Youth had its fling on the opening day of matchplay combat in the West of Ireland Championship. But while there were plaudits for the likes of teenagers Gareth Lappin, Paul McBride and former boy wonder Jack Hume, it was local hero Gary McDermott who made the biggest impression in Artic-like conditions at Rosses Point.
He might be the last County Sligo man standing but McDermott welcomes the pressure as he bids to become the first homegrown winner of “The West” Cecil Ewing won the last of his ten titles 63 years ago.
The 31-year old bank official positively reveled in the conditions yesterday, defying a 30 mph southeast wind and a windchill factor of minus two to cruise into the last 16 of the Championship that every Rosses Point man wants to win.
“I don’t feel the pressure at this stage, I’ve been around so long,” said McDermott, who lost in eventual champion Paul Cutler in the semi-finals two years ago. “There are expectations, yes, but I have high expectations of myself anyway.”
Following a 4 and 2 win over Laytown and Bettystown’s Cian Geraghty, former international McDermott was in sensational form against left-hander Mark Shanahan in a 4 and 3 second round win.
“I love this kind of weather,” he said. “The tougher the better. I played really well today to shake off Mark, dropped just one shot and was three under for the 15 holes played which were pretty good numbers in those conditions.”
Shanahan was impressed by what he saw and reckoned McDermott was “unlucky” to bogey the 14th, where he overshot the green and left himself a difficult recovery from an even tougher lie.
McDermott will face Knock’s Nicky Grant in today’s third round with the winner taking on Muskerry’s Niall Gorey or Irish Boys champion Lappin, who hit a two iron to six feet to set up a winning birdie at the 19th against Irish Amateur Open champion Gavin Moynihan before beating Royal Dublin’s Sean Ryan 5 and 4 in a scrappy encounter after lunch.
Belvoir Park boy Lappin, who was the only player to make the cut on 159, wasn’t the only 17-year old to make an impression as his Irish Boys team mate McBride of The Island saw off Ballymena international Dermot McElroy 2 and 1 before beating Co Sligo’s Sean Flanagan on the last to set up a third round match with the ever-improving Carton House 25-year old Shane McGlynn.
“It’s great,” said McBride, who also struggled to qualify on 160. “I didn’t really expect it, especially after scraping through the cut.”
The cut, which fell at 17-over par 159, was not made until Sunday morning, when the last two groups returned to the course to complete the second qualifying round after early morning frost prevented the completion of play on Saturday due to lack of daylight.
Despite the freezing conditions, the cream generally rose to the top with recently-crowned Spanish Amateur Open winner Reeve Whitson beating Stackstown left-hander Richard Bridges 3 and 2 in the afternoon to set up a last 16 match with English visitor Henry Featherstone.
“I’m wearing so many layers of clothes it is hard to get any feel so it’s just a case of aiming and let’s see where it goes,” said 21-year old Co Down man, who appears to be finding form as the days go on.
Bridges holed a 20 footer at the 18th to beat last year’s runner-up Stephen Healy of Claremorris by one hole but despite taking an early, two up lead against Whitson, he found himself trailing early on the back nine as the Newcastle player hit his stride and made few mistakes.
McDermott will take on East of Ireland runner-up Nick Grant of Knock in what should be a close encounter with the winner to meet Lappin or Muskerry’s Niall Gorey, who was beaten by Alan Dunbar in the semi-finals two years ago.
Kildare native Gorey had a narrow escape in the morning, coming back from four down to beat Edmondstown’s Barry Daly at the 20th. He squared the match at the 16th before losing the 17th to go the last one down but won the 18th and then the 20th with par to progress.
In the afternoon, he was four up after six as he beat Ardee’s Eugene Smith 5 and 4 and confessed: “I played very solidly, holed some putts at good times and kept hitting greens.
On the other side of the draw, defending champion Harry Diamond had big wins over Aaron Kearney and William Hanna to clinch as third round match with Newlands’ Andrew Hogan, while Forrest Little’s Eoin Arthurs had to eagle the 21st to beat Rowan Lester in the morning before beating Jonathan Yates, the vanquisher of top interntional Richard O’Donovan in round one, by 5 and 4
Arthurs will now face Faithlegg’s Robin Dawson, who had a surprising 4 and 2 win over South of Ireland champion Pat Murray in the second round. But there were few surprises in the bottom quarter.
Leading qualifier Rory McNamara from Headfort hasn’t had to go beyond the 15th. First he beat County Sligo’s Steffan O’Hara 5 and 4 before seeing off Fortwilliam’s Gavin McKenna 4 and 3.
He faces a tricky third round match with former champion Rory Leonard, who edged a tight tussle with Balbriggan’s Robbie Cannon by 2 and 1.
West Waterford international Gary Hurley was also in impressive form, crushing Nenagh’s Shane Hogan 7 and 6 and Lucan’s Stephen Dwyer 4 and 3.
He’ll be hard-pressed against Rathsallagh’s Jack Hume, however, after the winner of all four provincial Boys titles beat Rathmore’s Ben Best 3 and 2 and then snuck past Mullingar Scratch Trophy holder Brian Casey one up in another hotly contested second round showdown.
Third round - Monday, April 1
(8.00) Shane McGlynn (Carton House) v Paul McBride (Island)
(8.10) Henry Featherstone (Ringway, UK) v Reeve Whitson (Mourne)
(8.20) Gary McDermott (Co. Sligo) v Nicholas Grant (Knock)
(8.30) Niall Gorey (Muskerry) v Gareth Lappin (Belvoir Park)
(8.40) Harry Diamond (Belvoir Park) v Andrew Hogan (Newlands)
(8.50) Eoin Arthurs (Forrest Little) v Robin Dawson (Faithlegg)
(9.00) Rory McNamara (Headfort) v Rory Leonard (Banbridge)
(9.10) Gary Hurley (West Waterford) v Jack Hume (Rathsallagh).
Second round - Sunday, March 31
Shane McGlynn (Carton House) bt Simon Bryan (Delgany) 1 hole
Paul McBride (Island) bt Sean Flanagan (Co. Sligo) 1 hole
Henry Featherstone (Ringway, UK) bt Shaun Carter (Stackstown/NUIM) 6/5
Reeve Whitson (Mourne) bt Richard Bridges (Stackstown) 3/2
Gary McDermott (Co. Sligo) bt Mark Shanahan (Castlemartyr) 4/3
Nicholas Grant (Knock) bt Matt Wylie (Quinta de Ria, Por) 3/2
Niall Gorey (Muskerry) bt Eugene Smith (Ardee) 5/4
Gareth Lappin (Belvoir Park) bt Sean Ryan (Royal Dublin) 5/4
Harry Diamond (Belvoir Park) bt William Hanna (Kilkeel) 7/6
Andrew Hogan (Newlands) bt Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint/UU) 2/1
Eoin Arthurs (Forrest Little) bt Jonathan Yates (Naas/NUIM) 5/4
Robin Dawson (Faithlegg) bt Pat Murray (Limerick) 4/2.
Rory McNamara (Headfort) bt Gavin McKenna (Fortwilliam) 4/3
Rory Leonard (Banbridge) bt Robbie Cannon (Balbriggan) 2/1
Gary Hurley (West Waterford) bt Stephen Dwyer (Lucan) 4/3
Jack Hume (Rathsallagh) bt Brian Casey (Headfort) 1 up.
First round - Sunday, March 31
Shane McGlynn (Carton House) bt Robbie Busher (Salisbury, UK) 20th
Simon Bryan (Delgany) bt Tony Cleary (Dromoland) 3/2
Sean Flanagan (Co. Sligo) bt Matthew McAlpin (Royal Portrush) 1 hole
Paul McBride (Island) bt Dermot McElroy (Ballymena) 2/1
Henry Featherstone (Ringway, UK) bt Tiarnan McLarnon (Masserreene) 4/2
Shaun Carter (Stackstown/NUIM) bt Gary Collins (Rosslare) 4/3
Richard Bridges (Stackstown) bt Stephen Healy (Claremorris) 1 hole
Reeve Whitson (Mourne) bt Paul Coughlan (Moate) 1 hole
Mark Shanahan (Castlemartyr) bt John Greene (Portmarnock) 4/3
Gary McDermott (Co. Sligo) bt Cian Geraghty (L’town & B’town) 4/2
Matt Wylie (Quinta de Ria, Por) bt Kieran McCarthy (Kinsale) 2 holes
Nicholas Grant (Knock) bt Stephen Watts (Cairndhu) 3/2
Eugene Smith (Ardee) bt Ally Purdy (Ballyclare) 5/4
Niall Gorey (Muskerry) bt Barry Daly (Edmondstown) 20th
Sean Ryan (Royal Dublin) bt Ronan Mullarney (Galway) 2 holes
Gareth Lappin (Belvoir Park) bt Gavin Moynihan (Island) 19th
Harry Diamond (Belvoir Park) bt Aaron Kearney (Castlerock) 4/3
William Hanna (Kilkeel) bt Kevin Le Blanc (Island) 2/1
Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint/UU) bt Alex Gleeson (Castle/UCD) 6/4
Andrew Hogan (Newlands) bt Sean Moran (Carton House) 2/1
Jonathan Yates (Naas/NUIM) bt Richard O’Donovan (Lucan) 20th
Eoin Arthurs (Forrest Little) bt Rowan Lester (Hermitage) 21st
Pat Murray (Limerick) bt Colin Fairweather (Knock) 5/4
Robin Dawson (Faithlegg) bt Kieran Lynch (Skibbereen/NUIM) 5/4
Rory McNamara (Headfort) bt Steffan O’Hara (Co Sligo) 5/4
Gavin McKenna (Fortwilliam) bt Bryan McSweeney (Royal Dublin) 20th
Rory Leonard (Banbridge) bt Mark Morrisey (Mount Wolesley) 2/1
Robbie Cannon (Balbriggan) bt Kevin Stack (Dungarvan) 1 hole
Gary Hurley (West Waterford) bt Shane Hogan (Nenagh) 7/6
Stephen Dwyer (Lucan) bt James McCormick (Styal, UK) 5/4
Brian Casey (Headfort) bt Paul Flynn (Tramore) 7/6
Jack Hume (Rathsallagh) bt Ben Best (Rathmore) 3/2
36 holes strokeplay qualifying (Par 71)
SSS 73, CSS Rd 1 76 (R/O), CSS Rd 2 76
144 R McNamara (Headfort) 74 70 Leading qualifier
145 S Bryan (Delgany) 74 71
146 G Moynihan (The Island) 75 71
148 D McElroy (Ballymena) 80 68, B Casey (Headfort) 80 68, G McDermott (Co. Sligo) 74 74
149 A Gleeson (Castle) 76 73
150 R Leonard (Banbridge) 80 70, G Collins (Rosslare) 75 75
151 A Purdy (Ballyclare) 74 77
152 A Hogan (Newlands) 80 72, R Cannon (Balbriggan) 78 74, H Featherstone (Ringway(UK)) 76 76, N Grant (Knock) 76 76, N Gorey (Muskerry) 76 76, H Diamond (Belvoir Park) 74 78
153 R Busher (Salisbury & South Wilts, UK) 80 73, J Hume (Rathsallagh) 78 75, R Dawson (Faithlegg) 78 75
154 G Hurley (West Waterford) 79 75, J Greene (Carlow) 79 75, R O’Donovan (Lucan) 79 75, K McCarthy (Kinsale) 78 76, R Lester (Hermitage) 78 76, J McCormick (Styal, UK) 78 76, S Flanagan (Co. Sligo) 77 77, R Bridges (Stackstown) 77 77, G McKenna (Fortwilliam) 77 77, W Hanna (Kilkeel) 75 79
155 R Mullarney (Galway) 82 73, P Coughlan (Moate) 80 75, S Ryan (The Royal Dublin) 80 75, K Le Blanc (The Island) 80 75, B McSweeney (The Royal Dublin) 80 75, R Whitson (Mourne) 79 76, S Healy (Claremorris) 77 78, M McAlpin (Royal Portrush) 77 78,
156 S Dwyer (Lucan) 83 73, E Arthurs (Forrest Little) 82 74, S O’Hara (Co Sligo) 81 75, M Wylie (Quinta da Ria (Por)) 81 75, M Shanahan (Castlemartyr) 80 76, K Lynch (Skibbereen) 80 76, B Best (Rathmore) 80 76, S McGlynn (Carton House) 80 76, T McLarnon (Massereene) 79 77, K Stack (Dungarvan) 77 79, S Moran (Carton House) 77 79, E Smith (Ardee) 76 80
157 B Daly (Edmondstown) 82 75, C Campbell (Warrenpoint) 82 75, M Morrissey (Mount Wolseley) 81 76
158 S Carter (Stackstown) 84 74, T Cleary (Dromoland) 84 74, P Flynn (Tramore) 83 75, C Fairweather (Knock) 83 75, C Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown) 82 76, P Murray (Limerick) 80 78, S Watts (Cairndhu) 80 78, J Yates (Naas) 79 79, S Hogan (Nenagh) 79 79, P McBride (The Island) 78 80, A Kearney (Castlerock) 78 80
159 G Lappin (Belvoir Park) 81 78
159 A Wynne (Strandhill) 79 80
160 G Bohill (Co. Louth) 86 74, N Foley (The Island) 86 74, S Sloman (Taunton & Pickeridge(UK)) 85 75, B Anderson (Co. Sligo) 83 77, G McGrane (Royal Dublin) 80 80
161 R Gribben (Warrenpoint) 85 76, M O’Rourke (Royal Tara) 84 77, D Loftus (Castlebar) 83 78, A Morris (Belvoir Park) 82 79, G Lenehan (Portmarnock) 82 79, S Miskelly (Knock) 81 80, S Ward (Co. Louth) 81 80, C Sharvin (Ardglass) 80 81, M Killen (Hessle GC, UK) 79 82
162 I Lynch (Rosslare) 87 75, D Callister (Mount Murray (IoM)) 85 77, S McCarthy (Killeen Castle) 84 78, M Collins (Mahon) 84 78, L Hutchinson (Royal Dublin) 84 78, A Thomas (Dungarvan) 84 78, S Barry (Muskerry) 83 79, M Buggy (Castlecomer) 82 80, I Brennan (Greenore) 82 80, M Sinclair (Knock) 79 83
163 G O’Flaherty (Cork) 82 81, C O’Rourke (Naas) 81 82, D O’Neill (Carton House) 79 84
164 T Sloman (Taunton & Pickeridge(UK)) 86 78, I Kettyle (Rathmore) 82 82, R Kenny (Naas) 82 82
165 S Coulter (Warrenpoint) 86 79, E Cradock (Gort) 85 80, M King (Cregmore Park) 85 80, R Connolly (Rathsallagh) 84 81, S Brady (Co. Sligo) 83 82, S O’Connor (Luttrellstown Castle) 82 83
166 Q Carew (Edenderry) 86 80, S Cannon (Loughrea) 81 85, J Leacy (Dungarvan) 78 88
167 J Galbraith (Whitehead) 82 85
169 D Barry (Mahon) 92 77
170 H Coyne (Carton House) 91 79, T O’Connor (Athlone) 87 83
171 J McLaughlin (Portumna) 88 83, D Lally (Mullingar) 85 86
172 A Harty (Dungarvan) 90 82, S Underwood (Co Sligo) 89 83
177 J O’Neill (Lee Valley) 91 86
178 C Dullaghan (Greenore) 92 86, C McGoldrick (Enniscrone) 90 88
NR L McMillan (Carton House) 83 NR
RTD G Lawlor (Newbridge) 83 RTD
DQ E McCormack (Co. Cavan) 78 DQ
WTD C O’Sullivan (Fota Island) 79 WTD, D McCusker (Moyola Park) 86 WTD