Clandeboye lifted the Barton Shield in style as Colm Murphy and William Russell put in star performances for the Ulster provincial champions in the AIG Cups and Shields Finals at Royal Tara, writes the GUI.
Up against County Sligo and five holes down early on, John Walker’s blend of youth and experience would prove to be the difference as veteran Murphy and 18-year old Russell rallied to bring the prize to the Bangor outfit as Ballybunion’s teenagers took the Junior Cup. [Click here for Golffile.ie gallery of Junior Cup images]
In the opening match Graeme Laird and Lee Crawford were never ahead against Sligo’s Sean Flanagan and Declan Reidy. Having gone two holes down early on, Laird and Crawford struggled to get anything going and were four down after 12. After a wayward approach to the last green, the Clandeboye pair gave Sligo an opportunity to win another hole, which Flanagan and Reidy did, to give Sligo a five hole advantage.
In the second match Irish international Gary McDermott and his playing partner Steffan O’Hara raced into a 2 hole lead early on against Murphy and Russell, but by the time they stood on the 13th tee, the Clandeboye pair had turned things around in dramatic style, establishing a four hole lead, having won six of the previous eight holes.
Two more wins were claimed by the Ulster duo in the latter stages of the back nine, and as they watched Laird and Crawford lose their final hole, Murphy and Russell knew they had to avoid a final hole meltdown to claim victory.
Instead, the meltdown came from the Sligo duo. A drive to the rough on the left from McDermott, was followed by a pushed second by O’Hara who ended up pin high, some 35 yards from the green, with a pin cut just a few paces on.
A tough third shot lay ahead of McDermott who was unlucky to catch the bunker guarding the green. When O’Hara blasted out of the bunker and McDermott missed the subsequent putt - the hole was conceded to give Murphy and Russell a seven hole win and Clandeboye were crowned Barton Shield Champions for 2013.
Russell, a former under 15 boys champion and Irish boys international was happy with their performance.
“I’m really happy. You don’t win one of these every day.” he beamed afterwards. “We played solid golf and pars win holes out there.”
How did his more experienced partner help him?
“Colm’s fine. He hits it straight, gets it down the middle. He’s always talking to me and keeps me calm.
“On the last hole I just said to myself to get into the routine and hit a good shot. It was a 4-iron. I just wanted to hit it up the green somewhere because I knew they were way left of the green.
“It was good to get it finished. The last couple of years we haven’t done very well. This year the top match seemed to bond and we seemed to feed off each other.”
John Walker, our captain said at the start, ‘eight matches, that’s all you have to win.’ It’s true. Last night we were talking and just said ‘we’ve seven matches down, why not make it eight?’”
This is Clandeboye’s first Barton Shield win since 2002 at Galway.
In the Junior Cup, Ballybunion lifted their first green pennant since 1979 as a team comprised entirely of teenagers beat Westport 4-1.
John Molyneaux Jr, Frank Geary Jr and Richard Hanley all won their matches, with Senan Carroll and Jason Lynch being called in while they were both in control of their respective matches.
The win was sealed in style for Ballybunion, who had played Royal Tara no fewer than six times in the run up to the Cups and Shields week, and with their anchorman Jason Lynch unbeaten all year in the competition, this was a win to savour for the Munster champions.
Ulster champions Rossmore bowed out of the Pierce Purcell Shield at the hands of Spanish Point who have set up a final encounter with Claremorris.
Rosapenna take on Carton House in Friday’s semi finals of the Senior Cup with Co Sligo taking on Cork in the other match while in the Jimmy Bruen Shield, Tandragee take on Athlone and Castlecomer meet Killorglin.
AIG Cups and Shields at Royal Tara Golf Club, Thursday 19 September
Junior Cup Final
Ballybunion 4, Westport 1
J Molyneaux Jr bt R Hehir 2 holes;
F Geary Jr bt J Healy 3/1;
S Carroll halved with R Mahon;
R Hanley bt T Bree 3/2;
J Lynch halved with S Larkin.
Barton Shield Final
Clandeboye bt Co Sligo 2 holes
G Laird & L Crawford lost to S Flanagan & D Reidy 5 holes;
C Murphy & W Russell bt G McDermott & S O’Hara 7 holes
Pierce Purcell Shield - Semi Finals
Spanish Point 4, Rossmore 1
E Talty & Mervin Hehir bt M McQuaid & D Connolly 4/3;
Michael Hehir & F Hehir bt J Heffernan & A Finnegan 2/1;
A Garrihy & A Sexton halved with P Trappe & B Casey;
M Talty & S Guilfoyle halved with A Trappe & D McMahon;
C O’Loughlin & K Hynes bt J McKenna & M Deery 2/1
Claremorris 3, Corrstown 2
D Lambe & D Rattigan bt T Monaghan & C Cronin 6/5;
D Costello & F Hughes bt J Beagan & D Lenagh 1 hole;
J Haverty & W Feely lost to P Casey & G Burns 2 holes;
M Monaghan & P Coyne bt M McIvor & J O’Dwyer 1 hole;
K McDonagh & R Higgins lost to J Dowling & G Beagan 6/5.
Friday 20 September
Senior Cup - Semi Finals
0830 Rosapenna v Carton House (Rosapenna names first)
M McDermott v S McGlynn;
E Kennedy v D Carey;
D Boyle v N McGlynn;
F Casey Jr v S O’Connor;
P Kennedy v C Cunningham
0920 Co Sligo v Cork (Co Sligo names first)
D Reidy v I O’Flynn;
G McDermott v M Ford;
S Flanagan v G O’Flaherty;
M Morrissey v E Murphy;
S O’Hara v J Hickey
Pierce Purcell Shield - Final
1030 Spanish Point v Claremorris (Spanish Point names first)
A Garrihy & A Sexton v D Costello & P Kenna;
E Talty & Mervin Hehir v D Lambe & D Rattigan;
Michael Hehir & F Hehir v K McDonagh & M O’Brien;
M Talty & S Guilfoyle v M Conway & J Haverty;
C O’Loughlin & K Hynes v M Monaghan & P Coyne.
Jimmy Bruen Shield - Semi Finals
1200 Castlecomer v Killorglin (Castlecomer names first)
V Smyth & K Hovenden v J Joy & D Bird;
J Doheny & P Comerford v K O’Sullivan & C Foley;
T Coogan & P Campion v R Kennedy & S Collins;
S Kennedy & A Dempsey v M Ashe & J McCarthy;
D Breen & D Fogarty v J Kennedy & D Carmody.
1250 Athlone v Tandragee (Athlone names first)
T Gilhooly & M Evans v S Burns & J Rowe;
C Rice & M Kelly v P Hedley & C Fearon;
T Corry & G Kelly v G Haire & M Bannerman;
C Quilty & M Ryan v W Jardine & W Small;
J Rice & D Rushe v E Nixon & J Quinn.