O'Hanlon wants East double; dreams of Eisenhower
 Paul O'Hanlon (Carton House) playing from the rough during the final round of the 2016 City North Hotel sponsored East of Ireland Championship at County Louth Golf Club. Picture by  Pat Cashman

Paul O'Hanlon (Carton House) playing from the rough during the final round of the 2016 City North Hotel sponsored East of Ireland Championship at County Louth Golf Club. Picture by Pat Cashman

Carton House's Paul O'Hanlon wants to continue the trend of PAYE champions when he begins his defence of the East of Ireland Amateur Open at County Louth today.

The 32-year old accountant (and former tour professional) was a wire-to-wire winner on his return to the amateur fold at Baltray 12 months ago.

Now he wants to win again, and he admits that his lofty goal is to compete for a place in the three-man Irish team for the World Amateur Team Championships at his adopted club next year.

"I'd like to at least ask the question," O'Hanlon said. "With the Eisenhower Trophy at Carton House, it's a goal I have in my head."

For now, O'Hanlon is simply aiming to become the first player to successfully defend the "East" since Raymond Burns in 1993.

"That's the plan," he said. "This year, I haven't gotten to play as much golf, so expectations are slightly lower. But if the juices get flowing again, you never know. The key is getting off to a good start and building momentum."

The action begins today as the 72-hole strokeplay classic becomes a four-day event for the first time, starting a day earlier than usual with the field reduced from 156 to 132.

There will be a 54-hole rather than a 36-hole cut with the top 42 and ties after Sunday’s third round qualifying for the Bank Holiday Monday climax.

The change in format was made in a failed attempt to attract more overseas players. But with 13 of the 18-strong international panel unavailable, the championship has been left without a clear-cut favourite.

 Paul O'Hanlon (Carton House) celebrates with his caddy Richie Whelan on the 18th green after his victory in the City North Hotel sponsored East of Ireland Championship at County Louth Golf Club on 06 June 2016. Picture by  Pat Cashman

Paul O'Hanlon (Carton House) celebrates with his caddy Richie Whelan on the 18th green after his victory in the City North Hotel sponsored East of Ireland Championship at County Louth Golf Club on 06 June 2016. Picture by Pat Cashman

With accountant Barry Anderson winning the West of Ireland at Easter before strength and conditioning coach (and former pro) Peter O’Keeffe (31) claimed last month’s Flogas Irish Amateur Open at Royal County Down, there’s a high probability that a man with a nine to five job will triumph on Monday.

O’Keeffe, who was added to the Irish squad earlier this week, won’t get a chance to make it back-to-back wins as a neck injury forced him to pull out yesterday. 

But Anderson (26) can become the first to win the West and East in the same year since Bangor great Garth McGimpsey in 1988.

Five members of the Irish squad are in the draw with led by the Island's Kevin LeBlanc, the impressive 16-year old Kilkenny starlet Mark Power, Massereene's Tiarnan McLarnon, Castle's Daniel Holland and Co Sligo's Sean Flanagan, the reigning North of Ireland champion.

But Anderson and O’Hanlon leading the way, there is a whole posse of experienced working amateurs gunning to add their names alongside those of Darren Clarke and Paul Dunne on the famous old trophy before heading back to the day job on Tuesday.

East of Ireland Amateur Open Championship, County Louth GC

Tee-times - Friday/Saturday

1st tee/10th tee

  • 07:30/12:30 Gareth Andrew Carr (Mullingar) Charlie Denvir (Elm Park) Anthony McDaid (Palmerstown Stud)
  • 07:41/12:41 John McGinn (Laytown & Bettystown) Declan O'Neill (Carton House) Jack Walsh (Castle)
  • 07:52/12:52 Rory Williamson (Holywood) Peter Kerr (Royal Portrush) Paul Carey (Nenagh)
  • 08:03/13:03 Dylan Brophy (Castleknock) Darragh Crawford (Bundoran) Mark O'Rourke (Royal Tara)
  • 08:14/13:14 Sean Desmond (Monkstown) Stephen Kinch (Hollystown) Mark Morrissey (Co. Sligo)
  • 08:25/13:25 Robbie Hynes (The Royal Dublin) David Brady (Co Sligo) Aaron Grant (Dundalk)
  • 08:36/13:36 William Russell (Clandeboye) Greg Mungovan (Headfort) Colin Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire)
  • 08:47/13:47 Paul Murphy (Rosslare) Marc Nolan (Delgany) Conor Ryan (Dun Laoghaire)
  • 08:58/13:58 Robert Brazill (Naas) Gavin Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick) Ted Collins (Dun Laoghaire)
  • 09:09/14:09 Thomas O'Connor (Athlone) Jack Pierse (Portmarnock) Mark Power (Kilkenny)
  • 09:20/14:20 Kevin LeBlanc (island) Gary Collins (Rosslare) Robert Cannon (Balbriggan)
  • 12:30/07:30 Matthew Fitzsimons (Ardglass) James McVicker (Knock) Eoin Murphy (Dundalk)
  • 12:41/07:41 Adam Doran (Ardee) Gareth Bohill (Co. Louth) S B Garrett (Portstewart)
  • 12:52/07:52 Jamie Knipe (Royal Portrush) Cathal Nolan (Galway) Shane McDermott (Co. Cavan)
  • 13:03/08:03 Stefan Greenberg (Tandragee) Andrew Hickey (Ballyhaunis) Keith Murphy (Charlesland)
  • 13:14/08:14 Richard Knightly (The Royal Dublin) Shane McGlynn (Portmarnock) Christopher O’Connor (Corrstown)
  • 13:25/08:25 Robert Neville (The Links Portmarnock) Cameron Raymond (Newlands) John Greene (Portmarnock)
  • 13:36/08:36 Thomas Hackett (The Royal Dublin) Eoin Leonard (England) Desmond Morgan (Carton House)
  • 13:47/08:47 Alan Dowling (Hermitage) Ross Dutton (Tandragee) Mathew Kane (Larne)
  • 13:58/08:58 John Brady (Rosslare) Seamus Cullen (Clandeboye) Stephen Healy (The Royal Dublin)
  • 14:09/09:09 Eanna Griffin (Waterford) Paul O'Hanlon (Carton House) Ben Murray (Waterford Castle)
  • 14:20/09:20 Ryan McKinstry (Cairndhu) Gary McDermott (Carton House) Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene)

10th tee/1st tee

  • 07:30/12:30 Paul O'Sullivan (Old Conna) Marc Boucher (Carton House) Daniel Coyle (Portmarnock)
  • 07:41/12:41 Cian Dullaghan (Greenore) Ross Kelly (Tuam) Marcus Looby (Greystones)
  • 07:52/12:52 Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint) Nicholas Grant (Shandon Park) Liam Grehan (Mullingar)
  • 08:03/13:03 Declan Reidy (Co. Sligo) Darragh Coghlan (Portmarnock) Daniel Brennan (Shannon)
  • 08:14/13:14 Mark Shanahan (Castlemartyr) Jack Doherty (Carton House) Evan Farrell (Ardee)
  • 08:25/13:25 Devin Morley (Oughterard) Stuart Bleakley (Shandon Park) Luke Donnelly (Kilkenny)
  • 08:36/13:36 James Gerard Fox (Portmarnock) Reece Black (Hilton Templepatrick) David Foy (Laytown & Bettystown)
  • 08:47/13:47 G Smyth (Clonmel) Cian Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown) Alan Lowry (Esker Hills)
  • 08:58/13:58 Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock) Eugene Smith (Laytown & Bettystown) Sam Sweeney (USA)
  • 09:09/14:09 Jake Whelan (Newlands) Barry Anderson (The Royal Dublin) John Hickey (Cork)
  • 09:20/14:20 Pat Murray (Clontarf) Allan Hill (Athenry) Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk)
  • 12:30/07:30 Zach Glynn (Bray) Alex Maguire (Laytown & Bettystown) Sean Doyle (The Island)
  • 12:41/07:41 Michael Joseph Kennelly (Athenry) Ian Lynch (Rosslare) Marc McKinstry (Cairndhu)
  • 12:52/07:52 Ryan Berkeley (Dun Laoghaire) Gary Ward (Kinsale) T J Ford (Co. Sligo)
  • 13:03/08:03 Marc Norton (Belvoir Park) Padraic O'Brien (Co. Louth) William Small (Tandragee)
  • 13:14/08:14 Gary McGrane (The Royal Dublin) Robert Moran (Castle) David Reddan Jnr (Nenagh)
  • 13:25/08:25 Shaun Carter (The Royal Dublin) Gerard Dunne (Co. Louth) Robbie Pierse (Grange)
  • 13:36/08:36 Shaun O'Connor (Luttrellstown Castle) Darragh Smith (Castle) James Sugrue (Mallow)
  • 13:47/08:47 Jack Mc Donnell (Forrest Little) Cathal Butler (Kinsale) Alec Myles (Newlands)
  • 13:58/08:58 Ciarán Kelly (USA) Kyle McCarron (North West) Gareth Lappin (Belvoir Park)
  • 14:09/09:09 Paul Coughlan (Moate) Sean Flanagan (Co. Sligo) Gary O'Flaherty (Cork)
  • 14:20/09:20 John Murphy (Kinsale) Jim Carvill (Banbridge) Daniel Holland (Castle).