There was delight in Belfast and Cork yesterday as Lee Valley Ladies won another All-Ireland title. The Cork club captured the AIG Minor Cup in Belfast, their first time winning at Minor level. After several close calls this year, the final ended up being a clean sweep for Lee Valley as they beat Mountbellew. Rosemary Driscoll won the first point for Lee Valley on the 17th green when she won 2&1, while Deirdre Lee saw her match go to sudden death before she won and added a second point for Lee Valley. The winning point was secured by Breda O’Callaghan, she had a 2&1 win on the 17th to win the third match and secured another national pennant for Lee Valley. Both Jane O’Neill and Helen Gough were called in, their matches were considered as halves meaning the final score was 4-1 to Lee Valley. On Thursday, Helen Gough was the hero for Lee Valley, securing the winning point in the final match on the final green. Jane O’Neill and Breda O’Callaghan had secured the earlier points and their way to the final in a tough match against Donaghadee. Lee Valley Team Captain Angela Corcoran summed up the feelings of the Lee Valley members: “We’re absolutely thrilled, it could have gone either way right up until the end, it was an amazing contest,” said Angela. “This is our third All-Ireland, we have won two Intermediate Cups and now a Minor Cup in the last 5 years, it’s a huge honour for our 25-year-old club!” The Cork club last won a national title in 2015 when they won the AIG Intermediate Cup in Knightsbrook. The team along with a large number of members and supporters made the long trip from Belfast last night. And the winners were treated to a great reception back in Lee Valley when they arrived home to Ovens.
Cian McNamara (Monkstown GC)
Cian McNamara got his Q School adventure off to a great start today with a three under par 68 to finish inside the top twenty. It was a very impressive round that saw the Monkstown based pro hole seven birdie putts. McNamara was one of the last to play today in Golf d’HArdelot in France, and starting from the 10th he birdied his first and second hole. A bogey followed on the 12th but two more birdies on 15 and 16 saw him move to -3. McNamara was level for his final ten holes, but he did slot another three birdies on his way to signing for a 68. The Limerick is tied for 12th place in a large group.
It’s McNamara’s first time back a Q School in three years and he’s been in good form coming up to the event. He was part of the winning Ireland team at the recent TGI Cup in Lough Erne and he finished in second place in the Connemara Pro-Am last weekend (and won the team competition). Now as head pro in Monkstown, Cian has entered a new phase and his former full-time playing schedule has been curtailed. That said he was very both confident and comfortable when looking forward to his trip to France. “My reasons for entering Q School are actually very simple. I still think I can play” explained McNamara, a former elite amateur and South of Ireland winner. “I’ve understood as the years have gone on that time is moving quickly and I’ve responsibilities that I need to attain too but it is just something in the back of my head that keeps me awake a little longer a night. I’m so grateful for the opportunity at Monkstown GC and can categorically say I’m really enjoying my role but when somebody has always wanted to achieve something and doesn’t quite get there I think we are all the same in saying “it bugs you”. My fiancé Siobhàn basically convinced me and I’m delighted she has done that. This may or may not happen this year but at least I’ve put myself forward and now it is just simply up to me.”
He has an earlier start tomorrow, he’s out Continue reading
Autumn is here and so too Golfest as Fota Island gets into the Oktoberfest spirit. Now in it’s second year, Golfest will be run on more than a dozen separate dates in October. For €59 golfers can enter the Oktoberfest competition and also avail a special meal after their round. Embracing the tradition of Oktoberfest the menu features chicken schnitzel, bratwurst with a sourdough baguette or venison hotpot. Dinner is served with a pint of Chieftain IPA, finishing off the Oktoberfest experience for golfers. All competitions will be held on the Deerpark course which successfully hosted the Irish Open in 2014. The best score registered at the end of the month will win the top prize of a custom fit set of Callaway Apex Irons. Dates and times are available throughout October and bookings can be made online or by contacting the Pro Shop in Fota Island. The competition starts next week with times available on Thursday and Friday. Last year the resort ran a similar event, with a top prize of a trip to Munich for the overall winner. Despite a huge number of entries and stiff competition, the top prize went to Billy O’Donovan from Dunmore Golf Continue reading
Monkstown Head Professional Cian McNamara has an exciting event next week, he’s heading to France for stage one of the European Tour Qualifying School. McNamara has spent well over three years in Monkstown and the Limerick native was appointed as Head Professional two years ago. Prior that he was effectively a full-time player on the Irish PGA circuit. After a year in Monkstown an opportunity arose to become head pro, and in the past two years Cian has grown into the prestigious position. It was a big change for Cian but one that has worked out. “Things have changed dramatically for me over the two years. I have far more responsibility now than I ever had in my life but I feel I am growing into the position and hope that members of the golf club feel that I am improving in the role more as time is going on” said Cian on Continue reading
Paul O’Neill presenting his President’s Prize to Anne O’Driscoll at Blarney Golf Club
Blarney President Paul O’Neill held President’s Prize dinner last week and it marked the latest major event in a busy year for Blarney. The resort hosted the Munster Boys Under 16 and the Boys Interpro’s in a busy season that included several other local events. The Interpro’s were the big-ticket event, putting the resort on the map nationally and President Paul was delighted with the outcome. “We hosted very many classics and societies in the past however the Muster Boys proved to us that we had the capability to host a major event, and the Boys Interprovincials is one of the GUI flagship events.” Hosting a major event is a big undertaking. As well as taking over the course for up to a week, the GUI also depend on a substantial amount of support from local volunteers. Blarney members were not found wanting as Paul explained. “We sent up a flare for our members to act as stewards, fore caddies and helpers, and to be fair we were amazed at the response. We easily covered each area that may have caused concern for young golfers who were not overly familiar with the course. But, these are among the best in the country so our main task became ball spotting and according to the team’s managements and players we did an exceptional job. That point has been reinforced by the GUI representatives. This is a young club (just 11 years in existence) and to successfully pull Continue reading
Skibbereen’s Rhona O’Donoghue and John McNamara receiving the Munster Mixed Foursomes Cup from Jim Hornibrook, Captain Muskerry Golf Club.
Skibbeen’s John McNamara and Rhona O’Donoghue won the Munster Mixed Foursomes at Muskerry recently. The pair carded a winning score of 71 on the testing course to win by a shot. This was the 80th staging of the event and there was a large entry from clubs all over Munster. Michael and Brid Halloran took second place on 72.5 and East Cork took third place one shot further back. As well as the cup, the winners were also presented with commemorative prizes. The cup was first presented in in 1937 and counts Jimmy Bruen as one of the many well know winners through the years. Claire Coughlan Ryan and Oonagh Barry win the Australian Spoons at Co. Longford Golf Club last week. Despite wet and heavy conditions the Cork pairing of Claire Coughlan Ryan and Oonagh Barry were a model of consistency with 19 points on both the front and extremely tricky back nine at Co. Longford Golf Club in a round that had birdies at the par 3 8th and par 4 15th. Last years winners Helen Jones and Vivienne Houston (Royal Portrush) won the best gross. Presented to the ILGU in 1967 by the Australian Ladies Golf Union to support players representing Ireland at International Competitions, the Australian Spoons is contended for by clubs across Ireland. Clubs hold an 18 hole stableford greensomes qualifier, in which their nett and gross winners progress to the District Finals.
Irish Seniors Captain Sean O’Leary pictured with Karl Bornemann after Ireland won the European Senior Team Championship
Douglas’ Karl Bornemann celebrated his Ireland selection by being part of the winning team at the European Senior Team Championships. Karl was one of two new caps selected by Irish Captain Sean O’Leary, and both justified their selection winning matches at crucial points. Bornemann had a great start to the competition in the strokeplay rounds. On the opening day he shot a two under par 70, helped by an eagle on the par four 5th. He calmly holed an uphill wedge from 100 yards to give himself a boost in his first round in an Irish shirt. Karl was heading for an under par finish on day two also, but a bogey on the last meant that he signed for a level par 72, and he finished in a tie for 6th place after 36 holes.
Ireland finished in the joint top position on the team rankings alongside Scotland, and qualified for the top flight matchplay phase. The format for matchlplay stage was one foursomes match and four singles. In the quarter final they faced hosts Sweden and came away with a 3-2 win. Ireland faced England in the semi final and they had a surprisingly easy win, taking three matches very early to secure the win. Karl had the luxury of being called in on Saturday, but in Sunday’s final he led the charge. Ireland were up against outsiders Denmark, they had a surprise win over Scotland in the semi-final. Bornemann was first to finish in the final as he recorded a 5&4 win to Continue reading
Although he’s a Dub, Matt Sands could nearly be considered a Corkman given that he’s spent the best part of 30 years here. Matt is General Manager in Cork Golf Club and moved from Dublin in 1988 to take up the job. Matt isn’t the only person with long service in Cork, in fact it seems to be a feature with course superintendent Anthony Gillis having worked in Cork for over 50 years. Gerry Kenneally who runs the impressive restaurant has been attached to the Little Island club for 28 years while club professional Peter Hickey has been based in Cork for 22 years. Matt has seen plenty happen in that time. From major competitions like the Irish Close and the home internatioals, to the Pro Am and Munster Strokeplay which are annual showpiece events, Cork is generally a busy spot. Apart from the major competitions, there have been a few major projects that Matt has been involved with in the last three decades and he lists the clubhouse redevelopment (2002) and the course upgrade (2011-2012) as the biggest. “I came in during Centenary Year in 1998” said Matt, “and I Continue reading
Kinsale’s Mark Healy pictured in 2015
Mark Healy finished in the top ten in Bray thanks to a great recovery that featured five birdies. The Kinsale man had a poor start with a bogey on the opening hole and another on the second hole. He steadied after that and pulled a shot back at the seventh. He had birdies the 10th and 11th to get back into the red and two more birdies followed on the 15th and at the final hole. Healy’s 67’s matched the best score of the day, winner Stefan Greenberg along with second placed Ronan Mullarney and third placed Jack McDonnell also went around the course in Bray on -3.
James Sugrue had a disappointing final round that saw him drop from third place to 12th. He signed for a four over par 74 which featured only a single bogey. Sean Desmond had a 72 to finish just inside the top 30 while Cathal Butler and Darren Hourihan ahd 77’s to finish in the middle of the pack, while Aoife Ni Thuama finished in 8th place in the Continue reading
Winners of the 2017 Australian Spoons Claire Coughlan Ryan and Oonagh Barry (Cork) after the 2017 Australian Spoons All-Ireland Final at Longford Golf Club. Pic: Jenny Matthews (www.cashmanphotography.ie)
Claire Coughlan Ryan and Oonagh Barry win the Australian Spoons at Co. Longford Golf Club earlier this week. Despite wet and heavy conditions the Cork pairing of Claire Coughlan Ryan and Oonagh Barry were a model of consistency with 19 points on both the front and extremely tricky back nine at Co. Longford Golf Club in a round that had birdies at the par 3 8th and par 4 15th. Last years winners Helen Jones and Vivienne Houston (Royal Portrush) won the best gross. Presented to the ILGU in 1967 by the Australian Ladies Golf Union to support players representing Ireland at International Competitions, the Australian Spoons is contended for by clubs across Ireland. Clubs hold an 18 hole stableford greensomes qualifier, in which their nett and gross winners progress to the District Finals.
1st 38 pts Claire Coughlan Ryan (1) & Oonagh Barry (14) – Cork
Gross 30 pts Helen Jones (3) & Vivienne Houston (5) – Royal Portrush
2nd 36 pts Christina Rush (19) & Hannah Grant (20) – Claremorris
3rd 35 pts Caroline Delaney (21) and Mary Dolan (30) – Mountbellew
4th 35 pts Carmel Mullan (33) and Maura Ryan (25) – Elm Park