Quality galore at Portrush as North reduced to sweet 16

Galway's Ronan Mullarney takes on Paul McBride in the third round of the North of Ireland on Thursday

The cream rose to the top on the first day of matchplay combat in the Cathedral Eye sponsored North of Ireland Championship with a host of challengers for international caps moving into the last 16.

Whole it's no huge surprise to see Robin Dawson last year's runner up, come through to face Warrenpoint's Stephen Coulter, it's a sign of the times that young Gary Collins from Rosslare will take on Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell at the top quarter of the draw.

With permission from Campbell, Ballymena's Dermot McElroy still looks like the man to beat in the top half but whoever emerges, he will face a strong opponent from the bottom half with a host of quality players facing off on Thursday.

Whitehead's John Ross Galbraith faces Colin Fairweather as Leinster's new star, Paul McBridge takes on the short game magic of Galway's Ronan Mullarney.

In the bottom quarter, leading qualifier Geoff Lenehan will be favourite against David Sutton with the winner of that one to take on Daniel Holland, who beat international Richard Bridges, or another young Leinster star in Hermitage's Rowan Lester.

As for the make up of the first round draw that saw the No 1, No 2 and No 6 qualifiers in the bottom quarter, the Ulster Branch reported:

"...the draw for the North of Ireland Championship contains eight seeds selected by the Championship Committee followed by the remaining players in qualifying score order - this will have effect that you have highlighted in some circumstances, as it has in 2015."

North of Ireland Amateur Open, Royal Portrush

Detailed brackets

 Round Three - Thursday

  1. Coulter v Dawson
  2. Collins v Campbell
  3. Rafferty v Mason
  4. Hanna v McElroy
  5. Galbraith v Fairweather
  6. McBride v Mullarney
  7. Lenehan v Sutton
  8. Holland v Lester

Round two 

  1. Coulter bt McClean 1 hole
  2. Dawson bt Clegg 2 holes
  3. Collins bt Lappin 2/1
  4. Campbell bt Breen 6/5
  5. Rafferty bt Egan 1 hole
  6. Mason bt Griffin 19th
  7. Hanna bt Moore 5/3
  8. McElroy bt McQuillan 3/2
  9. Galbraith bt Gribben 5/3
  10. Fairweather bt Yates 19th
  11. McBride bt Corke 2/1
  12. Mullarney bt Hopkins 2/1
  13. Lenehan bt Melvin 3/2
  14. Sutton bt Kennedy 2/1
  15. Holland bt Bridges 3/2
  16. Lester bt Coffey 1 hole
  17. Round one

  18. Stephen Coulter (Warrenpoint) bt Andrew Mulholland (Castlerock) 7/6
  19. Matthew McClean (Balmoral) bt Jack Owens (Bangor) 2/1
  20. Andrew Clegg (Donaghadee) bt  Noel Crawford (Mourne) 2/1 
  21. Robin Dawson (Faithlegg) bt Dale Jackson (Massereene) 4/3
  22. Gareth Lappin(Belvoir Park) bt Tom Harris (Castletown) 19th 
  23. Gary Collins (Rosslare) bt Colin Wilton (Banbridge) 2 holes
  24. Jonathan Breen (Kirkistown Castle) bt Shaun Carter (Royal Dublin) 6/5
  25. Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) bt Colin Woodroofe (Blainroe) 6/5
  26. Keith Egan (Carton House) bt Graeme Arthur (Carrickfergus) 1 hole
  27. Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) bt Connor Doran (Banbridge) 19th
  28. Finlay Mason (Moor Hall) bt William Russell (Clandeboye) 2 holes
  29. Eanna Griffin (Waterford) bt Stuart Bleakley (Shandon Park) 4/3
  30. William Hanna (Kilkeel) bt Barry Cashman (Belvoir Park) 3/1
  31. Ian Moore (Dunmurry) bt Shane Magee (Lurgan) 1 hole
  32. Alastair McQuillan (Cushendall) bt Mark Mullen (Rosslare) 4/.2
  33. Dermot McElroy (Ballymena) bt Rory Williamson (Holywood) 7/5
  34. John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) bt Lester Moore (City of Derry) 6/4
  35. Ryan Gribben (Warrenpoint) bt Owen Crooks (Bushfoot) 3/2
  36. Colin Fairweather (Knock) bt Andrew Morris (Belvoir Park) 4/2
  37. Jonathan Yates (Naas) bt Marc McKinstry (Cairndhu) 20th
  38. Paul McBride (The Island) bt Jack McDonnell (Forrest Little) 7/6
  39. Jonathan Corke (Castletown) bt Robbie Pierse (Grange) 3/1
  40. Jeff Hopkins (Royal Dublin) bt Greg Mungovan (Headfort) 1 hole
  41. Ronan Mullarney (Galway) bt Kyle McCarron (North West) 4/3
  42. Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock) bt Eugene Smith (Ardee) 5/4
  43. Craig Melvin (Corrstown) bt Simon McConnell (Ballyclare) 1 hole
  44. Fergal Kennedy (The Island) bt Adam Doran (Ardee) 19th
  45. David Sutton (Lurgan) bt Neill Simpson (Kirkistown Castle) 1 hole
  46. Richard Bridges (Stackstown) bt Richard Knightly (Royal Dublin) 2 holes
  47. Daniel Holland (Castle) bt Ross Dutton (Tandragee) 1 hole
  48. Rowan Lester (Hermitage) bt Ryan Long (Cairndhu) 1 hole
  49. Theo Coffey (Slieve Russell) bt Jamie Sutherland (Galgorm Castle) 2/1