There was heartache for the club’s Junior Cup team last Saturday in Knighsbrook when they were narrowly beaten 3-2 by County Sligo Golf Club in their All-Ireland Quarter-Final with the final match being decided on the 18th green.
Managers Conor Curran and Ronan Farrelly went with the same team that had beaten Laytown & Bettystown in last month’s Leinster North final in St Margaret’s and rewarded with a gritty performance that just came up agonisingly short.
Ricky Newell, in the fourth match, put the first Dundalk point on the board with a 5&4 win over Christopeher Longworth. He went one up on the seventh and was two ahead after 10 before winning three of the next four holes for an emphatic 5&4 win.
However, Ben Cahill, who was playing in the bottom match, lost 4&3 to John Paul Flanagan. Cahill lost the first hole and then lost the eighth and ninth to go three down. He was four down after 12 and ran out of holes on the 15th.
That left it at 1-1 and Dundalk then found themselves 2-1 down when Aidan Thornton was beaten 3&2 by Daniel Flanagan. This match was all square after 12 holes but Flanagan went ahead on the 13th thanks to a remarkable up and down from the back of the green. He then won the 15th to go two up and closed out the match on the 16th for a 3&2 victory.
Attention then switched to the top match where Boys’ Captain Chris Clarke faced Sligo veteran David McDermott. The Sligo player got off to a flying start winning the first, second and fifth to open up a three hole lead. Clarke won six but then found himself three down again when he lost the seventh to birdie.
However, he won the next two holes to reduce the deficit to one at the turn and then he won 12th to level the match before taking the lead for the first time on the 16th. They were all square again a hole later after Clarke found water with his second shot, but he made amends by drilling home a 20ft putt on the 18th to claim a memorable win.
That left one match out on the course where Brian Og Renghan was involved in a titantic struggle with Tom Flanagan.
The Sligo man had won the opening hole but Renaghan quickly levelled and went one up when he chipped in for birdie on the par three fifth. Flanagan hit back with wins on eight and nine to go one up at the turn but Renaghan won the 11th to bring it back to all square.
Flanagan again edged in front but another chip in on the 15th from Renaghan left it all square with three to play. Flanagan won the 16th to regain the lead and Reneghan got up and down from a greenside bunker on 17 to force the match down the 18th.
By this stage there was a massive crowd following the match and they lined the par three hole and watched as Flanagan found the green and Reneghan was just off the left hand side. Reneghan’s chip came up 10ft shot while Flanagan’s putt was to within three feet and it was all over moments later when the Dundalk man saw his par putt shave the hole.
The players, caddies and management deserve great credit for a tremendous season which will give manager Curran and Farrelly plenty to build on for next year.
Sligo’s run came to an end in the semi-final when they were beaten 4-1 by Cork who in turn were beaten 4-1 by Castle Golf Club from Dublin in the final.