Mallow’s Susan Curtin sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the treacherous 18th to shock Lurgan and clinch a showdown with Castle in today’s final of the AiG Insurance Ladies Senior Foursomes at Knightsbrook Hotel and Golf Resort.
The Munster champions beat the title favourites 2-1 in a thrilling semi-final that went to the death as Castle enjoyed a stress-free, 2.5-0.5 victory over Enniscorthy.
Set up by Catherine Roche’s sublime tee shot, Curtin’s putt gave Mallow a one-hole victory over Maeve Cummins and Christine Hagan on the closing par three.
Earlier, Lurgan’s Irish international Annabel Wilson had partnered Sheena McStay to a 2 and 1 victory over Ber Clarson and Carmel Kearney in the top match.
But Mallow hit back when Mary Dowling and Marie O’Sullivan clinched a vital one up win over plus one handicap international Niamh McSherry and 15 handicapper Orla O’Dowd.
The tie hinged on the final game and it was Mallow who emerged victorious when Curtin and Roche combined for that birdie on the last.
There was no such drama for Castle against Enniscorthy with Sinead Heraty and Sally-Anne Lenehan putting the first point on the board with a 5 and 3 victory over Jennifer King and Helen Cosgrave in the opening match.
Amy Jones and Ruth Keating followed up with a 5 and 3 win over Ashling O'Leary and Lori Whitney before Martha Jones and Aedin Murphy were called in as they led Ciara Sharkey and Lizzie Brown in the back match.
“We played steady golf early on, we felt we were in control,” said former international Murphy.
“Yesterday was really tight against Roscommon. Getting through that match helped us today. We just had to make sure we kept our intensity up so we spoke a bit about that beforehand.”
Murphy won the Senior Foursomes with her native Carlow in 2006 and is chasing another All-Ireland success with her adopted club tomorrow.
“This is only my second year in the club but my first year playing for them. I’ve been really enjoying it,” said Murphy, who is now based in Dublin and works at Grange Golf Club.
The finalists of the Intermediate Cup and the Minor Cup were also decided on another cool but dry day at the Co Meath resort.
In the Intermedia Cup, Malahide beat Loughrea 3.5 to 1.5 and will face Lee Valley in today’s final (1.30pm) after the Cork side’s Vanessa Fitzgerald, who is originally from Malaysia, won the top match on the 22nd hole after a titanic tussle with Paula McAtamney.
In the Minor Cup, The K Club overcame Mullingar in the first semi-final 3.5 to 1.5 to now face Portumna who had a convincing win over Ulster Champions Donaghadee.
Late in the day, East Cork beat Sligo in the Challenge Cup quarter-final as Powerscourt beat Castlecomer in the Junior Foursomes quarterfinal.
AIG insurance Ladies Cups and Shields National Finals, Knightsbrook Hotel and Golf Resort
Intermediate Cup, Semi Finals
Loughrea 2 Malahide 3
- S Mooney (17) lost to T Ryan (16) 1up;
- M O’Neill (17) lost to A Ryan (17) 3&2;
- R Norris (19) lost to Ann Evans (18) 2&1;
- A Kelly (19) bt Olive Shannon (18) 1up
- G Keely (19) bt O McMahon (18) 4/3.
Shandon Park 2 Lee Valley 3
- P McAtamney (15) lost to V Fitzgerald (14) on 22nd;
- M Rooney (16) bt H Hodson (16) 3&1;
- P Irvine (17) lost to L Guest (16) 3&1;
- D Sweeney (17) bt C O'Sullivan (18) 4&3
- G Harron (19) lost to K Doran (18) 1up.
Minor Cup, Semi Finals
The K Club 3 Mullingar 2
- M Tighe (22) bt P Davitt (22) 6&5;
- N Donovan (23) bt M Eighan (22) 2up;
- G Blake (23) lost to G Walsh (24) 8&7;
- P Kelly (24) halved with K McKeon (24);
- E Decies (28) bt C Whitelaw (24) 5&3.
Donaghadee 0.5 Portumna 4.5
- J Baker (23) lost to V Curtin (21) 6&5;
- M Molloy (23) lost to B Kelly (23) 5&3;
- V Hillen (23) lost to L Graydon (24) 3&1;
- J Heron (24) lost to M McDonagh (25) 3&2;
- F McGhee (25) halved with B Kilmartin (25).
Senior Foursomes, Semi Finals
Lurgan 1 Mallow 2
- A Wilson (Scr) & S McStay (14) bt B Clarson (6) & C Kearney (8) 2&1;
- N McSherry (+1) & O O’Dowd (15) lost to M Dowling (3) & M O’Sullivan (11) 1up;
- M Cummins (5) & C Hagan (9) lost to S Curtin (5) & C Roche (9) 2up.
Castle 2.5 Enniscorthy 0.5
- S Heraty (7) & S Lenehan (7) bt J King (5) & H Cosgrave (12) 6&4;
- R Keating (5) & A Jones (10) bt A O’Leary (1) & L Whitney (17) 5&3;
- A Murphy (1) & M Jones (14) halved with C Sharkey (5) & L Browne (13).
Junior Cup Quarter Final
Naas 1 Enniscorthy 4
- S Crowe (7) lost to C Doyle (8) 2&1;
- P Cronin (9) lost to M Mooney (9) 1up;
- P Murray (10) lost to E McGrath (10) 2up;
- L Rohan (12) bt C Hogan (10) 5&3;
- E Powell (13) lost to S Sinnott (11) 2&1.
Challenge Cup Quarter Final
East Cork 4 Co. Sligo 1
- R Sheehan (28) bt V Booker (27) 2&1;
- P Codd (30) bt J Demmel (27) 2&1;
- N Roche (30) halved with J Barr (29);
- S Hickey (31) bt R Mullan (29) 5&4;
- R Rea (31) halved with Catherine Frazer (29).
Junior Foursomes Quarter Final
Powerscourt 2.5 Castlecomer 0.5
- J Casey (17) & C O’Neill (18) bt I Madigan (17) & T Manning (18) 1up;
- S Tierney (16) & S Sherry (20) bt M Furlong (16) & A Ring (21) 1up;
- N Whelan (17) & T Howe (19) halved with M Norton (18) & N Mahon (19).
- Junior Foursomes Semi Finals, (08:00) Lee Valley v Bearna, (08:30) Powerscourt v Malone
- Junior Cup Semi Finals, (09:00) Limerick v Athenry, (09:45) Enniscorthy v Lurgan
- Challenge Cup Semi Finals (10:30) Mount Juliet v Rossmore, (11:15) East Cork v Elm Park.
- (12:15) Senior Foursomes Final, Castle v Mallow;
- (12:45) Minor Cup Final: The K Club v Portumna.
- (13:30) Intermediate Cup Final, Malahide v Lee Valley.