Headfort had to rely on a super sub to qualify for Sunday's match play rounds of the AIG Barton Shield — with just three sets of clubs between their four players at Rathcore.
Starting the day with a pre-tournament breakfast in the Arch Hotel in Trim, team manager Derry Hunt soon realised he had a dilemma on his hands. By the time breakfast was on the table, Headfort's 12-man panel only had three players.
The timing of this Saturday's qualifier produce a concoction of bad results for the otherwise strong Headfort team — low man, Rory McNamara, was in France for the French amateur, Holy Communions kept the family men out while a late injury meant that Derry Hunt, who had not played in nine months, had to do a lot more than he had bargained for when his alarm went off at 6am.
With no one else available (a few calls where made) Headfort got to the course 20 minutes before the tee time with three golf bags, three wetsuits, three players and one nervous manager.
With horrendous conditions in the early hours of the morning, the outlook was bleak. Headfort played alongside Balbriggan with Greg Mungovan and Derry Hunt joining Robbie Cannon and David Brabazon.
Understandably, disbelief was the overriding sensation. The Balbriggan men had to have the situation explained to them twice on the first tee — Headfort had two players but only 14 clubs between them.
A day of drama could not stall there. An opening tee shot was lost and the manger who hadn't swung a club in nine months was now driving a nervy provisional ball of the first tee.
In testing windy and damp conditions the scoring was not going well for the field of 12 teams. Headfort's unexpected fourball had turned in seven over for the front nine and came home in six over with a double bogey on the last for 85 (+13). Not what the doctor ordered.
However Headfort's second pair of Ronan O'Reilly [the author] and new recruit Stephen Barry dug deep, after turning in two over they came home in three under with a birdie-eagle finish for a one under 71.
The strong finish left Headfort on 156 and with the odds stacked against them five hours earlier, they finished second to stride into Sunday's match play round.
Who will turn up for Headfort tomorrow? With a full team expected they could be favourites.
AIG Barton Shield - Leinster Qualifying:
At Royal Dublin Golf Club on Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th May
Qualifying: 150 The Island; 156 Portmarnock; 158 The Royal Dublin; 160 Forrest Little; 161 Malahide; 163 Roganstown; 163 Hollywood Lakes; 164 Skerries; 165 Hollystown; 165 Clontarf; 165 Donabate; 165 St Anne's; 167 Westmanstown; 170 Balcarrick; 172 Beaverstown; 173 The Links Portmarnock; 173 Howth; 173 Rush; 176 Sutton; 176 Corrstown; 177 Corballis Links; 190 Swords;
Semi-finals: The Royal Dublin vs Roganstown @ 8:00; Portmarnock vs Hollywood Lakes @ 8:15; The Island vs Skerries @ 8:30; Forrest Little vs Malahide @ 8:45
At Stackstown Golf Club on Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th May
Qualifying: 148 Hermitage; 152 Stackstown; 152 Powerscourt; 154 Delgany; 154 Woodbrook; 154 Greystones; 157 Dun Laoghaire; 158 Old Conna; 159 Carton House; 159 Castle; 160 Milltown; 160 Elm Park; 160 Newlands; 160 Bray; 161 NUI Maynooth; 162 University College Dublin; 163 Lucan; 164 Grange; 167 Charlesland; 168 Foxrock; 1081 Druid's Heath; 1998 Glen of the Downs; 1998 Edmondstown;
Semi-finals: Powerscourt vs Greystones @ 7:30; Stackstown vs Dun Laoghaire @ 7:45; Hermitage vs Old Conna @ 8:00; Delgany vs Woodbrook @ 8:15
At Knightsbrook Golf Club on Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th May
Qualifying: 151 Co Meath; 155 Royal Tara; 156 Dundalk; 157 Co Louth; 158 Ardee; 158 Laytown & Bettystown; 163 Killeen Castle; 163 Greenore; 167 Knightsbrook; 172 Seapoint; 173 Ashbourne; 1998 Navan
Semi-finals: Co Meath vs Co Louth @ 7:30; Royal Tara vs Dundalk @ 7:45
At Rosslare Golf Club on Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th May
Qualifying: 147 Arklow; 152 Kilkenny; 152 Rosslare; 158 Carlow; 159 New Ross; 162 Wexford; 164 Waterford; 165 Courtown; 173 Borris; 1998 Woodenbridge
Semi-finals: Arklow vs Carlow @ 8:00; Kilkenny vs Rosslare @ 8:15
At Tulfarris Golf Club on Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th May Qualifying:
At Rathcore Golf Club on Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th May
Qualifying: 154 Mullingar; 156 Headfort; 158 Birr; 162 Moate; 164 Edenderry; 165 Tullamore; 166 Castle Barna; 169 Balbriggan; 170 Mount Temple; 173 Esker Hills; 175 Rathcore; 176 Highfield.
Semi-finals: Mullingar v Moate @ 8:30; Headfort v Birr @ 8:45