Cork’s most demanding golf event is all set to start next week when 64 golfers will aim to make it through six rounds of matchplay golf. The eventual winner will become the Ford Muskerry Junior Scratch Trophy champion. While many golfers will be looking forward to morning off on Easter Sunday, the four semi-finalists will be facing into their fifth game of golf in three days, and all four will be hoping to reach a sixth game in the afternoon final. Almost two weeks ago, over 250 competitors took part in the two-day qualifier in Muskerry, all hoping to finish in the top 64 and get through to the matchplay stage. With a new handicap limit of 4, the event provides a mix between the established Junior Cup and Bruen golfers, and younger golfers heading for Barton or Senior Cup appearances. Fota Island’s Anthony O’Connell led the qualifiers with a very impressive nett 57 for his 16 hole qualifier. John McSweeney (Muskerry) led four golfers to finished with 58 in the first day of the qualifier. Monkstown’s Billy Egan finished on top of the leaderboard on the second day. He shot the best of the 58’s around the 16 hole course while Seamus Spencer (Berehaven) and David O’Brien (Cahir Park) also finished on 58. Main sponsors Ford have been involved in the competition since 1992, continuing a long tradition of supporting amateur golf in Cork. The trophy holds the names of many popular Cork golfers, including two previous Muskerry winners who 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 45 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 in 2016 his nephew Sean Leonard continued the Leonard family’s success in Muskerry. Last year the title was won by Fota’s Noel McGee and although the Fota man is not in the field this year, he has eight Fota members chasing the title. Muskerry have 17 qualifiers but with competition from some of the best junior golfers in Cork home advantage seldom counts for much over the six rounds.
Draw for first round matches to take place on Friday 30th March: 08:00 Darren Kelleher (Blarney) V Owen O’Leary (Muskerry) 08:08 Aiden Cremin (Kinsale) V Michael O’Neill (Bandon) 08:16 Liam Harte Jnr (Muskerry) V Mike McGrath (Muskerry) 08:24 Paul Coleman (Lee Valley) V Desmond O’Regan (Mahon) 08:32 Sean Deasy (Mahon) V Dave Taylor (Muskerry) 08:40 Anthony O’ Connell(Fota) V Alan Buckley(Kinsale) 08:48 Diarmuid Lenihan(Muskerry) V Stephen O’Brien (East Cork) 08:56 Mark Carroll (Castlemartyr) V Cormac Murphy(Blarney) 09:04 Colin Hussey (Mahon) V John McSweeney (Muskerry) 09:12 Alan Duggan (Kinsale) V Bernard Twomey (Muskerry) 09:20 Jack McHenry (Douglas) V Niall O’Sullivan (Callan) 09:28 Mark Dennehy (Muskerry) V Eoghan Cassidy (Kinsale) 09:36 Damian Ryan (Muskerry) V David O’Brien (Cahir Park) 09:44 Stuart Meredith (Cobh) V John O’Sullivan (Fota) 09:52 Kevin Byrne (East Cork) V Seamus Spencer (Berehaven) 10:00 Martin O’Brien (Muskerry) V Ben Harte (Muskerry) 10:08 James O’Callaghan( Fota) V Paul Herlihy (Muskerry) 10:16 Joe O’Keeffe (Muskerry) V Denis Sheehan (Muskerry) 10:24 Pheilim Cotter (Doneraile) V Michael Joyce (Mulranny) 10:32 John Paul Ryan (Monstown) V Pat Ryan( Tipperary) 10:40 Jack Heffernan (Donerile) V Zak Collins (Douglas) 10:48 Stephen Cody (Douglas) V Evan O’Connell (Fota) 10:56 Ben O’Dea (Kankurk) V John Howard (Fota) 11:04 Eoghan O’Shaughnessy (Muskerry) V Ronan O’Connell (Fota) 11:12 Doug Hicks (Castlematyr) V Keelan McCarthy (Lee Valley) 11:20 Andy O’Shea (Bantry) V Andrew Gray (Muskerry) 11:28 Niall O’ Mahony (Fota) V Ken Healy (Muskerry) 11:36 Gary Morris (Macroom) V Brian Twomey (Muskerry) 11:44 Thomas Sheehan (Doneraile) V Colm O’Donoghue (Castletroy) 11:52 David Mellamphy (Mallow) V Declan Geary (Fota) 12:00 Kevin Cahill (Kinsale) V Stephen Mahon (Blarney) 12:08 Billy Egan (Monkstown) V Keiran O’Brien (East Cork)