The presentation of the Harbour Shield took place recently when Cobh Golf Club hosted a competition for the ten participating clubs. The final took place a few weeks previously and it was contested by Kinsale and Douglas who were both looking for their first title. After a closely fought final it was Douglas who won despite conceding home advantage to Kinsale. It was a long trip to the final for the young Douglas golfers. In the league section they came up against Kinsale, Cork, Blarney and East Cork, winning all of their matches. In the semi-final they beat Mahon to qualify for the final and a rematch against Kinsale.
The final was a real nail-biter with four of the six matches going all the way to the 18th hole. In the first foursomes match Douglas were two down with two to play, but there was a great comeback by the Hill brothers, Bryan and Mark. They fought to the end, winning the 17th and 18th holes for a half point. In the second foursomes match Douglas pair Shane Williams and Brian Boylan were looking good, they were two up with three holes to play. Like the first match though there was a comeback, this time it was Kinsale’s turn to rescue a half with the Walsh brothers halving the match on the 18th by holing a 15ft putt. In match three, Philip Elwood (Douglas) got off to a bad start and it looked like he was going to be beaten badly but in fairness he fought back well before eventually losing out on the 15th. In the fourth match 10 year-old Jack Murphy, who had three wins from three, but this time he came up short losing on the 18th having missed a putt for the half. Match five saw another primary school golfer David O’Sullivan in action for Douglas, and yet again it was another match to come up the 18th. O’Sullivan – who didn’t know that he needed to win, came up trumps to win 1 up.
That win was crucial for Douglas, as it left the score 3-2 in favour of Kinsale with just one match left out on the course. Douglas’ Dylan Murphy had been up during the early part of the match, and he won on the 17th meaning the overall score was tied on 3-3. Murphy would have to go back out and face Kinsale’s Jody Costello in a sudden death play-off. The first hole was halved with pars from both golfers. Douglas had a scare on the second hole when it was feared Murphy’s tee shot may have gone out of bounds on the left. The ball was found just inside the boundary and the left-hander recovered and put the ball on the green. Kinsale’s Costello narrowly missed the green and Murphy took advantage to secure the match and the title for Douglas.
Douglas Junior Officer Jim Collins was delighted to secure a first Harbour Shield win for his club: “It was a great day’s golf, we were up against a strong and very good Kinsale team. It was nip and tuck all the way, looking good at one stage and then not so good. In fairness a half (3-3) was a deserved result for both teams.” Collins along with assistant manager Pat Moynihan used 20 golfers in the six matches and that shows that Douglas have a large number of promising golfers in the club. “We have a lot of talent coming through, not just the lads who played in the Harbour Shield, but throughout the whole Juvenile section. Watch this space!” said Collins who was delighted with the win for his club.
The competition has been running since 2009 and this year was the first time that Douglas won. Mahon won the inaugural event, and won a second title in 2014. East Cork are the only other club to win twice. Despite a win in the Fred Daly Plate (2015) and the Fred Daly Trophy (2014) a Harbour Shield win eluded Douglas. All of the Douglas team members were present in Cobh Golf Club for the presentation, with David O’Sullivan also being part of the winning team on the day. Cobh’s Tony Hughes and Pat O’Toole were both instrumental in the staging of event in Cobh, which was probably the largest gathering of junior golfers in Cork this year. While Douglas and Kinsale have both been strong at Fred Daly over the past four years, the Harbour Shield results that both clubs are likely to compete for top level junior golf honours again in the future.