Week dominated by titanic battles with Ardee in cup competitions

Last week was dominated by a series of titanic inter-club battles with neighbours Ardee as the clubs met in the Senior Cup, Jimmy Bruen Shield and Barton Cup having already clashed in the Junior Cup the previous weekend when Ardee ran out winners by 3.5 to 1.5.

Hopes of immediately gaining revenge for that defeat last Thursday in the Senior Cup were dashed when the young Ardee team emerged 3-2 winners in dramatic fashion. The match was in the balance after Aaron Grant and Caolan Rafferty won while Andrew Keenan and Conor Curran were beaten. Eoin Murphy was two up with three holes to play but failed to close out the match and ended up losing on the 20th.

The Jimmy Bruen Cup team were next on the Friday and there was plenty of drama here as well. Damian English and Aidan Thornton lost 6&5 in Ardee but Eugene Hanratty and Conor Murphy won 4&3 while in Dundalk Emmet Savage and Ciaran Sheridan lost on the 17th but Joseph Laverty and Michael Staunton secured a sensation victory on the 18th when Laverty holed his approach for an eagle two to win one up. That left everything hanging on the final match in Ardee where teenagers Ciaran Johnston and Chris Clarke were all square through 19 before bad light halted play.

The match was eventually concluded last Thursday when Johnson and Martin returned to Ardee. ch in our Jimmy Bruen Shield tie against the home club. The 20th, which was the second in Ardee, was par three and both Dundalk players found the green from the tee with Ardee chipping on to eight and 10 feet respectively. Johnston from 60ft got to within three feet of the hole while Clarke, rolled his swinging putt inside him. When Ardee missed both their par putts, it was left to Johnston to close out the match with a solid putt.  Dundalk will now play The Island in the next round.

Ardee’s impressive first round demolition of Headfort meant they started as raging hot favourites when the clubs met for the fourth time in eight days in the Barton Cup last Saturday but manager Carl Stewart had his homework done, got his pairings right and with watched with satisfaction as Dundalk won the three first three matches #

In Dundalk, Andrew Keenan and Conor Conroy, playing in the top match, were always in control from the moment Keenan won the opening hole. They went two up after winning the 13th and although Ardee responded immediately by winning the 14th, Conroy won the 15th and they closed out the match on 16 for a 3&2 win.

Behind them Clem Walshe and Kevin Redmond looked to be on their way victory when they were three up after eight but Ardee won the next three holes to draw level and ask serious questions of the Dundalk duo. However, Walshe and Redmond hung in and eventually got back in front on the 15th before closing out the match by taking 18 to win 2up.

That left Dundalk 2-0 ahead and they got over the line when Mark Gorham and 15-year-old Chris Clarke snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the top match in Ardee. A purple patch from the 8th hole onwards saw Ardee open up a commanding four hole lead through 11 but Gorman and Clarke kept their nerve and dug deep. Over the next six holes they dovetailed well to bring it back to all square with one to play.  A superb 20 foot birdie putt from Gorham on the 18th nullified Ardee’s nett birdie to send the match into sudden death where it was finally decided on the 21st when Clarke showed nerves of steel to sink a slippery six foot par for par and the winning point.

The other matches were called in, giving Dundalk a 4-1 victory. Shane Hession and John Mulligan were all square going down 18 after a high quality encounter where there was never more than one hole between the pairings while Peter Rogers and Bobby McCarthy were also involved in a tight match and were on the verge of going back to all square on the 17th when their match was called in.

Twelve-year-old Caffrey wins Minor Scratch Cup

Twelve-year-old Ben Caffrey from Ardee, where former Dundalk assistant professional Brian Kerley is now head pro, served notice that he is one to watch for the future as he won the Minor Scratch Cup on Sunday by two shots.

He shot an excellent score of 84 in this scratch competition for players of 17 handicap and higher but he had a shaky start with a double bogey six at the opening hole.

However, a par at the third and a birdie two at the fifth got him going and he parred the sixth and ninth to turn in 41 and well on course to challenge for honours.

His back nine was steady as he threw in back to back pars at the 13th and 14th but a double bogey five at the par three 17th threatened to wreck his round. However, he didn’t let it faze him and parred the last for an inward 43 and a final score of 84.

That was good enough for a two shot victory with Colm Garvey (22) taking second on 86, one shot ahead of fellow Dundalk clubman Declan Ward (20)
with Seamus Kelly (18) taking fourth on 88.

Our photo shows 2017 Minor Scratch Cup winner, Ben Caffrey (centre), with sponsor Martin Lambe (centre) of Martin Lambe Plant Hire and Vice Captain Gerry Byrne.

Sunday, July 2 – Minor Scratch Cup – 84 – Ben Caffrey (17, Ardee). 86 – Colm Garvey (22). 87 – Declan Ward (20). 88 – Seamus Kelly (18). Best Nett: James Reilly (26) 66. CSS: 73.