Easter always see’s the staging of the Ford Muskerry Junior Scratch Trophy, a unique event for golfers with a handicap of 5-11. Two qualifying days sees the top 64 golfers go through to a matchplay phase player over Easter. 19 year old Adam McSweeney from Douglas added his name to the Ford Junior Scratch Trophy after three tough days. Although he was three down after just eight holes in the final, the Junior Cup and Senior Cup golfer fought back to level the match. McSweeney went one up on the 17th and closed out the 18th to become one of the youngest winners of the testing tournament.
The Munster Youths took place in Tralee and the challenging Arnold Palmer links course provided the field with a stiff test. Mallow’s Paul McCarthy who was competing in the Championship for the first time overcame a tough field to win the prestigious competition. A level par 70 on the final day was good enough to give him a one stroke lead over the field. Other winners in April were Youghal’s Conor Coyne (Muskerry Senior Scratch Cup) and Muskerry’s Dave O’Donovan (Lee Valley Senior Scratch Cup).
The Munster Strokeplay Championship took place in Cork GC over the May Bankholiday weekend. The 72 hole event is the leading scratch competition in the county and was severely affected by the weather. Torrential rain meant that no golf took place on the Saturday and the tournament was reduced to a 36 hole event, with both rounds taking place on Sunday. The double shotgun start was welcomed by everyone and after the first Waterford’s Eanna Griffin held the lead. Royal Dublin’s Shaun Carter carded two 70’s to win by two from Castlemartyr’s Mark Shanahan. Cork’s Tom Cleary racked up his third Munster Seniors title in Waterville. The prolific winner retained his title with a 75, overhauling a two shot deficit from Tramore’s John Mitchell. Cleary’s 75 was the best score on the final day as 30 mph winds did their best to disrupt the golf. Cleary is one of only three golfers to win the competition three times and earned selection on the Irish team following his impressive win. Muskerry’s Dan Hallissey won the Douglas Senior Scratch Cup, thanks to an impressive 69 in the second round. Hallissey was four shots back after the morning, but he mastered the windy conditions of the afternoon to shoot the low score and beat leaders Pat Fitzpatrick and McCarthy.
Kinsale were one of the form clubs in early June as they advanced to Munster finals in both the Fred Daly and the AIG Pierce Purcell Shield. Kinsale juniors earned themselves a good name when they beat 2014 finalists Douglas in a second round game earlier in the year. In June they beat Blarney in the area semi-final and they went on to beat a strong Fota Island team in the area final. Kinsale’s Pierce Purcell team won their three matches when they hosted the south Munster qualifiers, and they faced Cobh in the final which took place in Lee Valley. The final saw a dramatic conclusion, on the 20th hole with the score level at 2-2. Kinsale’s Padraig Crowley was the hero as he nailed a 17 foot putt from the front of the green to win the hole and see his side through to the Munster finals.
Blarney’s Minihan Shield team secured the clubs first pennant. The competition is played for by clubs in West Cork and South-East Kerry and is named in honour of GUI representative Michael Minihan (Bandon/Dunmore). Colum Sisk and Denis Keeshan topped Blarney’s returns with 44 points which help Blarney on their way to a winning team total of 164 points.