Doran seeks dream victory as wind sends score soaring at Baltray
County Louth’s Adam Doran. Picture:  Pat Cashman

County Louth’s Adam Doran. Picture: Pat Cashman

County Louth’s Adam Doran will be bidding to become the first home winner for 34 years when he takes a one-stroke lead into the final two rounds of the East of Ireland Amateur Open at Baltray.

The 26-year old second school teacher took advantage of an early tee time and added a one-under 71 to his opening 70 to lead on three-under par from Royal Dublin’s Sean Ryan, Palmerstown House Estate’s Ross McCormack and Portmarnock Links’ Eugene Smith with the entire field covered by just seven strokes.

A two-club wind was blowing when left-hander Doran, who only joined the club from Ardee at the start of 2018, took to the links and made three birdies in his first 10 holes before following bogeys at the 11th and 13th with five grinding pars to post the only sub-par score of the day.

But the wind soon gusted to 40 mph in the afternoon with the overnight leader, Malone’s Matthew McClean, following his opening 66 with a 80 to finish the day on two-over par.

That 1995 win for Declan Branigan is the nearest a local has come to victory in the East since County Louth’s Finbarr Ronan  won by eight strokes in 1985.

The field averaged 73.21 on day one but that ballooned to 77.51 yesterday. But while Doran admits he is entering uncharted territory, he believes he has the experience around Baltray to lead from the front and challenge for what would be a dream victory.

“While I don’t have huge expectations, I will be positive and ready to go,” said Doran, who teaches French and Irish at Drogheda Grammar School. 

“Myself and Oonagh Purfield Goulding won the East of Ireland Mixed in Castleknock last year after leading from the first round and I have led a few scratch cups after the first round and won all of them so maybe I am okay at the front. 

“I will try and draw on that experience anyway. It is all a bit of dream but it is a great experience and I will definitely relish it tomorrow. It will be a great day.”

A former member of Ardee, Doran only joined County Louth to keep his father Liam company and his local knowledge paid off yesterday and his short game was key to his 71

“I’ve known County Louth all my life and when my dad retired, he joined as a present to himself so I said I’d go along for the journey,” said Doran, who scrambled superbly for his 71, taking just 27 putts. 

Thurles’ Aaron Ryan, Portmarnock’s Darragh Coghlan and former winner Paul O’Hanlon are lurking just two shots behind in joint fifth with hugely experienced players such as Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell, Pat Murray and Gary Cullen only three behind on level par.

“Anyone who makes the cut has a chance right now” 47-year old Murray said after a 75. “It was mad out there today — a four club wind for us in the afternoon. And with the wind set to blow again tomorrow, I’d take two 72’s right now and gladly stay in bed.”

Fifty-four players made the cut for the top 42 and ties on four-over or better with senior international panellists Ronan Mullarney and Robert Brazill making it on the mark.

Campbell is seeking his second win in the space of six days after his win in the Ulster Strokeplay at Galgorm Castle last Tuesday.

The 32-year old moved up to eighth in the Bridgestone Order of Merit with the top three winning places in the Irish team for September’s Home Internationals.

The winner of the “East” in 2014, Campbell knows another win would see him take a giant step towards a return to the Irish team for the first time since 2017 after he missed last year with a hand injury.

But with just seven shots covering the field, it’s anyone’s title and veteran Murray, now playing out of Clontarf, knows it won’t be easy.

The Tipperary man, who has already claimed the South of Ireland and Irish Close titles in a long career, goes into the final two rounds just three strokes behind after a wind-blown 75 yesterday left him tied for eighth with Portmarnock Links’ AJ McCabe and Cullen, Tralee’s Fergal O’Sullivan and the vastly experienced Campbell.

“If you can get off to a fast start, that’s ideal. But there is nowhere to hide, you just have to stand up and take on the shot, especially if you have to chase,” Murray said.

“Into the wind and downwind, there was no let up. Downwind on eight you can’t hold the green and on nine you are hitting a five iron in. Ten was a two iron to the green and then you have a flick into 11, 12 and 13 and 14 is back into the teeth of it and 15 is howling across you.

“On 17 I hit a two iron shot and 18 was a drive, three wood and four iron into it. I guess I could be one or two better but I could be one or two worse. So after being three over after three yesterday I can happy enough.”

East of Ireland Amateur Open, County Louth Golf Club (Par 72)

Sponsored by The D Hotel

Detailed scores

10th Tee

07:30/12:30 Small, Dunne, Egan;
07:41/12:41 Power, Brazill, Carter;
07:52/12:52 Gourley, McNelis, E Murphy; 
08:03/13:03 Mullarney, Hood, Ford;
08:14/13:14 McDonnell, Desmond, S Murphy;
08:25/13:25 McLarnon, Lowry, O'Hare;
08:36/13:36 Foy, Flynn, Blake;
08:47/13:47 Shaw, Best, Moran;
08:58/13:58 Brady, McClean, P Murphy.

1st Tee

07:30/12:30 Brown, Morley, Flanagan;
07:41/12:41 Duminy, P McKeever, Madden; 
07:52/12:52 Smyth, Premlall, Foley;
08:03/13:03 Walsh, O'Mahony, O'Keeffe;
08:14/13:14 Jarvis, Vorster, Boucher;
08:25/13:25 Cullen, Murray, Campbell
08:36/13:36 O'Sullivan, McCabe, O'Hanlon;
08:47/13:47 Coghlan, A Ryan, Smith
08:58/13:58 McCormack, S Ryan, Doran.


141 A Doran (Co Louth) 70 71;

142 S Ryan (Royal Dublin) 70 72, R McCormack (Palmerstown House Estate) 69 73, E Smith (Links Portmarnock) 68 74;

143 A Ryan (Thurles) 71 72, D Coghlan (Portmarnock) 71 72, P O'Hanlon (Carton House) 69 74; 

144 A McCabe (Links Portmarnock) 72 72, F O'Sullivan (Tralee) 71 73, C Campbell (Warrenpoint) 69 75, P Murray (Clontarf) 69 75, G Cullen (Links Portmarnock) 67 77;

145 M Boucher (Carton House) 73 72, M Vorster (RSA) 72 73, C Jarvis (RSA) 72 73, P O'Keeffe (Douglas) 71 74, G O'Mahony (Fota Island) 70 75, S Walsh (Portmarnock) 69 76, H Foley (Royal Dublin) 69 76, Y Premlall (RSA) 68 77;

146 G Smyth (Clonmel) 72 74, J Madden (Royal Portrush) 72 74, P McKeever (Castle) 71 75, J Duminy (RSA) 70 76, S Flanagan (Portmarnock ) 70 76, D Morley (Oughterard) 68 78, O Brown (Wal) 68 78, P Murphy (Rosslare) 68 78, M McClean (Malone ) 66 80;

147 D Brady (Co Sligo) 74 73, R Moran (Castle) 73 74, B Best (Rathmore) 72 75, D Shaw (Belvoir Park) 72 75, J Blake (Island) 71 76, D Flynn (Carton House) 71 76, D Foy (Laytown & Bettystown) 71 76, H O'Hare (Fortwilliam) 70 77, A Lowry (Esker Hills) 70 77, T McLarnon (Massereene) 70 77, S Murphy (Portumna) 70 77, S Desmond (Monkstown) 69 78;

148 J Mc Donnell (Forrest Little) 76 72, T Ford (Co Sligo) 74 74, J Hood (Galgorm Castle) 73 75, R Mullarney (Galway) 73 75, E Murphy (Dundalk) 73 75, R McNelis (Fintona) 73 75, J Gourley (Shandon Park) 73 75, S Carter (Royal Dublin) 73 75, R Brazill (Naas) 71 77, L Power (Galway) 70 78, K Egan (Carton House) 70 78, G Dunne (Co Louth) 70 78, W Small (Tandragee) 67 81.

Non qualifiers 

149 M McKinstry (Cairndhu) 75 74, F Kennedy (Island) 75 74, S Simpson (RSA) 72 77, J Lyons (Galway) 69 80;

150 K McCormack (Portarlington) 78 72, S Greenberg (Tandragee) 76 74, J Rowe (Tandragee) 74 76, M Deasy (Lee Valley) 74 76, B Murray (Waterford Castle) 73 77, P Buckley (USA) 72 78, C Ryan (Dun Laoghaire) 70 80, C Dullaghan (Greenore) 69 81;

151 J Sabir (Moate) 76 75, J McCarthy (Grange) 76 75, H Duggan (Kilkenny) 75 76, R Knightly (Royal Dublin) 74 77, G Lenehan (Portmarnock) 73 78, E Griffin (Waterford) 72 79, A Fahy (Dun Laoghaire) 72 79, J Whelan (Newlands) 72 79, C Burke (RSA) 71 80, R Williamson (Holywood) 71 80, P O'Brien (Co Louth) 71 80;

152 K Murphy (Dun Laoghaire) 77 75, D Sweeney (Killeen Castle) 77 75, T O'Connor (Athlone) 77 75, R O'Doherty (Enniscrone) 76 76, K Bornemann (Douglas) 76 76, L Hutchinson (Royal Dublin) 76 76, E O'Brien (Clontarf) 76 76, R Symington (Lisburn) 75 77, I Lynch (Rosslare) 75 77, J Fox (Portmarnock) 73 79, Q Carew (Palmerstown House Estate) 73 79, S Mark (West Waterford) 72 80, D Reddan Jnr (Nenagh) 70 82;

153 C Butler (Kinsale) 80 73, G Ward (Kinsale) 77 76, C Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire) 75 78, H Gillivan (Westport) 74 79, D Lowry (Corrstown) 73 80, D Coyle (Portmarnock) 72 81;

154 J Temple (Portmarnock) 80 74, C Nolan (Galway) 80 74, D Joyce (Powerscourt) 79 75, J Tuohy (Galway Bay) 78 76, J Rackard (Enniscorthy) 75 79, R Cannon (Balbriggan) 74 80, R Lyons (USA) 73 81, J Mackin (Dundalk) 72 82, J Sutherland (Galgorm Castle) 71 83;

155 R Latimer (Knock) 76 79, R O'Connor (Co Sligo) 76 79, A Wilson (Portmarnock) 74 81, J Greene (Portmarnock) 72 83;

156 D Leufer (Athenry) 77 79, J Monaghan (Royal Dublin) 75 81, G Bohill (Co Louth) 71 85;

157 M Nolan (Dun Laoghaire) 80 77, J Walsh (Castle) 76 81, M O'Rourke (Royal Tara) 75 82, N Hearns (Mountrath) 73 84;

158 R Browne (Castle) 79 79, A Smith (Mullingar) 78 80, W Russell (Clandeboye) 77 81, D McAleenon (Edenmore) 75 83;

159 R Evans (Wal) 83 76, G McDermott (Carton House) 76 83, D O'Neill (Links Portmarnock) 76 83, D Crawford (Bundoran) 75 84;

160 P Coughlan (Castleknock) 74 86;

162 P O'Connor (Macroom) 79 83;

164 M Saulez (RSA) 75 89;

166 G Copeland (Ardglass) 82 84;

170 G Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick) 83 87, M McCormack (Moss Creek/The Island) 78 92;

NR R Clarke (Island);

RTD P Connolly (Killeen Castle).