Men’s senior and ladies juniors march on as three teams bow out

Dundalk Golf Club have qualified for the Leinster Finals of the AIG Senior Cup, the most prestigious inter-club competition in Irish golf, and remain on course for an historic double having already qualified for the Leinster finals of the Barton Shield.

It was a tremendous end to a week that was bookended by two fabulous victories as the Ladies Junior Cup team also advanced to the Leinster quarter-finals when they defeated Laytown & Bettytown at the beginning of the week.

However, in between those two magnificent wins was a lot of heartache as Dundalk’s runs in the Jimmy Bruen Shield, All Ireland Fourball and Revive Active Fourball came to an end.

It is the first time in the club’s history that a team has reached the Leinster finals of the top two inter-club competitions in the same year and the senior team will head to Mount Wolseley in July and Mount Juliet in August with a lot of confidence after three impressive wins over the weekend in the regional qualifying round of the Senior Cup at Laytown & Bettystown.

Having received a bye in the First Round, Dundalk faced Killeen Castle on Saturday afternoon and won by 3.5 to 1.5 with Caolan Rafferty winning 6&5, Aaron Grant winning 3&1 and Conor Curran winning 3&2.

On Sunday morning they met Headfort and there were wins for Rafferty, Curran and Grant while Brendan Lawlor, for the second successive match, was called in while in a strong positive to win his match.

That set up a regional final with Co Louth and Eoin Murphy, who had flown in that morning from England, won two up after being dormie four. Fellow Irish Boys international Josh Mackin, who like Murphy had only finished his Leaving Certificate last Thursday, came from two down to win 2&1 thanks to birdies on three of the final four holes.

Rafferty was six under par in his 5&3 win while Grant was two up when his match was called in.

The win booked Dundalk a place in the Leinster final at Mount Juliet with their quarter-final match against The Island scheduled for August 28.

Earlier in the day, Dundalk’s Jimmy Bruen Shield team came agonisingly close to reaching the Leinster Finals in their regional qualifier at Roganstown.

They opened up with a 3.5 to 1.5 win over leading qualifiers Balbriggan with Pat Purton and Paul O’Callaghan winning 7&6, Billy Cairns & Zak Alderdice winning 4&3 and Damien English and Christy Ward winning on the 20th. Conal Murdock and Conor Murphy were looking good to win their match on the 19th when called in while Shane Hession and Fergal Sexton came up against Balbriggan’s strongest pairing and lost 5&4.

In the regional final on Sunday afternoon Dundalk faced Forest Little and a comfortable 6&5 win for for Ward and English and a 5&4 win for Murdock and Murphy left the tie level at 2-2 after Cairns & Alderdice and Ciaran Traynor and Cian Lynch McCrave had lost their matches.

It all came down to the match involving Purton and O’Callaghan which was all square after 16. However, Dundalk lost the 17th to a birdie and then saw Forest Little sink a 10ft putt for par on the 18th before O’Callaghan’s birdie putt to send the match down the 19th lipped out.

There was more heartbreak in the All-Ireland Fourball Leinster quarter-final against last year’s Leinster finalists, Malahide, who beat Frank Byrne’s charges 3-2 in a dramatic match that was eventually finished at around 10pm on Thursday evening.

In Malahide, Dundalk lost the opening match 4&3 as Colm Garvey and Michael Keating were hit by blitzkrieg from a home pairing that were two under gross for the 15 holes played as they rolled in three birdies, 11 pars and one bogey in a faultless round.

Behind them, Kevin Carthy and Ray Pepper were three down with four to play but won 15, 16 and 18 to draw level with Carthy producing a miraculous chip over a greenside bunker from the trees on the last to find the green and then sank a 15ft putt to send the match down the 19th.

On the first sudden death hole, it was Pepper who came to the fore as he hit a fabulous shot out of a fairway bunker to within six feet of the green and then chipped on to leave himself with two putts for the win and Dundalk’s first point on the board.

The remaining three matches were played in Dundalk where Adrian Kenny and Gerry McDermott maintained their unbeaten run with an excellent 3&1 win having taken control of the match midway through the opening nine when they won the fourth, fifth and sixth to open up a three hole lead.

Peter O’Brien and Dermot McKenna were involved in an extremely tight match which was all square with three to play but they lost 16 and 17 and were edged out 2&1 to leave the tie at 2-2 with one match out on the course.

Eamonn McEneaney and Joe Flanagan had been four down after 10 but they won the next three holes to reduce the deficit to one and, after losing the 14th, they bounced back with wins at the 15th, 16th and 17th to stand one up with one to play.

After Malahide had secured their par on the 18th, the home pair both had putts to send Dundalk into the Leinster semi-finals for the first time in the club’s history but both efforts burned the edge of the hole and sent the match down the 19th where Malahide secured the win with a five.

Earlier that day, the Ladies Revive Action team were beaten in their Third Round match by Ardee who won by 3.5 to 1.5.

At the beginning of last week the Ladies Junior Cup team reached the Leinster Finals with a 3-2 win over Laytown & Bettystown and they will now face Rathfarnham in Foxrock for a place in the semi-finals.

 

Mixed fortunes for teams but two move on

There were mixed fortunes for Dundalk Golf Club teams last Saturday but two teams managed to progress to the next stage of their respective competitions.

The Mixed Foursomes team defeated Greenore on Saturday but the ladies Minor team saw their run come to an end at the hands of Ashbourne in a match played in Beaverstown.

The Jimmy Bruen team, managed by Fergal Harte and Clem Walshe, qualified for the regional semi-final in a blustery Roganstown Golf Club.

The new look line up featured many of Dundalk’s young up and coming players who showed maturity beyond their years to get the job done and ensure the club qualified for the section semi- final which will be played against Balbriggan on Sunday next, June 24, at 8am in Roganstown. The regional final will be played that afternoon against the winners of Forrest Little and Co Louth at 2pm.

Balbriggan were the leading qualifiers on 336, which was five ahead of Forest Little and Co Louth on 341 with Dundalk a shot further back on 342.

A big incentive for Dundalk is that the Leinster Finals take place in Mount Wolseley on Saturday, July 21, alongside the Barton Shield which Dundalk have already qualified for.

This Thursday, the Ladies Revive Active team face Ardee in the Third Round of the competition at 3.30pm with the three matches in Dundalk while at 4pm the All-Ireland Fourball team will meet Malahide In the Leinster quarter-finals with three of the five matches at home.

 

Two more teams into Leinster quarter-finals

It’s been another good week on the team front for Dundalk Golf Club as two teams took big steps towards Leinster pennants at the expense of Headfort Golf Club.

The men’s All-Ireland Fourball Team and the ladies’ Mary McKenna Diamond Trophy team have both reached the Leinster quarter-finals of their respective competitions after tough matches against their opponents from Meath.

The ladies produced a superb performance last Wednesday when they went to Kells and beat the home club 4-1 to advance to a last eight meeting with The Island, who defeated the reigning national and provincial  champions, Royal Tara, 3-2 in their second round tie.

Managed by Mags Coburn and Rita Moriarity, the ladies played some great golf and got on top early on in four of the five matches.

In the top match, Elizabeth McGuinness and Briege Renaghan were three up after four holes and although the Headfort pairing responded down the back nine and closed the gap to one hole with two to play, the Dundalk pairing held on win by one hole.

That match produced the winning point because Maureen Sheridan & Gerardine Blackmore had closed out their match on the 17th for a 2&1 win having got a firm grip on it when they went two up on the 15th.

Mary Hession and Siobhan Duffy put the first Dundalk point on the board with an impressive performance that saw them go five up after eight holes and they eventually ended it on the 15th to record a 4&3 win.

The other pairings of Anne Murray and Mary Dooley, and Theresa Smyth and Oonagh Quinn, were both well in the hunt for victory when their matches were called in.

Having been drawn away to Donabate and Headfort in the opening two rounds, Dundalk will now have home advantage later this month when they face The Island for a place in the Leinster semi-finals.

The men’s All-Ireland Fourball team, under the management of Frank Byrne and Larry Soraghan, beat Headfort 3-2 last Saturday in a contest that saw all five matches decided on the 17th hole.

Play began in the three away matches at Headfort at 9.30am as Dundalk went in search of an away point to ensure the two home matches in Blackrock, which didn’t tee-off until 12.45pm, would determine the overall outcome.

In the top match Eamonn McEneaney and Michael Begley lost 2&1 despite returning a betterball score in excess of 40pts. Having halved seven of the opening nine holes, the pairing turned level and the home side went one up on the 11th when they hit a 200 yard shot to within inches of the hole for a birdie. A controversial ruling on the 15th paved the way for Headfort to go two up on the 15th and they held on to close it out on the 17th.

In the next match Colm Garvey and Davy Cairns got off to a great start and were two up after seven but the Headfort duo came back at them and won five of the next seven holes to take a three hole lead. The Dundalk pairing won the 15th but had to settle for halves on the next two holes as the Meathmen held on for another 2&1 win.

That left Kevin Carthy and Ray Pepper holding Dundalk’s fate in their hands and they were up against Headfort’s strongest pairing who had not been beaten in five years of matchplay and never taken beyond the 15th hole.

However, it was soon obvious that the Meathmen hadn’t met the likes of Carthy and Pepper before as they took the lead on the second when Pepper parred. Headfort came back and were one up after 10 but then Carthy took centre stage and parred the next three holes to move Dundalk in a two hole lead with five to play. Headfort won the 14th but Pepper parred the 15th to restore the two hole advantage and, after halving the 16th, the Dundalk pairing took the 17th with a par from Carthy to record a 3&1 win.

That left Dundalk trailing 2-1 but with the two home matches still to be decided. In the top match match Peter O’Brien and Dermot McKenna found themselves one down immediately after losing the opening hole and then went two down after four before pars at the fifth and sixth brought their match back to all square.

The Dundalk pairing eventually took the lead on the ninth with a birdie and went two up on the tenth with par. Headfort won the 12th but Dundalk took the 13th to restore the two hole advantage. The away team then won the 15th with a par to reduce the deficit to one with three to play but after 16 was halved in fives, Dundalk closed out the match on the 17th when McKenna sank a short putt for the hole and a 2&1 win.

Behind them Adrian Kenny and Gerry McDermott were never behind but they were made to fight all the way by their dogged opponents. The Dundalk duo won the second and third to open a two hole lead but then lost the fifth to a par and the sixth to a birdie as the match returned to all square.

Headfort then missed a glorious opportunity to take the lead on the seventh when they three putted from 15th feet and they were left to rue that miss two holes later when Kenny rolled in a short biride putt after a magnificent seven iron tee shot.

Dundalk moved two holes clear on the 12th when McDermott holed a breaking downhill putt from 30 feet and a par at the next saw them take a three hole lead. Wayward teeshots at the 14th allowed Headfort take the hole and reduce the gap to two but Kenny and McDermott then halved the next three holes to win 2&1 and secure the winning point for Dundalk.

In the Leinster quarter-finals, Dundalk will have home advantage against either Donabate or Malahide.

This weekend will see Dundalk Golf Club host a qualifying round in the AIG Junior Cup with nine clubs, including Dundalk, teeing it up in qualifying on Saturday with the top two qualifiers advancing to the matchplay final on Sunday morning.

Dundalk reach Barton Shield quarter-finals

Barton Shield squad

Dundalk Golf Club have reached the last eight of the Leinster section of the Barton Shield for the second successive year after some superb performances at Balcarrick Golf Club over the weekend.

After qualifying in second place behind Portmarnock on Saturday, Dundalk then beat Greenore and Royal Dublin in Sunday’s matchplay ties to advance to the Leinster Finals which will take place in Mount Wolseley on the weekend of July 20 and 21.

With recently crowned club champion Caolan Rafferty away on international duty in France with Ireland, Dundalk managers Alan McCabe, John Conlon and Fergal Harte looked to Conor Curran to step up to the plate and he didn’t disappoint.

Curran partnered Irish Boys international Eoin Murphy while the experienced Aaron Grant was paired with the club’s other Boys International, Josh Mackin for the foursomes event.

Both pairings shot rounds of 76 as Dundalk finished three shots behind Portmarnock in qualifying but well inside the qualifying mark of 160 from which the field of 25 clubs was whittled down to eight for the matchplay phase where two clubs would qualify for the Leinster finals.

On Sunday morning, Dundalk faced neighbours Greenore and beat them by four holes with Murphy and Curran winning by one hole while Grant and Mackin were 3up when they were called in, having been all square at the turn.

That earned the team an afternoon match against Royal Dublin for a place in Mount Wolseley in July and things didn’t look good in the top match early on as Murphy and Curran found themselves two down but birdies on seven and 11 brought them back to all square.

They went behind again when they lost the 15th but came good in the end by winning the final two holes to win their match 1up.

Grant and Mackin got their noses in front early on by sinking birdie putts to win two of the first three holes and they then won the 10th and the 11th to extend their lead to four holes with seven to play.

They were still four ahead with four to play but then saw their lead halved when Royal Dublin won the 15th and 16th but a half on the 17th ensured a two hole victory as the match was called in once Murphy and Curran had got over the line up ahead.

Next up for Dundalk’s elite squad will be the Senior Cup qualifier on June 23 in Laytown & Bettystown when the format will be five singles matches.

Dundalk’s elite ladies were also in action on the Donabate peninsula on Sunday as they faced a Senior Foursomes qualifier along with 11 other clubs at Donabate Golf Club and were unlucky to encounter the worst of the heavy rain which fell in the Fingal area during the afternoon.

The team of Jennifer Holland, Criona O’Reilly, Jacinta Foran, Elaine Ward, Ann Hopper and Pauline Campbell missed out by two shots on qualifying for the next phase of the competition,

The JB Carr Diamond Trophy Team went down fighting as they tried in vain to overhaul a 0-5 deficit when they faced Greenore in the second leg of the Co Louth on the Cooley Peninsula last Friday. Despite giving from one to three shots to their opponents in each of their matches, the Dundalk pairings were two up in two matches and level in two others when they were called in after Greenore got the point they needed for overall victory with a 3&2 win as they closed out the top match on the 16th hole.

The inter-club competitions continue this week with all eyes on the All-Ireland Fourball team who meet Headfort on Saturday in the last 16 of the Leinster section. Three of the matches are in Kells with the other two in Dundalk.

 

Ladies Senior Foursomes team

 

 

Three teams make it through the weekend

Three Dundalk teams advanced to the next round of their respective inter-club competitions over the weekend but it is the end of the road for the Barton Cup and Newsam Cup teams as they both lost out to Meath opposition in their respective competitions.

There were wins for the Boys U18 team in the Fred Daly Trophy, the Ladies Revive Action team and the North Leinster Mixed team while the Husband and Wife team produced another strong performance in this annual competition at Co Meath Golf Club.

The strength in depth of the underage programme at Dundalk Golf Club was clearly shown on Saturday when the Boys U18 team went into the second round of the Fred Daly Trophy without three of their top players but beat Greenore 4-1 to remain on course for a successful defence of the Leinster title they won last year.

Boys U18 internationals Eoin Murphy and Josh Mackin, as well as juvenile captain Padraig Fallon, were all unavailable for this match but their replacements stepped up to the plate and won their matches to secure a Dundalk victory.

Playing in Dundalk, Oisin Conroy and Zak Alderdice both recorded victories with Conroy winning 6&5 and Alderdice winning 5&3. The other three matches were played in Greenore where another rookie, Ciaran Johnston, had a one hole win while Kyle Rafferty won 2up and Sean Laverty was beaten on the 15th.

Youth was also to the fore for the Ladies as their Revive Active Fourball team, which is managed by Maureen Sheridan and Marie Griffin, scored an impressive victory over Co Louth despite having to play three of the five matches in Baltray.

Teenager Eve Rowland was one of the stars of a great team performance when she partnered Pauline Campbell to a 3&2 win in Dundalk while in Baltray there was a 2&1 win for Criona O’Reilly and Theresa Connolly and a one hole win for Jacinta Foran and Bernie McCann.

The North Leinster Mixed team faced Royal Tara in the opening round of this year’s competition and won thanks to victories in Dundalk for Tommy and Briege Reneghan as well as Larry Soraghan and Sally McDonnell while Anne Murray and Brendan Keane got the vital win away.

In the Newsam Cup on Saturday it all came down to inches as Dundalk lost by 3.5 to 1.5 to the runners-up in the competition for the past two years, Knightsbrook. Dundalk had defeated the Trim based club in the final in 2016 and the Meath men exacted revenged in a match that was in the balance right up to the final stroke.

After a 3&2 win for Gavin McDonnell and Derek Teather, a 4&3 defeat for Dermot McKenna and Alan Uzell and a 4&3 defeat for Sean Gallagher & Steve Buckingham, Knightsbrook held a 2-1 lead with two matches still alive. In Dundalk Benny O’Shaughnessy and Sean Quigley were 1up standing on the 18th tee while, in Trim, Gerry McDermott and Mark Browne were two down with two to play.

McDermott and Browne, who had hung in doggedly down the back nine, finally got a break on the 17th when they found the par five green in three while their opponents found the water with their fifth shot. The Dundalk pairing then got up and down from off the green at the par three 18th for a win to send their match down the 19th where a booming drive from Browne split the fairway before they were called in because of what had unfolded in Dundalk.

Knightsbrook managed to win the 18th in Dundalk to force their match with O’Shaughnessy and Quigley down the 19th where it all came down to two putts as Dundalk lipped out from five feet and Knightsbrook sank a four footer to take the overall match

In the Barton Cup on Sunday, after a bright start, Dundalk fell away against Headfort and eventually lost 4.5 to 0.5. In Dundalk, Neal MacKell and Aaron Waite lost 6&5, while Ciaran Sheridan and Damian English lost 5&4 and Billy Cairns and Aidan Thornton lost 3&2. In Headfort, Ciaran Traynor & Eugene Hanratty were beaten 4&3 while Clem Walsh and Paul O’Callaghan were all square after 16 when called in.

On Sunday, Dundalk took part in the annual Husband & Wife competition hosted by Co Meath Golf Club in Trim. Dundalk won the inaugural competition in 2016 and the team, managed by Elaine Ward and Paul O’Callaghan, put in another strong showing in this year’s event but came up short at the end as victory went to Killeen Castle.

Next weekend sees the ladies in action in the Junior Foursomes against Headfort in Mannan Castle while the Junior Cup team faces Co Meath in Kilcock. The men’s All-Ireland Fourball team face Greenore on Saturday at 12.30pm with three matches at home. The JB Carr Diamond Trophy second round tie against Greenore will be /played on May 17 and May 25 with the first leg in Dundalk.

Representing Dundalk in the Newsam Cup away leg against Knightsbrook on Saturday were (from left): Steve Buckingham, Gerry McDermott, Pat Davis (Vice-Captain and Assistant Manager), Sean Gallagher and Mark Browne.

 

Mixed weekend for Dundalk teams

 IT was a mixed weekend for Dundalk Golf Club on the inter-club scene as two teams advanced to the next rounds of their respective competitions while two others bit the dust at the first hurdle.

There was success for the Men’s All-Ireland Fourball and Ladies Junior Foursomes teams but the Men’s Provincial Towns Cup and Boys U15 teams were both beaten.

Having received a bye in the opening round, the All-Ireland Fourball team, which is managed by Frank Byrne and Larry Soraghan, are now through to the third round after an impressive 4-1 win over Bellewstown on Saturday.

With three matches away, against the team that had knocked Co Louth out of the competition in the previous round, it was imperative that Dundalk won their two home games and they not only did that but they did so with two impressive displays of golf.

Adrian Kenny and Gerry McDermott put the first Dundalk point on the board when they stormed to an 8&7 victory without losing a hole in the process while Peter O’Brien and Dermot McKenna were always in front after winning the first. They put the foot down on the eighth from where they won six consecutive holes to close the match out on the 13th and record a 7&5 win.

It was a lot closer in Bellewstown for most of the day but Dundalk eventually kicked on with Eamonn McEneaney and Joe Flanagan securing the tie-winning third point when they won the 15th, 16th and 17th for a 3&1 victory. David Cairns and Colm Garvey had bounced back from being three down at one stage to be two up after 16 when they were called in. The final pairing of Ray Pepper and Kevin Carthy were two down with four to play when were called in.

In the Ladies Junior Foursomes on Sunday at Concra Wood, Dundalk advanced to the next round after a 2-1 win over Greenore. The team, which is managed by Maria Kerr and Violet McGeady comprised of Berni McGuinness & Theresa Connolly, Mags Coburn & Bernie McCabe and Brid Rocks & Niamh Maguire.

The peculiarities of matchplay were definitely on show in the Provincial Towns Cup match against Greenore on Saturday as Dundalk lost 4-5 having looked in control for the most of the day.

As the away team, Dundalk hosted four of the nine matches and got off to a flyer as Damian English and 14-year-old Zak Alderdice, making his senior debut, both won 6&5 while Gerard Carroll won 4&3. The final match in Dundalk resulted in a 5&3 defeat for Trevor Giff.

By that stage the five matches in Greenore were still alive but the home side were mounting a comeback having trailed in most for the best part of the afternoon. Derek Murdock lost 3&2 in the top match but Eddie Rocks won 2&1 to leave the score at 4-2 for Dundalk with three matches still to be decided. Greenore took the bottom match with a 3&2 win over Turlough King while Paul Morrison, after leading for most of the day, was taken to the 18th and lost by one hole.

By this stage Fergal Sexton was heading down the 19th which his Greenore opponent managed to win to secure the tie-winning point for the home side and send them into the next round.

The U15 Boys faced an uphill task going into their second leg at home to Co Louth as they trailed 0-5 from the first leg a week ago in Baltray. But they gave it a go and came very close to causing an upset as they won the leg 3.5 to 1.5 but lost by 6.5 to 3.5 on aggregate.

Christopher Clarke, Tom Dunne and Conor Murphy won their matches but Joseph Laverty lost his and Zak Alderdice was level through 16 when his match was called in.

The All-Ireland Mixed Foursomes team are back in action on Saturday, April 28, when they face Greenore at 3pm with three matches away from home. The Newsam Cup team have three at home when they face Knightsbrook on May 5 and the Barton Cup team will have three at home when they meet Headfort in May 6 at 3pm.

ENDS