Great display by Rafferty in North of Ireland

Caolan RaffertyCaolan Rafferty produced a superb performance at the North of Ireland Championship in Portrush last week when he reached the semi-final.

The plus-three handicapper was fourth in qualifying over the Dunluce and Valley courses after shooting rounds of 67 and 70 and easily made the 64 player matchplay stages.

In the first round he beat Irish international Conor Doran (Banbridge) on the 19th and then had a one hole victory over Carton House’s Keith Egan in the second round.

A 5 & 3 victory over Finaly Mason (Moor Hall) earned Rafferty a quarter-final tie with Dermot McElroy, an Irish international, a Walker Cup squad member and the current West of Ireland champion. But the Dundalk player prevailed over the Ballymena man in a tight contest as he came from two down after nine to eventually win by one hole for one of the biggest wins of his career.

That left him in the semi-finals and involved on the last day and in another close contest with Rosslare’s Gary Collins. The Wexford player eventually prevailed on the 20th hole but lost the final to John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead).