There is no other week like it in club golf the world over, writes the Golfing Union of Ireland.
This week in a small, wind swept corner of Ireland, 20 teams representing 17 different clubs gather for the staging of the National Finals of the biggest club team events in the world.
Sporting a brand new sponsor in Chartis, the Cups and Shields still have mass appeal for the club golfer, and a green pennant at the end of the week will mark success for these players, some of whom have literally travelled the length of the country to be at Castlerock.
Official practice got underway on Monday, and continues until late on Tuesday evening with the competitive action underway at 10.30am on Wednesday morning in the Barton Shield semi finals.
Munster qualifer’s Tramore face the challenge of Athenry who came out of Connacht, while Leinster champions Enniscorthy meet one of three Warrenpoint teams to qualify for this week.
Following the Barton Shield is the Junior Cup semi final encounters between Ballina and Mitchelstown which gets underway at 11.10am and is then followed by Lurgan v Co Meath in the second semi.
Thursday sees the Pierce Purcell Shield get underway at 8am with the Junior Cup and Barton Shield finals underway shortly after.
The penultimate day of action sees the Senior Cup and Jimmy Bruen Shield semis take place with the final of the Pierce Purcell Shield the highlight at 10.30am.
Saturday concludes the action with the last two finals, Senior Cup and Jimmy Bruen Shield, with play starting at 9am.
All Ireland Cups & Shields National Finals
Sponsored by Chartis, Castlerock Golf Club - 14th – 17th September, 2011
Wednesday 14th September, 2011
Barton Shield Semi-Finals
10:30am Tramore v Athenry
(Tramore names first):
Chris Butler & Declan King v Mark King & Michael Lane; Alan Thomas & David Kiely v Conor Waters & David Byrne
10:50am Enniscorthy v Warrenpoint
(Enniscorthy names fisrt):
Mark Murphy & Jason Rackard v Paul Reavey & Stephen Coulter; Graham Donohoe & James Buckley v Ryan Gribben & Colm Campbell Jnr
Junior Cup Semi-Finals
11.10am Ballina v Mitchelstown
(Ballina names first)
Jonathan Kelly v John Cahill; Liam Casey v Sean Lane; Jonathan Doherty v Adrian Gamble; Kenneth Lawrence v John Maguire; Noel Dee v Clem Leonard
12.00pm Lurgan v Co Meath
(Lurgan names first)
Laurance McGrady v David Fox; Philip Shaw v Sean Fitzgerald; Michael McSherry v Michael Gaynor; David Magee v Tony Lacey; Gareth Hanna v Ciaran Blaney
Barton Shield: Commemorating the former Golfing Union of Ireland president, the Hon Mr Justice Barton, the first club to win the Shield was Portmarnock in 1920. Clubs are represented by two foursomes pairings (playing off scratch).
Irish Junior Cup: Inaugurated in 1900, teams are comprised of five players of five handicap and over, playing matchplay (playing off scratch). John Ball Jnr is featured on the lid. A member of Royal Liverpool GC, Ball was British Amateur Champion in 1888, 1890, 1892, 1894, 1899, 1902, 1909 and 1912, runner-up in 1887 and 1895. He was also British Open Champion in 1890 and Irish Amateur Open Champion in 1893, 1894 and 1899.
Pierce Purcell Shield: Named after Prof Purcell, one of Ireland’s outstanding golf administrators from the 1920s to the 1960s, it was won by Massereene for the first time in 1970. Five foursomes pairings represent each club, comprised of minimum individual handicap of 12 and minimum combined of 27.
Irish Senior Cup: Instituted in 1900, the Senior Cup is the most coveted trophy in club golf. Teams consist of five players in singles matchplay (playing off scratch). The figure on the lid is that of Fred G Tait. A member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, Tait was British Amateur Champion in 1896 and 1898 and runner-up in 1893, 1894, 1895 and 1899.
Jimmy Bruen Shield: The Jimmy Bruen Shield is named in honour of a great Cork golfer who inspired Britain and Ireland to their first Walker Cup victory at St Andrews in 1938 when still an 18-year-old schoolboy at Presentation Brothers.
Jimmy Bruen captured the British Amateur Championship in 1946 and enjoyed many other notable successes before injury brought a premature end to the career of a man who is invariably remembered for his huge hitting off the tee and remarkable powers of recovery.
Barton Shield semi-finals
10.30: Tramore v Athenry
10.50: Enniscorthy v Warrenpoint
Junior Cup semi-finals
11.10: Ballina v Mitchelstown
12.00: Lurgan v Co Meath
Pierce Purcell Shield semi-finals
8.00: Corrstown v Letterkenny
8.50: Woodstock v Athenry
11.00 Junior Cup final
12.00 Barton Shield final
Senior Cup semi-finals
8.30: Warrenpoint v Co Sligo
9.20: Muskerry v Portmarnock
10.30 Pierce Purcell Shield final
Jimmy Bruen Shield semi-finals
12.00: Forrest Little v Warrenpoint
12.50: Claremorris v Faithlegg
9.00 Senior Cup final (9.0)
10.30 Jimmy Bruen Shield final
The GUI reserves the right to alter starting times.