Ballykisteen and Enniscrone capture Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Skills Challenge

Ballykisteen and Enniscrone capture Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Skills Challenge
 Gavin Kelly (Bank of Ireland) and Justin O'Byrne (CGI) with Ballysisteen's Keelin O'Keeffe, Lauren Kelly, Caitlin Shipman and Chloe Ryan. Picture: Golffile

Gavin Kelly (Bank of Ireland) and Justin O'Byrne (CGI) with Ballysisteen's Keelin O'Keeffe, Lauren Kelly, Caitlin Shipman and Chloe Ryan. Picture: Golffile

Ballykisteen and Enniscrone were celebrating at the GUI National Golf Academy as they captured the top prizes in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Skills Challenge.

With a whopping team score of 340 points, Connacht champions Enniscrone won the boys’ event while Ballykisteen had to overcome Naas in a playoff to secure victory in the girls’ section.

“I’m so proud of them,” said Ballykisteen team manager, Marion O’Riordan, who is also the head professional at the Tipperary club. “I’m delighted for the girls. They have worked so hard for this.”

There was no such drama for the Enniscrone boys although there was just as much excitement.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Enniscrone team manager Anne Culkin. “We came just to enjoy it, that was the main thing. To benefit from winning again today is just fantastic.”

Both Enniscrone and Ballykisteen will travel to The K Club next month for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Pro-Am on 18 May, where they will enjoy a unique ‘meet and greet’ opportunity with a top player.

The Ballykisteen team of Kaelin O’Keefe (13), Chloe Ryan (13), Lauren Kelly (12) and Caitlin Shipman (10) found themselves embroiled in a playoff when they finished level with Naas.

The Munster champions held their nerve to secure a trip to The K Club.

A 14-year-old Tony Conlon led the way for Enniscrone with a flawless display of driving and together with Conor Ruddy (14), Cormac Feeney (12) and Ódhrán Cloonan (12) they will also enjoy a trip to this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Pro-Am.

Teams from all four provinces, representing seven different clubs, were in contention for the top prize at the GUI National Academy. With four players on a team, each player specialised in one of the four skills in the challenge: Driving, Iron Play, Chipping and Putting.

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Skills Challenge is organised by the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI) with support from Bank of Ireland.

The competition, for players under the age of 15, is designed to help young golfers focus on the key skills of the game and to encourage them to be the best that they can be.

Teams from clubs throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland took part in this year’s Skills Challenge.

 Gavin Kelly (Bank of Ireland) and Kate Whyte (CGI) with Enniscrone’s Tony Conlon, Connor Ruddy, Cormac Feeney and Odhran Cloonan at Carton House. Picture: Golffile

Gavin Kelly (Bank of Ireland) and Kate Whyte (CGI) with Enniscrone’s Tony Conlon, Connor Ruddy, Cormac Feeney and Odhran Cloonan at Carton House. Picture: Golffile

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Skills Challenge

National Final

Boys

  • Boys’ Winners: Enniscrone (Tony Conlon, Conor Ruddy, Cormac Feeey, Ódhrán Cloonan);

  • Regional Qualifiers: Leinster - Newlands (Cian Dunne, Sean Lacey, Alex Raymond, Brian Elliott);
  • Ulster - Bangor (Ewan Knox, Angus Christie, Rory Christie, Shea Dornan);
  • Munster - Ballybunion (James O’Callaghan, Edmond Healy, Aidan O’Carroll, Ronan O’Neill)

Girls

  • Girls Winners: Ballykisteen (Kaelin O’Keefe, Laruen Kelly, Caitlin Shipman, Chloe Ryan);
  • Regional Qualifiers: Connacht - Enniscrone (Corine Mulrooney, Vicky Conlon, Taragh O’Dowd, Caroline Dodd);
  • Leinster - Naas (Ciara Dunne, Eva Lynch, Ellen Lawler, Sarah Dunne);
  • Ulster - Holywood (Olivia McCrystal, Heidi McMillen, Katie Jones, Joy Simpson).