Junior Cup — For the second time in her storied sporting career, Stellah Sinnott holed the winning putt for Enniscorthy as they won the AIG Insurance Junior Cup.
A multiple All-Ireland camogie winner, the former Wexford manager sealed her fourth gold medal on the golf course as Enniscorthy completed an amazing comeback to beat Limerick.
“Nothing beats playing no matter what you’re doing,” said Sinnott, who clinched the decisive point in the 2007 Intermediate Cup Final. “Managing, all it will do is give you grey hairs. Being on the course out there or a playing pitch, that’s what it’s all about.”
Midway through the final, Sinnott was not feeling quite so enthusiastic. Limerick had got off to a flying start and were ahead in four of the five matches at the turn. Emma Guinane was three up in the top match, Maria Kelly was five up in the third as was Ann O’Mahony in the fourth.
Heather Fitzgerald narrowly missed a birdie putt on the 9th to go two clear against Sinnott but the Wexford ladies came alive on the back nine and Connie Doyle led from the front. Three down with three to play, she won 16, 17 and 18 to extend her match.
“Golf is a funny old game and you never say never,” said Enniscorthy manager Jennifer King. “I was probably beginning to feel a bit uncomfortable but I have such confidence and belief in the players. We never give up until the final hole and that’s exactly what happened. It’s the miracle at Knightsbrook as opposed to the miracle at Medinah.”
Although Limerick were looking a sure-bet for victory, King’s side put the first point on the board when Margaret Mooney won the second match 5&4.
“Margaret was the catalyst for the comeback,” said King. “I said that to the girls out on the course. I said the tide is turning, be patient, await your chances and just keep hitting as good a shot as you can hit. They showed amazing spirit and true courage and determination to never give up and keep going.”
Doyle delivering a telling victory in the top match against Emma Guinane, sinking a 25-footer on the first extra hole. Meanwhile Catriona Hogan had drawn level in match four and was getting ready to head down 19 when news came through of Sinnott’s winning point in the back match.
“It’s great to have something like that at this level. Once you have the competitive spirit in you, you’d love to have a sport that you could continue with,” said Sinnott. “We’re out there with the bit between our teeth and we’re as competitive as ever.”
As King put it: “ It’s the stuff of dreams.”
For the second time in five years, Enniscorthy were crowned junior cup champions though they’ll hardly experience a victory like this ever again.
Bearna claim first All Ireland
Junior Foursomes — Bearna claimed their first ever All-Ireland title in dramatic fashion as they captured the AIG Insurance Junior Foursomes crown at Knightsbrook.
The final hinged on the top match and with the teams all square standing on the 18th tee, Bearna put the pressure on when they cleared the water and finished just off the back of the green. Powerscourt faltered at the final hurdle, dumping two balls in the hazard before conceding the hole to Bridie McNamara and Tara Cunningham.
“It was a very tight match. They were down a couple of holes but they fought back and that’s what match play is all about,” said team captain Catherine Quinlan. “It was lovely for us to win it but I feel sorry for Powerscourt because it was their first time in an All-Ireland final as well as it was for us.”
Bearna had come through a closely fought semi-final against championship specialists Lee Valley and they had to endure another nerve-wracking encounter against Powerscourt. With the back match going the way of the Wicklow ladies and Bearna taking the middle match 4&2, it all came down to the first game out on the course. All square playing the last, McNamara and Cunningham secured the winning point after safely negotiating the most intimidating tee shot on the course.
“It was very exciting and we were delighted to get to this stage because we’ve never been to this stage before,” said Quinlan. “We’ve been through to district finals but we’ve never been to an All-Ireland final before. It’s the first and the first of anything is great. What’s rare is wonderful.”
Another title for East Cork
Challenge Cup — East Cork came good in the final to claim the AIG Insurance Challenge Cup after an impressive display against Mount Juliet.
Teenager Rachel Rea set the tone for the champions with a comprehensive 8&7 victory in the back match. Suzanne Hickey was almost as convincing during her 4&3 win against Niamh Strudwick and Rachel Sheehan took the top match 3&2 in what was a superb team performance.
“I can’t say enough to praise them, they were absolutely awesome,” said team captain Frances O’Brien, who was thrilled with her side’s success. “They were a very good opposition. Our girls really had to be at the top of their game to beat them today.”
Champions two years ago, this was a new team for East Cork and 17-year-old Rea had to take time out from her final year of secondary school to be in Knightsbrook this week.
“Rachel’s after taking time out from her Leaving Cert, her mother gave her permission,” O’Brien revealed. “I think for us it seemed as if it went right to the wire because you’re not in until you’re in. it was just magnificent. East Cork keeps producing players and it’s a very competitive club.”
O’Brien and her team headed home to Middleton in high spirits after another memorable success.
2015 AIG Ladies Cups and Shields Champions
- Senior Foursomes: Castle
- Junior Foursomes: Bearna
- Junior Cup: Enniscorthy
- Intermediate Cup: Lee Valley
- Minor Cup: The K Club
- Challenge Cup: East Cork
Senior Foursomes Final — Mallow ½ Castle 2½
Ber Clarson (6) & Carmel Kearney (8) lost to Sinead Heraty (7) & Sally Lenehan (7) 6&5
Mary Dowling (3) Marie O’Sullivan (11) halved with Ruth Keating (5) & Amy Jones (10) (called in)
Susan Curtin (5) & Catherine Roche (9) lost to Aedin Murphy (1) & Martha Jones (14) 5&
Junior Foursomes Final — Bearna 2 Powerscourt 1
- Tara Cunningham (16) & Bridie McNamara (19) beat Janet Casey (17) & Christine O'Neill (18) 1up
- Ailis McDermott (15) & Mary Farrell (21) beat Sarah Tierney (16) & Suzanne Sherry (20) 4&2
- Caroline Codyre (17) & Barbara O'Keefe (19) lost to Noeleen Whelan (17) & Theresa Howe (19) 2&1
Junior Cup Final — Limerick 1½ Enniscorthy 3½
- Emma Guinane (9) lost to Connie Doyle (8) on the 19th
- Mary Conlon (10) lost to Margaret Mooney (9) 6&5
- Maria Kelly (10) beat Eimear McGrath (10) 5&3
- Ann O'Mahony (11) halved with Caitriona Hogan (10) (called in)
- Heather Fitzgerald (13) lost to Stellah Sinnott (11) 2&1
Intermediate Cup Final — Malahide 1 Lee Valley 4
- Trish Ryan (16) halved with Vanessa Fitzgerald (14) (Called-In)
- Ann Ryan (17) lost to Laura Guest (16) 3&1
- Ann Evans (18) lost to Helen Hodson (16) 4&3
- Olive Shannon (18) lost to Catherine O'Sullivan (18) 5&4
- Orla McMahon (18) halved with Katherine Doran (18) (called-in)
Minor Cup Final — The K Club 4 Portumna 1
- Michelle Tighe (22) beat Veronica Curtin (21) 1hole
- Noirin Donovan (23) beat Brid Kelly (23) 19th
- Grainne Blake (23) beat Lily Graydon (24) 2&1
- Phyllis Kelly (24) halved with Mary McDonagh (25) (called-in)
- Edel Decies (28) halved with Bernie Kilmartin (25) (called-in)
Challenge Cup Final — Mount Juliet 1½ East Cork 3½
- Karan Murphy (28) lost to Rachel Sheehan (28) 3&2
- Pauline McEnery (30) halved with Pamela Codd (30) (called in)
- Alison Hoyne (31) beat Nora Roche (30) 7&5
- Niamh Strudwick (32) lost to Suzanne Hickey (31) 4&3
- Anne Murphy (32) lost to Rachel Rea (31) 8&7