Ward comeback sends Ladies Intermediate Cup team through

It has been a busy week for Ladies on the inter-club front with three teams in action.

The Junior Foursomes team were first up on Bank Holiday Monday when they played Elmgreen with one match at home and two away. Ann Hopper and Mary Carthy got off to a great start in Elmgreen and were up in the match from the beginning. Both ladies played great golf and won 4up with 5holes to play. In the top match at home, Jacinta Foran and Berni MacGuinness were 2up but were brought back to all square and it all came down to a putt on the final green as they were sadly defeated. Behind them Elizabeth Mc Guinness and Brid Rocks had a similar story with their match going to the 18th and also ending in defeat. It was so near and yet for far but well done to the players and all the panel and a special word of thanks to Pat Cleary and Criona O’Reilly for managing the team.

On Saturday, June 12, the Junior and Intermediate Cup teams played their first round matches against Roganstown and Balbriggan respectively. The Junior Cup had Lady Captain Pauline and Criona O’Reilly playing away while Elaine Ward, Ellen McEneaney and Elizabeth Mc Donnell played at home.

Both away matches ended in defeat with Criona’s match going to the 20th. At home Ellen and Elizabeth both won on the 14th while Elaine Ward produced a spectacular performance to come from four down to win her match on the 18th and put the team through to the next round. Congratulations to the team and thanks to the team managers Anne Doohan and Maeve Ahern.

The Intermediate Cup team were defeated by Balbriggan with Maureen Sheridan and Berni MacGuinness playing in Balbriggan and Ann Hopper, Niamh Maguire and Brid Rocks playing in Dundalk. A special word of thanks to Briege Renaghan and Bernie Prendergast for managing the team.

A special word of thanks to Professional Leslie Walker for his coaching sessions and the support he offers the Ladies teams.

Rogers prevails in tough conditions to win Professional’s Prize

Professional’s Prize 2020 Winner Eddie Rogers (left) receives
his prize from Club Professional Leslie Walker

Eddie Rogers produced a near flawless round in tough conditions to win Leslie Walker’s Professional Prize.

The popular four handicapper had only one blank on his way to carding a round of 39pts which included five three-point holes and three birdies.

It was enough to pip long-time leader Martin Cairns (17) who had set an early target of 38pts while Josh Mackin, who will shortly head to the USA on a golf scholarship, took the gross prize with an excellent score of 39pts which was enough to see him drop to an all-time low of plus two.

A total of 276 golfers teed it over the two days and the scoring reflected the test provided by a very long white course with slick greens.

They were the type of tough conditions that club stalwart Rogers has always embraced and after parring the first he birdied the second when, after a big drive, he left a sand wedge inches from the flag, which was tucked in behind the front right bunker, for a tap-in birdie and three points.

Pars at the third and the fifth and a two point bogey at the index one fourth added another six points to bring is total to 11pts after five holes.

He then hit a purple patch over the next three holes as he picked up nine points with a birdie on the sixth, a three point par on the index three seventh and another tap-in birdie on the  eighth when another fairway splitting drive was followed by a precision wedge to within inches of the flag.

Another two points from a par at the ninth gave him 22 points for his outward journey and in a position to strike for victory. Three more pars, included a three-pointer at the index two 11th, yielded another seven points to leave him on 29pts with six holes to go.

At that stage it was just a matter of getting home safely but disaster struck on the index 16 par three 13th. Rogers’ tee shot found a greenside bunker but he totally misread his par putt and left himself a slippery putt for bogey which he missed to record his first blank of the day.

However, he drew on his many years of experience and regained his composure quickly to rattle off four two point pars and a two point bogey on the index four 16th. That 10 point haul brought him to 39pts and that was enough to secure the 2020 Professional’s Prize.

Edmund Sheridan (14) shot 37pts to take the Veteran’s Prize on countback while Tom Dunne (10), Martin Byrne (13) and John McErlean (22) took the category prizes with Juvenile Captain Padraig Grennan (16) claiming the juvenile prize with a tremendous score of 42pts.

Despite the difficult conditions the competition managed to produce a hole-in-one when John Morrison recorded the first ace of his career as his tee shot with a six hybrid found the hole.

Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26 – Leslie Walker’s Professional’s Prize – Singles Stableford – Overall Winner: Eddie Rogers (4) 39pts, Second Place: Martin Cairns (17) 38/21pts. Gross Winner: Josh Mackin (+1) 39pts. Veteran’s Prize: Edmund Sheridan (14) 37/21/12/7pts. Cat 1 (<11): Tom Dunne (10) 38/20/14pts, Conor Murphy (7) 38/20pts, Vincent Conlon (9) 38pts. Cat 2 (12-17): Martin Byrne (13) 37/19pts, Patrick Dunne (16) 37pts, Michael Mc Dermott (16) 36/18/11pts. Cat 3 (18+):  John McErlean(22) 37/21pts, Seamus Kelly (18) 37/20pts, Hugh Reilly (22) 37pts. Juvenile Winner: Padraig Grennan (16) 42pts. Hole in One: John Morrison (13th). CSS: Saturday – 35pts, Sunday – 35pts.

Dundalk retains Leinster Barton Shield pennant

Our Senior Panel have retained the Leinster Barton Shield and booked their place in the All-Ireland semi-final in Westport at the end of September.

Last Saturday at Royal Tara Golf Club, Dundalk beat Woodbrook in the provincial semi-final in the morning before defeating The Island in the final to win a second successive senior pennant.

“Last year was the first time since the Club was founded in 1905 that we won a senior pennant so to have gone out this year and retained it is very special and a great achievement by the lads,” said John Conlon who jointly manages the team with Alan McCabe.

“But it is only a step towards our ultimate goal this year which is to win the All-Ireland title. We were very disappointed to lose in last year’s final and our whole focus this year has been on getting back to the national final and bringing a green pennant back to Dundalk.”

The Barton Shield is a competition for elite players with two two-man pairings playing, off scratch, in a foursomes matchplay format and the match being decided by the aggregate number of holes won.

Dundalk got a massive boost on the eve of the Leinster finals when Caolan Rafferty announced he was available to play after being knocked out in the second round of the South of Ireland Championship on Friday evening.

“We were planning without Caolan because he was the defending champion in the South of Ireland and we were all hoping that he would be in the mix over the weekend,” said Conlon. “It is testament to the type of person he is that immediately after losing on the 20th hole of his second round match, he got into his car and phoned to say he was on his way back and would be in Navan in the morning.”

Quite how Woodbrook felt when the plus six handicapper, who has been named on the 14 man panel from which the ten players to represent Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup will be picked, teed it up isn’t known, but after winning the first hole they must have felt they were going to benefit from a post-Lahinch hangover.

It proved to be a short-lived feeling because on the second hole Rafferty fired an approach shot to 15 feet and his partner Eoin Murphy sank the birdie putt to bring the match back to all-square.

At the next hole, the Dundalk pairing went one up after Woodbrook put their third shot in the bushes behind the green and stretched their lead to two holes on the par four sixth when Murphy drove around the dog-leg to within 10 yards of the front of the green and Rafferty chipped in for an eagle two.

Although they lost the seventh they turned for home three up after winning the eighth and ninth with birdies. They lost the tenth but restored their three shot advantage on the 12th.

It was clear at this stage that this match was going to decide who would advance to the final because up ahead Josh Mackin and Brendan Lawlor were heading for defeat after a frustrating morning on the greens.

After losing the first hole, they got back to all square by winning the third in par. However, they lost the fourth, sixth and seventh to fall three holes behind by the turn. The Dundalk pairing did rally on the back nine by winning the tenth and 13th to reduce the deficit to one hole but then lost the 14th to birdie and the 15th to par to find themselves three behind again with just three holes to go.

By this point it was a case of limit the damage and hope Rafferty and Murphy in the match behind could win by more than they lost. The youngsters dug deep to win the par five 18th where Mackin found the fairway, Lawlor drilled a two iron 260 yards to off the back of the green, Mackin chipped on to three feet and Lawlor sank the birdie putt.

As that putt dropped, Murphy was pitching in to 10 feet on the 17th and when Woodbrook missed their birdie putt from 30 feet, Rafferty lagged his putt to the edge of the hole and Dundalk’s place in the afternoon final was secured.

The other semi-final between The Island and Palmerstown House went to 19th Hole, giving the Dundalk players some extra time to recover before the final. The managers made one change for the afternoon with the experienced Aaron Grant coming in for debutant Brendan Lawlor as Josh Mackin’s partner in the top match.

“It was great to give Brendan his Barton Shield debut and let him get some very valuable playing time. His approach shot and putt on 18 were crucial to the win in the morning and being able to bring in a fresh and experienced Aaron Grant in the afternoon was a big boost,” said Conlon.

After halving the first three holes of their match against Jonathon Quinn and Rhys Clarke, Grant and Mackin got their noses in front by winning the fourth with a birdie. They extended their lead to two holes by winning the ninth with a birdie but then bogeyed the par three 13th to go back to one up.

Behind them, things didn’t start so well as Rafferty and Murphy lost the first two holes to birdies from Fergal Kennedy and Jack Blake, but they won the third and brought the match back to all square on the seventh when Murphy holed a testy left to right breaking putt following a sublime chip from Rafferty from the back of the green.

A superb tee shot from Rafferty on the par three 11th to six feet set up Murphy for a birdie that put the Dundalk pairing in front for the first time and they followed that up with birdies on the next two holes as Murphy drained putts from 20 and 15 feet respectively to go three up with five to play.

The next three holes were halved and as the two Dundalk pairings went down the 17th they were lying four up overall with four to play. It all ended when Aaron Grant cooly sank a six foot putt to win the 17th in his match and seal a five hole victory for the defending champions.

“The Club is extremely proud of our Senior Panel who have worked very hard over the last number of years to become Leinster champions,” said Dundalk Club Captain Pat Davis.

“It was a massive breakthough last year to win our first senior pennant and reach the All-Ireland Final and to retain it is a tremendous achievement. I would like to congratulate the managers, the players, the caddies and our club professional Leslie Walker for a job well done and we are all looking forward to going to Westport in September and having another shot at winning the national title.”

Sheridan wins Professional’s Prize

Donal Sheridan won Leslie Walker’s Professional’s Prize on Sunday when he shot a 71 nett to pip a number of players for this coveted title.

Aaron Grant (+1), Declan Curtin (10), Colin Roche (6), Liam O’Reilly (8) and Mark Coan (26) all shot 72 nett but had to settle for other prizes with Grant taking the Gross Prize, Curtin claiming Category 1 and Coan taking Category Three.

Sean O’Sullivan (18) took the Veteran’s Prize with a 73 nett while Malcolm Drake (15) won Category Two and Daniel Nordone (14) claimed the Juvenile Prize.

Curtin laid the foundation for his victory on the front nine which he covered in 39 gross with six pars and three bogeys giving him a nett 34 to the turn. Down the back he followed at birdie at 10 with four pars, two bogeys and two double bogeys at 12 and 15 to come home in 37 nett.

Sunday, June 23 – Leslie Walker’s Professional’s Prize – Overall: Donal Sheridan (9) 71. Gross: Aaron Grant (+1) 71. Veteran: Sean O Sullivan (18) 73. Category 1 (up to 11): Declan Curtin (10) 72/34/20.67, Colin Roche (6) 72/34, Liam O Reilly (8) 72. Category 2 (12-17): Malcolm Drake (15) 73/37.5, Derek Teather (15) 73, Ollie Reilly (16) 74. Category 3 (18+): Mark Coan (26) 72, John Laverty (19) 73/36.5, John McLaughlin (25) 73. Juvenile: Daniel Nordone (14) 72/34. CSS: 73.

Mackin wins Ulster Boys U18 Championship

Newly crowned Ulster Boys champion Josh Mackin with Captain Pat Davis and Lady Captain Criona O’Reilly.

Dundalk Golf Club’s Josh Mackin has followed in the footsteps of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell by capturing the Ulster Boys U18 Championship.

The 17-year-old produced three excellent rounds at Donegal Golf Club to win the 54 hole event by five shots and capture his second provincial title, having won the Leinster Boys U16 title in 2017.

Mackin opened with a five under par 68 to hold the joint lead with Joshua Hill of Galgorm Castle after Round One. He birdied four of the first six holes and had two more down the back nine with his only blemish being a bogey on the par three fifth.

“I was delighted with my opening round mainly because I executed my game plan so well and took advantage of the par 5s, playing them in four under,” said Mackin.

In Round Two he again got off to a good start with three birdies and a bogey in the first six holes getting him to seven under for the tournament but he then dropped four shots over the next three holes before recovering down the back nine which he covered in one under par to finish on 74.

“I gathered myself really well on the back nine and shot one under in tricky conditions,” he said.

That left Mackin second on four under going into the final round. He was one shot behind Hill but was quite happy to be the hunter.

“I actually liked being one back as I knew there was no pressure on me and that one shot is nothing in 18 holes and especially with the bad weather that was being forecast for the last day.”

Wet and windy weather coming in off the Atlantic Ocean greeted the players when they teed up for the final round on the Murvagh links and all the leaders struggled over the opening seven holes.

Mackin bogeyed four of the first seven holes to slip back to level par for the tournament and was still one shot behind the leader but he drew level after Hill bogeyed the par five eighth. After sharing birdies on the par four ninth, the pair split on the 10th where there was a three shot swing. Mackin birdied the par four while Hill double bogeyed it.

Mackin then birdied the par five 12th for the third round in succession as Hill fell away and the Dundalk player parred his way home to finish on three under, the only player in the field to finish under par. He ended up five shots ahead of Fionn Hickey of Muskerry with Seapoint’s Dylan Keating in third on four over.

“The front nine was very hard mainly because most holes had a crosswind and pins were tucked away, so pars were hard to come by. Even though I got off to bad start in the final round I didn’t panic because I knew no one would be racing ahead with the bad condition. I just stayed positive and didn’t panic.

“From the ninth hole on I played really well. I hit some great shots, especially on the back nine, but my mindset was that any birdie chances I got I had to take advantage of because of the bad conditions. Fortunately enough I managed to capitalize on these opportunities.”

Mackin, who is now off scratch, was understandably delighted to claim his second provincial Boys title but admitted that the one was particularly sweet.

“Obviously winning the Leinster U16 title in 2016 was huge for me as it was a monkey off my shoulder but this victory was very special for me mainly because seven or eight months ago everyone thought I was done with golf and I did too. But t I didn’t want to be remembered in this sort of manner so I decided to keep my head down and put the work in. I always knew that I had talent and it was just about putting it to use.” said Mackin who paid tribute his coach Leslie Walker and his parents who never lost faith in him.

“I want to thank my parents for all support they have given me and also my coach Leslie Walker. He did a lot of work with me over the last few months but kept things very simple and that certainly suited me. The club have also been very supportive, particularly in the way they make it possible for me and others to play in these tournaments.”

Last week’s win is going to lead to a change in Mackin’s plans for the rest of 2019 as he now plans to play more elite competitions, especially abroad. He will head to Florida in June to try and qualify for the US Junior Amateur and reckons it will be a great test to see where his game is at in relation to the world stage.

“My main objective for this season was to make Boys Home Internationals in Wales this year. Obviously winning a Boys event was also one of my goals but now that I have one in the bank already the main thing is to push on from here and not slack off which could be so easy to do. If I keep the head down, and keep improving, hopefully I will have more success in the near future.”

Kyle Rafferty was the other Dundalk player in the field and although he struck the ball well from tee to green he couldn’t buy a putt and finished joint 38th after rounds of 78, 76 and 81.

Newly crowned Ulster Boys champion Josh Mackin with Dundalk Golf Club’s juvenile mentors Paul Malone, Vincent Conlon and Jim Caraher.

 

Walker wins in Portmarnock

Leslie Walker

Club professional Leslie Walker carded a level par 71 to win the gross prize in the first TaylorMade Winter Series outing of 2019 at Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links.

He defied the northerly breeze as he recovered from early bogeys at the first and fourth with birdies the 10th and 14th to edge out Lucan’s Mick Downes and Newlands’ Cameron Raymond.

 

Big turnout for Adult and Juvenile competition

There was a big turnout yesterday for the annual Adult & Juvenile competition with 39 pairs playing Scotch Foursomes. The competition was very generously sponsored by our Club Professional Leslie Walker. At the presentation ceremony Club President Gerry Murray thanked Leslie for his sponsorship and also for his on-going commitment to juvenile coaching and the overall juvenile programme.

The results were:

Saturday, October 20 – Adult & Juvenile Scotch Foursomes sponsored by Leslie Walker.

Category 1 (Adult & 18 Hole Boy)

1st: Hugh Reilly (21) & James Reilly (17) 66.

2nd: Terry Conlon (6) & Lee Egan (28) 67.

Category 2 (Adult & 18 Hole Girl)

1st: Marie Strain (16) & Katie Rowland (36) 73.

2nd: Stephen Lynch (7) & Aoife Verling (36) 73.5.

Category 3 (Adult & 9 Hole Boy)

1st: Graham Purcell (19) & Jarlath Purcell (36) 76.5

2nd: Nicholas McShane (17) & Ódhran McShane (36) 77.8.

Category 4 (Adult & 9 Hole Girl)

1st: Adrian Kenny (17) & Keira Kenny (36) 75.5

2nd: Eddie Rogers (3) & Clara Egan (36) 83.5.

Category 5 (Adult & 5 Hole Boy)

1st: Sean Ward (19) & Tiernan Cunningham (40) 38.25.

2nd: Joe Garvey (18) & Oran Egan (40) 38.5.

Category 6 (Adult & 5 Hole Girl)

1st: Gerry McDermott (16) & Mia McDermott (40) 43.

2nd: Gerry Murray (10) & Holly Murray (40) 43.5.

 

Dundalk head for Mount Juliet seeking senior double

 

Aaron Grant

WHEN Dundalk won the AIG Barton Shield Leinster title at Mount Wolseley four weeks ago, a massive weight was lifted off the shoulders of Aaron Grant.

The 31-year-old had endured many years of heartache in the quest to be part of a successful senior team but the smile on his face when Dundalk sealed their win over Enniscorthy in the provincial final said it all.

“It’s been a long journey. I have been playing senior golf for the club since I was 15 so to finally be part of a Dundalk team that won a senior pennant was a great feeling. To go on and win an All-Ireland would be unbelievable.”

Having waited a long time to get his hands on one blue Leinster pennant, Grant now finds himself heading to Mount Juliet this weekend with his senior panel team-mates hoping to land a second when Dundalk and seven other clubs tee it up in Leinster Finals of the AIG Senior Cup.

The Senior Cup is the Holy Grail of inter-club golf club in Ireland and was first played for in 1900, five years before Dundalk Golf Club was founded. Having achieved the objective of landing a first ever senior club title last month, Grant and his team-mates are now keen to do the double.

“I believe you have got to take your chance when it comes along. We don’t know what is going to happen next year so this is a great opportunity for us and we will be doing our best to take it,” said Grant.

Dundalk qualified for the Leinster Finals after three impressive wins over Killeen Castle, Headfort and Co Louth in the regional qualifying round of the Senior Cup at Laytown & Bettystown last June.

The Dundalk squad spent the weekend in Mount Juliet preparing for the Leinster finals and according to Grant nothing is being left to chance.

“We have two great managers in Alan McCabe and John Conlon and they are brilliant. They don’t leave any stone unturned and their attention to detail is amazing. It’s great for us, as players, because it lets us concentrate on playing golf.”

One of the features of the Barton Shield Leinster Finals was the large crowd from Dundalk who made their way to Tullow and a big contingent is expected to travel to Mount Juliet on Saturday to support the team in their Leinster quarter-final against The Island.

“There is a great buzz around the club at the moment. Our success is down to a great juvenile programme that the likes of Paul Malone, Vincent Conlon, Jim Carragher and Liam Mernagh have looked after for years. Leslie Walker, our club professional, has also done a great job in bringing players through and his experience is invaluable.”

The match against The Island will tee off at 8am on Saturday morning and the format is five players playing singles matchplay off scratch. Dundalk managers Alan McCabe and John Conlon will select from an eight strong panel, every one of whom is showing good form at the moment.

“Since the Barton Shield win they have all been focused on securing one of the five places on the team to face The Island on Saturday and they have certainly given us plenty to think about. We’ll have a few tough calls to make but that’s the way we want it, everybody pushing hard for selection.” said Conlon.

If Dundalk get through, they will face the winners of the quarter-final between Dun Laoghaire and Tullamore at 2pm on Saturday. Old Conna, Portmarnock, Carton House and Enniscorthy are in the bottom half of the draw and the final is scheduled for Sunday morning at 10am.

Having battled alongside the likes of Peter Rogers, Declan Toal and Simon Waters for many years trying to make a breakthrough, Grant admits he is exciting by the potential of the current senior panel which includes the likes of newly crowned South of Ireland champion Caolan Rafferty, Boys internationals Eoin Murphy and Josh Mackin, Brendan Lawlor who is currently ranked second on the European Disabled Golfers Association Tour, as well as Conor Curran, Neal MacKell and Andrew Keenan.

“We now have the strength in depth to know that whatever five are picked to play they are capable of delivering five points,” observed Grant. “We’ve never been in that position before and the young players who are coming through are getting better and better all time.”

Little wonder that Grant is walking around with a spring in step and finally realising a dream that was first ignited many years ago when he watched his neighbour Justin McArdle hitting golf balls from the Sean O’Mahony’s pitch on the Point Road and trying to land them in the centre circle of Clancy Park.

“Justin was a big inspiration to me and I am lucky that I always got wonderful encouragement and support from my parents, my wife, Maria, and my children while others, like Terry Sloane, helped me in the early days to get to play in the boys and youths championships and events like the Mullingar Scratch Cup,” recalled Grant who famously beat a certain Rory McIllroy in 2004 at the Connacht Boys Championship in Portumna.

Grant has been a man on a mission ever since then and this weekend is merely the next chapter in what he hopes will be a year to remember for Dundalk Golf Club.

Dundalk Senior Panel: Conor Curran, Aaron Grant, Andrew Keenan, Brendan Lawlor, Neal MacKell, Josh Mackin, Eoin Murphy, Caolan Rafferty. Managers: Alan McCabe and John Conlon.

ENDS