Lee Valley Golf Club will head for Limerick on Saturday to play in the Munster finals of the Irish Mixed foursomes. It’s the first time that the club has reached the finals in this competition and excitement is building from all the players and members. Limerick Golf Club is the venue for the finals and the Clashnure club will be hoping to bring home the pennant after some very good performances to get through to the final. After taking advantage of hosting the qualifier, Lee Valley faced Fota Island in the area final. Despite a slow start Lee Valley came from behind to win the area final which was held in Cork Golf Club. As play reached the top of the hill at the 12th they were down in three matches and up in only one. The short 13th hole was a catalyst for a swing however as the first pairing of Colette O’Callaghan and Jason Galway started to recover their three hole deficit. The pair had a great turn-around and were one up playing the 18th. Although the lost the last hole, they had done enough to force the match to the 19th. On the first sudden death hole Jason Galway basted a drive up the left hand side of the first fairway and it carried the bunkers to stop within 50 yards of the green. O’Callaghan followed his example with a great chip and when Galway putted it to less than a foot the match was over.
Just prior to that Jack Boyd and Catherine O’Sullivan had won on the 15th to give Lee Valley their first point. Around the same time Barry Egan and Helen Hodson lost their match, as did James Murray and Marie O’Sullivan. That left the match finely balanced on 2-2. Lee Valley had an advantage in the final match, Ian Bohane and Rosemary Driscoll were two up playing the 16th. The pair kept the pressure on and ended closing out the match on the 16th green, sending Lee Valley through to their first Munster final in three years. Lee Valley team manager Paul Coleman is looking forward to Saturday and his squad are well prepared having been to Limerick on at least two occasions. “The consensus is that it’s a tight and tricky course” said Coleman, “there’s a big onus on the tee shots. The mood in the team is very positive. The club are running a bus for members so it promises to be a great day for everyone.” In a strange twist, there are three Cork clubs in the Munster Finals. As well as Lee Valley, Doneraile have qualified from North Munster and neighbours Charleville have come through from the West Munster section. Doneraile and Lee Valley will face off in the first semi-final while Charleville face Tipperary who qualified from the East section. Play in Limerick gets underway at 9am on Saturday.
On Sunday Dunmore will have a chance to retain their Munster Country Clubs title. Lismore is the venue for the finals of the competition limited to clubs with nine hole courses. The coastal club won the final last year when hosting the event, putting their name on the famous trophy for a third time. The trophy itself is a history of golf in Munster, holding the names of several clubs who started with nine holes but subsequently expanded to 18 holes. As the number of teams are limited there isn’t the usual area qualifiers. As a result there are three Cork clubs in the finals. Dunmore are joined by Berehaven and Clonakilty, with Clare’s Spanish Point taking the fourth spot. The holders Dunmore started their defence in April in Skibbereen with a good win over Glengarriff. They went on to beat Lismore in Doneraile in June to qualify for the Munster finals. Clonakilty will have the opportunity to claim their fist piece of silverware under their new name. Lisselan was renamed Clonakilty Golf Club after the Twomey family bought the Lisselan Estate earlier this year. The purchase was a welcome relief for the golfers as the famous estate had been on the market for two years. Clonakilty had a bye in the first round and a win over Ballyheigue Castle saw them through to Lismore. Berehaven had two wins, beating Ross in the first round and Raffeen Creek in the second round. They face Clonakilty in the first semi-final while Dunmore will take on Spanish Point in the second semi-final.