The most exciting handicap competition of the year gets underway tomorrow in Muskerry. The Ford Junior Scratch Trophy will see the 64 top qualifiers face off tomorrow morning with the eventual winner getting though six rounds of matchplay. Two qualifiers took place earlier this month with over 300 golfers participating. Due to the prevailing wet weather and soft ground conditions, the organisers decided on a gross stable ford scoring format. With gross stableford scoring, golfers would not be overly penalised for losing a plugged ball. John O’Mahony (Muskerry) came out on top from the Friday qualifier with a very impressive 35 points (gross). Kinsale’s Alan Buckley was second with 33 points. Muskerry’s Jack Egan topped the list on Saturday with 34 points, Kanturk’s James Madigan was second with 33 points.
The trophy holds the names of many popular Cork golfers, including Bandon’s Donal O’Donovan and Kinsale’s Kieran McCarthy. Both went on to become scratch golfers, representing their clubs at the top level. Two previous Muskerry winners went on to turn professional, Morgan O’Donovan won the competition in 1992 and Niall Turner won in 2000. The competition has been running since 1970 and in over 40 years only three golfers have won it on more than one occasion. Bantry’s Donal McCarthy won the trophy on three occasions in the 80’s and he was the only player to win back to back, in 1984 & 1985. Although the trophy has plenty of Muskerry names, Ger O’Shea is the only member of the home club to have his name there twice. Mitchelstown’s Clem Leonard also won twice in 2010 and 2012. Adam McSweeney (Douglas) was the winner last year and after the competition he saw his handicap fall to 2. McSweeney’s handicap is too low to qualify this year so Donal McCarthy’s record is safe for another year. Golfers from 24 different clubs will be taking part, almost all of the Cork clubs are represented as are Cahir Park, Callan and Loughrea. Not surprisingly Muskerry golfers lead the field with 22 taking part tomorrow, East Cork have six golfers playing and Kinsale have four. Main sponsors Ford have been involved in the competition since 1992, and this weekend they are also main sponsors for the Ford Cork Scratch Cup, the 36 hole Ladies strokeplay competition.
Ford Muskerry Junior Scratch Trophy 2016, 1st Round Draw, Friday 25th March:
James Madigan (Kanturk) v Adam Ahern (Muskerry), Bernard Twomey (Muskerry) v Jerry McCarthy (East Cork), Ronan Curran (Lee Valley) v Jack Egan (Muskerry), Robert Kennedy (Monkstown) v Fergal Murphy (Muskerry), James Walsh (Loughrea) v Alan Buckley (Kinsale), Conor Og Madigan (Kanturk) v Brian O’Neill (Muskerry), Jason O’Callaghan (Muskerry) v Donagh Gribbon (Mahon), Ronan Cullinane (Cork) v Finbarr Buckley (Muskerry), Ben O’Dea (Kanturk) v Niall O’Sullivan (Callan), Barry Casey (Blarney) v Jack O’Flynn (Cork), Patrick Coughlan (Lisselan) v Darren O’Connor (Muskerry), Ian Sherlock (Kinsale) v Aidan Lennon (Muskerry), Alan Murphy (Kinsale) v Alan Casey (Castlemartyr), Derek Coll (East Cork) v Kevin O’Connell (East Cork), Eoghan Collins (East Cork) v Des Murray (Blarney), Pat Smith (Fermoy) v Michael Collins (East Cork), Sean Leonard (Monkstown) v John O’Mahony (Cahir Park), Richard Barrett (Douglas) v Chris Cleary (Kinsale), Mark Dennehy (Muskerry) v Stephen Cody (Douglas), Sean Wright (Cobh) v Ben Harte (Muskerry), Jack Heffernan (Doneraile) v David Mellamphy (Mallow), Killian McCarthy (Fernhill) v Donal O’Regan (Muskerry), Patrick O’Donachie (Cobh) v Greg Murphy (Fota Island), Robert Cotter (East Cork) v Diarmuid Lenihan (Muskerry), Michael O’Callaghan (Muskerry) v Bryan Ahern (Muskerry), Pat Manley (Muskerry) v John MacSweeney (Muskerry), Tony Walsh (Muskerry) v Seamus O’Leary (Muskerry), Darren Hayes (Monkstown) v Brian Murphy (Muskerry), Ross Higgins (Bandon) v Anthony O’Connell (Fota Island), Mark Naughton (Muskerry) v Jake O’Riordan (Dungarvan), Pat Hayes (Tipperary) v Ed Hayes (Ballybunion), John O’Mahony (Muskerry) v Desmond O’Regan (Mahon).