The 14th at Baltray, host venue for the East of Ireland Amateur Open.Red tape stopped Alan Dunbar teeing it up in the prestigious St Andrew Links Trophy but the 21-year old still sent the Walker Cup selectors a clear message by snatching the first round lead in the East of Ireland Amateur Championship at County Louth.

The 21-year old Walker Cup prospect, who was frustrated to miss out on a chance to impress at St Andrews this week because the GUI refuses to use the exemptions at its disposal when tournaments clash with their own championships, opened with a four-under par 68 at the fast-running Baltray links.

Last year’s Irish Amateur Open and North of Ireland champion finished the day one stroke clear of Headfort’s Brian Casey, Kilkenny’s Craig Martin and Baltray’s Gerard Kelly as they all shot 69s.

Nineteen players in the 156-strong field broke par, including Walker Cup hopefuls Dermot McElroy of Ballymena and Skerries’ Jeff Hopkins, who were in a six strong group that opened with two under 70s .

Baltray’s Shane Smyth, a son of former Ryder Cup and European Tour player Des Smyth, was just three shots off the lead after a 71.

Many to the leader contenders for the title started well with County Sligo’s Michael Durcan, an impressive performer in last month’s Irish Amateur Close at Shannon, in that six-strong group alongside Hopkins, McElroy, Knock’s Chris Selfridge, Ballybunion’s Edward Stack and Galway’s Eddie McCormack.

Limerick’s Pat Murray had a disappointing three over par 75

East of Ireland Championship, Co. Louth GC, Par 72

First round

68 A Dunbar (Rathmore)

69 B Casey (Headfort), C Martin (Kilkenny), G Kelly (Co. Louth)

70 M Durcan (Co. Sligo), C Selfridge (Knock), E McCormack (Galway), E Stack (Ballybunion), J Hopkins (Skerries), D McElroy (Ballymena)

71 D Holland (Castle), S Smyth (Co. Louth), S O Connor (Skerries), G Bohill (Co. Louth), B Fennelly (The Royal Dublin), K Shannon (Greenore), A Kiernan (Forrest Little), P Cullen (Royal Tara), R O Donovan (Lucan)

72 D Downie (Sutton), C Molloy (Ardee), W Hanna (Kilkeel), I O’Rourke (Cork), J Lyons (Birr), E Arthurs (Forrest Little), G Lenehan (Portmarnock), A Hogan (Newlands), D Murray (Skerries)

73 C Fairweather (Knock), R McNamara (Headfort), W Telford (Rathmore), N Gorey (Muskerry), G McGrane (The Royal Dublin), J Hiluta (N/A), D Coghlan (The Royal Dublin), R Bridges (Stackstown), C Doran (Banbridge), C Boggan (Co. Meath), J Hume (Rathsallagh), K Crowley (Lee Valley)

74 J Carvill (Warrenpoint), A Doran (Ardee), S Bryan (Delgany), J Hanby (Castle), H Diamond (Belvoir Park), C Campbell (Warrenpoint), R Leonard (Banbridge), A Condren (Greystones), P Small (Bangor), A Kelly (Charleville), L Lennox (Moyola Park), C Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown), A Kearney (Castlerock), J Fox (Portmarnock), P O’Leary (Lucan), J Monaghan (The Royal Dublin), R Whitson (Mourne), L Ashby (Killerig), R Kenny (Woodlands), C Sharvin (Ardglass), D Murphy (Portarlington)

75 J McGinn (Laytown & Bettystown), D Coyle (Co. Louth), R McCarthy (The Island), P O’Kane (Moyola Park), C Rafferty (Greenore), D Crowe (Dunmurry), S Carter (Stackstown), S Ward (Co. Louth), G McDermott (Co. Sligo), P Murray (Limerick), G Mungovan (Headfort)

76 J Pierse (Grange), D Lally (Mullingar), L Harnett (Milltown), K McDonagh (Athlone), S McGlynn (South County), C Robinson (Largs), B Anderson (Co. Sligo), B Walton (The Island), K Cummings (Elm Park), R Cannon (Laytown & Bettystown), S Morrison (City of Derry), S Ryan (The Royal Dublin), G Moynihan (The Island), P Sheehy (Newcastle West), I Brennan (Greenore), D Manifold (Rathsallagh), C Glynn (Carton House), N Grant (Knock)

77 M O Toole (Lucan), D King (Tramore), G McGee (Malone), M Buggy (Castlecomer), M Duffy (Naas), S Crowe (Dunmurry), E O’Sullivan (The Island), D Reilly (Westmanstown), C O’Rourke (Naas), J Dillon (Headfort), J Greene (Carlow), D Ruddy (Co. Tipperary), E Smith (Ardee), G O Flaherty (Cork), R Gribben (Warrenpoint), S Barry (Laytown & Bettystown), D O’Neill (Carton House)

78 A Dowling (Hermitage), A Lynch (Royal Tara), D Beattie (Castlerock), D Hallissey (Muskerry), G McAuley (Dunmurry), G Dunne (Seapoint), A McCloy (Ballymena), S Walsh (Baltinglass), M Mullen (Wexford), D O’Sullivan (Strandhill), A Duffy (Royal Tara), B McSweeney (Woodbrook), J Richardson (Royal Portrush), D Morgan (Mullingar)

79 B Ronan (Co. Louth), P Purdy (Shandon Park), R Mackie (Waterkloof SA), R Mccormack (Naas), L Doran (Ardee), S O’Connor (Carton House), J Keenan (Old Conna),, D O’Donovan (Muskerry), R Durnin (Laytown & Bettystown), C O’Malley (Westport)

80 K Purcell (Dun Laoghaire), D Loftus (Swinford), G Lawlor (Newbridge), C Crawford (Knock), B Corcoran (Roganstown), M Brett (Portmarnock)

81 T O’Connor (Athlone), N Beirth (Co. Louth), C McGrogan (Newbridge), D Sweeney (Westmanstown), M Hammond (Moyola Park)

82 D Barry (Mahon), D Foy (Laytown & Bettystown), K Mackenzie (Bruntsfield Links), J Hall (Whittlebury Park), R Weldon (Killeen Castle)

83 S McCarthy (Black Bush), R Walsh (Kilkenny)

84 C Moulds (Lisburn), G Smyth (Clonmel), G Boyd (Donaghadee)

85 D Carroll (Grange), D O’Connor (Athlone)

90 N O’Hare (Castleknock)