty drop from a wall. He made a five but got through after one of his rivals played a wrong ball and incurred a two-stroke penalty.

Four other Dundalk players – Andrew Keenan, Conor Curran, Richie Newell and Neil MacKell – also played in the pre-qualifers but failed to make the cut.

Murphy took full advantage of his good fortune two days later when he teed up in the Championship proper. He shot a three under par 68 in the first of the two strokeplay qualifying rounds as he mixed three bogeys with four birdies before holing a 60-yard lob wedge for an eagle two at the 18th.

“It was a nice way to finish,” said Murphy afterwards. “”It was a good solid round of golf — I hit lots of greens and didn’t do anything too mad until the 18th. It’s my first men’s championship and to be able to compete with these boys is great.”

Although he shot a 78 in the second round, Murphy comfortably qualified for the matchplay stage as did Rafferty who shot rounds of 72 and 75 but Aaron Grant missed the cut by two shots after he followed an excellent opening round of 73 with a nine-over par 80.

In the first matchplay round Murphy was drawn against Irish international Tiarnan McLaron (Massereene) and showed no signs of nerves against one of the favourites as he trounced the Ulsterman by 6&5 and he proved it was no fluke in the afternoon when he defeated Royal Dublin’s Richard Knightly by 3&2, impressing everybody as he came from two down with a tremendous run of winning holes to close the match on the 16th.

Rafferty also had a good day at the office on Easter Sunday as he saw off Tandragee’s Ross Dutton by 2&1 in the first round and then beat Andrew Hickey (Ballyhaunis) by 3&2 after lunch to reach the last 16 for the second successive year.

Unfortunately for Murphy, his magnificent run came to an end on Easter Monday morning when he was beaten 6&4 by local favourite David Brady (Co Sligo) but he certainly left his mark on the competition and showed that he has the ability to play at Irish amateur golf’s highest level.

Rafferty drew on all his experience to make the quarter-final as he was two down with four to play against Colin Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire). He birdied the 15th, 16th and 17th to go one up and also won the 18th to win the match by two holes and earn a shot at making the last day of the West.

Rafferty faced Portmarnock’s Jack Pierce in the last eight and came up against a player in the top form from tee to green. Pierce, who helped Portmarnock win the World Club Golf Championship in December, opened up a three shot lead but although Rafferty birdied the 12th to reduce the deficit to two with six to play but he was unable to reel in Pierce who won by 2&1 and was level par for his round when it finished on the 17th.

While obviously disappointed that he didn’t make the semi-finals and the final day of the Championship, Rafferty can take a lot of satisfaction from his opening major of the year having gone one better than he did in 2016.

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.

 

 

Mulligan back to defend Dundalk Scratch Cup

2015 Senior Scratch cup winner 2Teenager Thomas Mulligan will aim to become only the third player to retain the Dundalk Scratch Cup, sponsored by Jeffers Sports Turf, when the 36-hole tournament takes place over the famed Blackrock links this Sunday.

Mulligan became the youngest ever winner of this prestigious competition last year when, as a 15-year-old, he won by three shots from his Co Louth clubmate Gerard Dunne and Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty with the highlight being his impressive seven-under par 65 in the first round.

If he manages to come out on top again this year Mulligan will join the legendary Joe Carr and Declan Brannigan as the only players to win the Dundalk title back to back with Carr achieving the feat in 1965 and 1966 while Brannigan did it in 1972 and 1973.

He’ll face a strong challenge from Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell who has started the season in superb form. He reached the semi-finals of the West of Ireland Championship at Easter before winning the Grange Scratch Foursomes with Ryan Gribben last week and then capturing the Lee Valley Senior Scratch Cup on Sunday.

Others to watch out for include Colm Fairweather (Knock), Derek Downie (Sutton) and James Fox who won the title in 2009.

The field also includes two of the winners from last week’s Faldo Series Ireland Championship at Lough Erne Resort as Hollywood’s Rory Williamson, who won the U21 title, and Dundalk’s Eoin Murphy, who won the U16 event, set to tee it up on Sunday.

Murphy is part of a strong Dundalk contingent that includes another former winner, Aaron Grant, and Rafferty. Grant and Rafferty recently reached the quarter-finals of the West of Ireland at Rosses Point.

The Dundalk course, which hosted last year’s Irish PGA Championship, has undergone major redevelopment work over the past number of years with the most recent work being the addition of new strategically-placed fairway bunkers on several holes.

Previous winners of the Dundalk Scratch Cup include three times major champion Padraig Harrington and all are welcome to the 2015 event where there is every likelihood they will see one of golfing stars of the future in action.

Murphy wins Faldo Series Ireland U16 Championship

Eoin Murphy - Faldo Series 2016 (A)

Eoin Murphy receives the gold medal after winning the Faldo Series Ireland U16 Championship

Dundalk Golf Club’s Eoin Murphy won the Faldo Series U16 Ireland Championship at Lough Erne Resort last week when he beat the cream of Irish golfers in his age-group to qualify for the European Grand Final.

After an opening round of 74, he fired a second round of 70 for a level par total of 144 which was good enough to take the title by four shots ahead of several Irish internationals.

“This was my biggest win outside the club and it is a great start to the year,” said Murphy. “It was a very strong field, with several Irish internationals in it, so it was good to show what I can do in that sort of company.”

Murphy, who plays off five, found himself two shots behind Conor Glennon (Glasson) and Robert Galligan (Elm Park) after the first round with a six shot gap to the rest of the field. His opening round of 74 included birdies at the 10th, 15th and 17th, but he was undone by five bogies including one at the last.

However, in round two Murphy blew everybody away with the only sub-par round of the tournament, a two under par 70 as nobody else in the field managed to shoot better than 76.

Things didn’t look good for his chances of catching the leaders when he double-bogeyed the 162-yard par three third after finding a bunker off the tee.

He then spurned an eagle opportunity at the par five fourth when he three-putted from 12 feet but, as the conditions deteriorated, he moved up a gear and sank two 30 foot putts for birdies at the fifth and seventh to get his round back to level par.

Murphy bounced back again after bogeying the 12th with birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th to finish the tournament on level par, four shots ahead of Glennon with his Dundalk clubmate, Sean Laverty finishing in 18th place.

“One of my aims for the season is to play well enough to be considered for the Leinster panel so this has given me a good boost,” said Murphy.

The Faldo Series, which was the brainchild of former Major champion Nick Faldo, is recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls and is now in its 20th year. Among the top professional players to have come through the Faldo Series is Rory McIlroy.

The date and venue for the European Final will be announced shortly but it is likely to be at one of the continent’s major golf venues.