There were mixed fortunes for Ulster clubs at the AIG Cups and Shields as Clandeboye marched into the final of the Barton Shield at the expense of Cork while Slieve Russell lost to Westport in the semi-final of the Junior Cup at Royal Tara, writes the GUI.
Clandeboye’s success was spearheaded by former boys international William Russell, who teamed up with Colm Murphy to beat Cork’s Gary O’Flaherty and John Hickey by a comfortable seven-hole margin.
Click here for Golffile.ie’s team pictures gallery
That does not tell the tale fully, as halfway through the match, there was nothing in it on aggregate as Graeme Laird and Lee Crawford were two holes down to Mark Ford and Ian O’Flynn of Cork.
Team captain John Walker wasn’t convinced of victory early on in the tie, despite being four up early on.
“We were four up early on but the match was square at the turn,” Walker said. “The momentum was with Cork but they just caved in.
“Our guys played very solid golf. William and Murphy didn’t drop any shots, just birdies and pars. They were three under for the last seven or eight holes, which is very good in foursomes golf.”
“Graham (Laird) and Lee (Crawford) played steady golf. Some of the Cork guys didn’t play quite so well, started to miss greens and not get up and down. Itwent from an even match to three up, four up, five up – just out of the blue.”
Russell and Murphy’s dominance on the back nine made the difference and captain Walker is delighted with the team’s development this year.
“The side has grown. They were completely new and untested this year. There is no history of winning things except for Colm. William’s been in the Ireland Boys team for several years although he’s not on it this year. They have just got better and better and better.
They have won very convincingly when the pressure is on. The partnerships seem to be melding and come together.”
Clandeboye’s opponents in Thursday’s final are County Sligo Golf Club, who having seen off a stubborn Rosslare by a three-hole margin, are still on course for a double, as they as seek to win both the Barton Shield and Senior Cup this week – a feat only achieved once this century so far by Shandon Park in 2000.
Slieve Russell’s short journey home from Tara came about after Westport proved too strong for the Ulster champions, beating the Ballyconnell men by 3.5 matches to 1.5. Brendan McGowan put a point on the board early on for Slieve Russell, beating Shane Larkin by two holes. There were subsequent defeats however for Darren Donohue, Barry Cunningham and Bryan Cribben as Steven Monteith’s match was called in.
Westport face Ballybunion in the final, after the Kerrymen beat Leinster’s Laytown and Bettystown by a similar scoreline.
The semi-finals of the Pierce Purcell Shield take place on Thursday with Ulster’s Rossmore taking on Cork’s Spanish Point and Corrstown from Dublin up against Claremorris in the other semi-final.
One match yesterday demonstrated how match play golf is all about playing the man, and not the course, as a player in the Junior Cup won his opening hole with a nine to his opponent’s ten.
AIG Cups and Shields at Royal Tara Golf Club
Wednesday 18 September
Barton Shield - Semi-Finals
Clandeboye bt Cork 7 holes (Clandeboye names first)
G Laird & L Crawford halved with M Ford & I O’Flynn;
C Murphy & W Russell bt G O’Flaherty & J Hickey 7 holes.
Co Sligo bt Rosslare 3 holes (Sligo names first)
S Flanagan & D Reidy bt G Collins & I Lynch 3 holes;
G McDermott & S O’Hara halved with M Mullen & T O’Leary
Junior Cup - Semi-Finals
Westport 3.5, Slieve Russell 1.5
S Larkin lost to B McGowan 2 holes;
J Healy bt D Donohue 3/1;
T Bree bt B Cunningham 4/3;
R Hehir bt B Cribben 2/1;
R Mahon halved with S Monteith.
Ballybunion 3.5, Laytown & Bettystown 1.5
J Molyneaux Jr bt R O’Gorman 20th;
F Geary Jr bt M Gogarty 4/2;
S Carroll lost to E Collins 5/3;
R Hanley bt C Taylor 2 holes;
J Lynch halved with S Ward.
Thursday 19 September
Junior Cup Final
10.20 Westport v Ballybunion (Westport names first)
R Hehir v J Molyneaux Jr;
J Healy v F Geary Jr;
R Mahon v S Carroll;
T Bree v R Hanley;
S Larkin v J Lynch
Barton Shield Final
11.10 Clandeboye v Co Sligo (Clandeboye names first)
G Laird & L Crawford v S Flanagan & D Reidy;
C Murphy & W Russell v G McDermott & S O’Hara
Pierce Purcell Shield - Semi Finals
11.40 Rossmore v Spanish Point (Rossmore names first)
M McQuaid & D Connolly v E Talty & M Hehir;
J Heffernan & A Finnegan v M Hehir & F Hehir;
P Trappe & B Casey v A Garrihy & A Sexton;
A Trappe & D McMahon v M Talty & S Guilfoyle;
J McKenna & M Deery v C McLoughlin & K Hynes.
12.30 Corrstown v Claremorris (Corrstown names first)
T Monaghan & C Croninv D Lambe & D Rattigan;
J Beagan & D Lenagh v D Costello & F Hughes;
P Casey & G Burns v J Haverty & W Feely;
M McIvor & J O’Dwyer v M Monaghan& P Coyne;
J Dowling & G Beagan v K McDonagh & R Higgins.