Joy and tears for Thurles, heartbreak for Limerick

Quigley Triple winners........Thurles Golf Club Pierce Purcell team members (from left) Shane, Tommy (father) and Stephen Quigley celebrate on the bridge at the 16th hole after winning their match and the AIG Pierce Purcell Shield over Gort Golf Club at Carton House Golf Resort. Picture by Pat Cashman

Tommy Quigley hugged his sons and team mates Stephen and Shane as Thurles celebrated their first AIG Pierce Purcell Shield win for 18 years.

But while there was great joy among the Tipperary men as they beat Connacht champions Gort 3½ - 1½ at Carton House, there were also tears of sadness as they claimed the title wearing black ribbons in tribute to their late team mate Vinnie O’Brien, who passed away suddenly at the age of 52 just four weeks ago.

“He was the heart and soul of the team,” said Tommy, a member of the 1979 team that claimed the title in Dundalk, as he was consoled by his two boys.

Pierce Purcell team members Shane and Stephen Quigley with their children Cole (5), Pippa (7), Christopher (18 months) and their father Tommy Quigley after winning the AIG Pierce Purcell Shield  at Carton House. Picture by Pat Cashman

As it turned out, Stephen Quigley clinched the winning point alongside his brother Shane when he hit the green in regulation at the par-three 16th as both John Moylan and John Tierney found water for Gort and conceded the match and the trophy.

Stephen confessed that they had promised the late man’s widow that they would bring home a gold medal.

"That was for Vinnie today.” Stephen said. “He was the joker, the character of our team. His widow Joan asked us to win it for him, so we said we’d do our best. It’s great to be able to give her his gold medal.”

.Thurles Golf Club Pierce Purcell team member Shane Quigley celebrates with his children Cole (5) and Pippa (7) on the bridge at the 16th hole after winning his match and the AIG Pierce Purcell Shield  at Carton House Golf Resort. Picture by Pat Cashman

Team captain Frankie McGrath added: “We did it for his family as much as for ourselves. His wife Joan sent her good wishes and we want to acknowledge that and wish them all the best.”

There was more joy for Munster golf fans in the AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield as Ballybunion, bidding for their first win in the competition for 36 years, beat Fortwilliam 4-1.

The will face Castlebar, who beat Greystones 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in today’s final but there will be no Munster presence in the battle for blue riband, AIG Irish Senior Cup as Limerick fell 3 1/2 - 1 1/2 to Ulster champions Knock, who will face hot favourites Maynooth University in today’s final following their 4-1 win over Athlone.

Colin Fairweather (Knock) playing his second shot to the 17th hole during the semi final of the AIG Senior Cup at Carton Hous. Picture by Pat Cashman

Limerick’s Pat Murray had to sweat to beat Michael Sinclair by one hole in the top match having had a three putt for the match it on the 16th.

But it didn’t go Limerick’s way in the middle order as    James Patterson beat Michael O’Kelly 3 and 2 and international Colin Fairweather then rode his luck to see of Sean Poucher by one hole in the decisive match with Justin Kehoe and Simon Miskelly called in.

Fairweather sank a six footer for half in par threes at the 16th to remain one up and then escaped disaster off pulled tee shots at the 17th and 18th to clinch a one-hole win over Sean Poucher.

Colin Fairweather (Knock) reacts to his missed putt at the 18th green during the semi final of the AIG Senior Cup at Carton House. Picture by Pat Cashman

In the ditch at the 17th, he was fortunate to have a stance near a stone wall was missing some top blocks, allowing him to make a back swing and get back into play and make a comfortable par for a half in fives as Poucher missed a 10 footer for a birdie after a fine third.

At the tough par-four 18th, the recent South of Ireland runner up and Home Internationals winner Fairweather tugged his drive again but got lucky as it came up a few yards short of the heavy rough and out of bounds line.

With Poucher hitting a great fairway wood to 15 feet, Fairweather was under pressure but he found the back of the green in regulation and two putted for par and victory after Poucher’s birdie effort burned the edge on the low side.

Justin Kehoe (Limerick) driving at the 4th tee during the sem final of the AIG Senior Cup. Picture by Pat Cashman 

“The margins are very fine at this level,” Limerick veteran Murray said. “We knew coming up it was a tough match but it’s still disappointing. 

“It’s my fifth losers medal in Senior Cup or Barton Shield - three Senior Cup and two Barton Shields and all are bronze, none silver. 

“All I am missing is an All Ireland gold medal in team golf. I won’t have many more chances but hopefully there will be one more opportunity because we have some good young players coming through in Limerick.

Colm Hughes (Galway) holes his putt on the 13th green during the AIG Barton Shield semi final  at Carton House. Picture by Pat Cashman

“It could have gone either way today if we got the breaks Colin got on 17 when he could have been up against the wall. Or on 18, where he could have been out of bounds.”

Even without internationals Robin Dawson and Stuart Grehan or Leinster interprovincial Alan Lowry, who are on duty in the European Universities Championship in Switzerland, Maynooth University still eased to a 4-1 win over Athlone.

And while there have been mutterings of discontent in golfing circles that a college team fuelled by an endless supply of Paddy Harrington Scholarship players is dominating interclub competitions, not everyone was complaining.

Jack Walsh (Maynooth) jumping to see the pin at the 9th green during the sem final of the AIG Senior Cup at Carton House. Picture by Pat Cashman

“To win an All Ireland you want to play the best and beat the best,” said Athlone’s Niall Carroll, who lost 2 and 1 to former Irish Youths champion Kyle McCarron.

Maynooth University captain Donal Scott said simply: “We’re blessed with a lot of talent. While we lost three of the guys that played in Leinster final, it is nice for the three guys who came in to be able to step up to the plate this weekend and give it a rattle.”

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AIG Cups and Shield 2015

AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield, Semi Finals

Castlebar 3.5 Greystones 1.5

  1. Tom Moylett & Ian Brennan bt Con Thomas & Jack Joyce 3/1;
  2. Paddy Burke & Dave Walsh bt Paul Keane & Ben Hynes 5/3;
  3. Kieran Horkan & Johan Collins lost to Keith Lewis & Pete Murray 7/5;
  4. John McHugh & Gary Corbett bt Gavin McGirr & Ray McDonnell 5/4;
  5. Michael Kilcourse & Shane Rice halved with Eugene Strong & Cian Gilmore.

Ballybunion 4 Fortwilliam 1

  1. Des O'Donnell & Iarla O'Mahony bt John Michael McAuley & Alan Hawthorne 1 hole;
  2. Ronan Cross & Finbarr Carrig bt Declan Hughes & Martin McKeown 3/2;
  3. Mark Dilger & Kevin Frost halved with Eamonn O'Kane & William Rooney;
  4. Brian Slattery & Adrian Walsh bt Patrick McDiarmuid & Marshall Sharpe 7/6;
  5. Dale O'Sullivan & Brendan Daly halved with Aidan Hawkins & Patrick McGurnaghan.

AIG Senior Cup, Semi Finals

Maynooth University 4 Athlone 1

  1. Ronan Mullarney bt Colm Fitzgerald 4/3;
  2. Kyle McCarron bt Niall Carroll 2/1;
  3. Declan Loftus halved with Daniel O'Connor;
  4. Stephen Kinch halved with Thomas O'Connor;
  5. Jack Walsh bt Kevin Sheehy 3/2

Knock 3.5 Limerick 1.5

  1. Michael Sinclair lost to Pat Murray 1 hole;
  2. Colin Fairweather bt Sean Poucher 1 hole;
  3. James Patterson bt Michael O'Kelly 3/2;
  4. Mark McMurray bt Darragh Fitzgerald 2/1;
  5. Simon Miskelly halved with Justin Kehoe.

AIG Pierce Purcell Shield Final

Thurles 3.5 Gort 1.5

  1. Pat Coote & John Dwan lost to Gerard Connors & David O'Dell 4/2;
  2. Gerard Ryan & Martin Fahy halved with Pat Curtis & Michael O'Dell;
  3. John McGrath & Tommy Quigley bt Tom Finneran & Frank Gillane 5/4;
  4. Ciaran Clohessy & Jack Looby bt David Daly & Michael Ryan 3/2;
  5. Shane Quigley & Stephen Quigley bt John Moylan & John Tierney 4/2


AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield Final

0900 Castlebar v Ballybunion

  1. Tom Moylett & Ian Brennan v James Lavery & Paul Enright;
  2. John McHugh & Gary Corbett v Ronan Cross & Finbarr Carrig;
  3. Paddy Burke & Dave Walsh v Mark Dilger & Iarla O'Mahony;
  4. Ryan O'Malley & Mark Jennings v Padraig Quill & John Eggleston;
  5. Michael Kilcourse & Shane Rice v Adrian Walsh & Brian Slattery

AIG Senior Cup  Final

1030 Maynooth University v Knock

  1. Ronan Mullarney v Michael Sinclair;
  2. Kyle McCarron v Colin Fairweather;
  3. Stephen Kinch v James Patterson;
  4. Jake Whelan v Mark McMurray;
  5. Jack Walsh v Simon Miskelly