Ford Junior Scratch Trophy time at Muskerry

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Tom Purcell, captain Muskerry Golf Club, presenting the Cork Junior Scratch Perpetual Trophy, sponsored by Ford Ireland and played for over three days at Muskerry Golf Club, to Sean Leonard, Mitchelstown Golf Club. Included is Maura Minogue, President Muskerry GC. Picture: Mike English

Cork’s most exciting handicap competition of the year gets underway today in Muskerry.  The Ford Junior Scratch Trophy will see the 64 qualifiers face off this morning with the eventual winner getting though six rounds of matchplay over the next three days.  Two qualifying events took place last month with over 300 golfers participating, all hoping to make the top 64 to enter the matchplay phase.  Not surprisingly Muskerry golfers lead the field with 18 golfers taking part tomorrow, although there are 17 other clubs represented.  Lee Valley, Fota Island, Kinsale and Monkstown are also well represented and there are a few qualifiers from outside Cork.  Main sponsors Ford have been involved in the competition since 1992, and last weekend they were also main sponsors for the Ford Cork Scratch Cup, the 36 hole Ladies strokeplay competition.  The trophy holds the names of many popular Cork golfers, including two previous Muskerry winners went on to turn professional, Morgan O’Donovan won the competition in 1992 and Niall Turner won in 2000.  Bandon’s Donal O’Donovan and Kinsale’s Kieran McCarthy both went on to become scratch golfers, representing their clubs at the top level.  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, and last year his nephew Sean Leonard continued the Leonard family’s success in Muskerry.  According to Muskerry Captain Jim Hornibrook, it marks the start of the golfing season: “From a local amateur golf point of view it is a real sign that the new golfing season is starting when the Ford Junior Scratch Trophy is being played in Muskerry golf club this weekend.  This competition was first played in 1970, and Ford Motor Company has been sponsoring the event for the past 27 years.”

dwyers-3d-tech“The Ford Junior Scratch Trophy is a very important annual competition for junior handicap golfers from all over Munster” added the Captain.  “Indeed it is a measure of the popularity of the event that in excess of 300 golfers from all over Munster played in the strokeplay qualifying two weeks ago.  As far as I am aware, this is the only open matchplay event in Munster (if not in the country) for junior handicap golfers.  We are looking forward to hosting the Ford junior scratch trophy this weekend and, when the winner is presented with the trophy on Easter Sunday evening, he will certainly have earned his win, given that he will have won six matches in three days.”

Muskerry Set for New Season

Muskerry Captain Jim Hornibrook is looking forward to the golf this weekend, and he’s especially proud of the condition of the course.  “I am proud to say that Muskerry golf course is in excellent condition at the moment” said Jim, “And that our course received many compliments from those who played in the recent strokeplay qualifying.  We will ensure that the course is the best condition possible for the matchplay over the coming weekend.”  It’ll be back to normal after this weekend for the Captain and his committee as the continue their preparations for the season ahead.  “We’re really looking forward to the golfing season ahead.  All of our teams are now in training for the upcoming inter club competitions and we hope to build on the success of our Jimmy Bruen Shield team from last year, which won the Munster title.  As Captain, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to welcome a national pennant back to Muskerry in the coming months.”  Muskerry have had several trips to Carton House to the Cups & Shields national finals.  They won a Barton Shield national title in 2014 and will no doubt hope to build on that success this year.  After a tough few years, club have finally seen a growth in membership and now several Cork club are putting plans in place for future growth and development.  Muskerry recently agreed to embark on a major capital plan that will deliver improvements to the course for golfers as Hornibrook explained: “It is an exciting time at the club in that our members last week unanimously approved the installation of an automated irrigation system and the construction of buggy paths on our course. Work is due to commence shortly and I expect that these course improvements will have a hugely positive effect on maintaining our course in the excellent condition in which it currently is and into the future.”

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