Muskerry Ford Junior Scratch Trophy

David Howard (Fota Island) in action at the Ford Muskerry Junior Scratch Trophy last year.
Picture: Niall O’Shea

Muskerry are gearing up for their first big event of the season, the Ford Junior Scratch Trophy.   Up to three hundred golfers will take part in the two qualifying days which take place on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th of March.  The top 64 qualifiers from the two days will win a place in the matchplay draw.  From there the qualifiers will face up six rounds of matchplay golf.  Starting on Good Friday, three days of competitive golf will produce a worthy winner on Easter Sunday.  It’s a unique competition in Irish golf and provides handicap golfers a great opportunity to play in a matchplay tournament.  A full timesheet is expected for both qualifying days and bookings can be made through the proshop.  Last year’s competition was pretty unique, a father and son ended up on the final.  Fota Island’s John Howard took on his son David in the East Sunday final, with David coming out on top after an exciting final.  19 year old David won on the 17th hole of the final last year, playing his sixth round of the long weekend to claim the title.  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.  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.  Main sponsors Ford have been involved in the competition since 1992, continuing a long tradition of supporting amateur golf in Cork.  Muskerry have also set a date for their senior scratch cup.  The 36 competition takes place on Saturday 18th April.  The competition marks the start of three important competitions for Munster’s top golfers and the club have Brewin Dolphin on board as new sponsors this year.  Recent weather has delayed the start to the season for most category one golfers and the Muskerry Scratch Cup should be the ideal event to kick start the season for everyone.