A Year of Two Halves for Murphy

John Murphy Links Trophy 2018This year could be summarised as a game of two halves for John Murphy.  The Kinsale golfer spent the first half of the year playing well but struggling to get results, but the second half saw him hit some key milestones.  These included an international win, an Irish cap and get finish to the season back in college in the US.  While 2018 may have been his best year, Murphy didn’t feel like that at the beginning of the year a he explained.  “The college semester was difficult for me” recalled Murphy.  “I didn’t feel like I was competing as I had in the past.  I wasn’t producing results that were reflecting how I was playing. In all honesty, I was worried, I was shooting some poor scores and I was getting very frustrated with myself. It was tough.  I remember having a call with my parents at regionals where I just shot 7 over par.  I told them I was playing well but I just couldn’t score, and then we all realized that I had been saying that all semester, and maybe I was being delusional.  The week I got back Continue reading

Busy off-season for O’Keeffe

Interpros 2016 Peter O'Keeffe

Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas) rejoins the Munster team for the first time since 2007 when he was part of the winning team. Picture: Niall O’Shea

It’s been a busy off season for Peter O’Keeffe, while many golfers have put the sticks away until January, O’Keeffe is still working hard.  The Doulas elite amateur was in Spain last week, and he finished sixth in a Gecko Tour event.  The Gecko Tour is a mini-tour based in Spain, generally featuring emerging professional golfers.  O’Keeffe shot a final round 67 to jump up the leaderboard and finish on -4 for his 54 holes.  It was a good finish for Peter, he was +3 halfway though his second round so his strong finish was a real positive.  Peter has had another good year at the top level.  In March he retained his Kerry Scratch Cup title, and while he didn’t repeat his 2017 feat of winning a national championship, he was competitive in almost every event.  He reached the quarter final of the Irish Close and finished in the top eight on the Bridgestone Order of Merit.  He retained his place on the Irish team for the Home Internationals, a team that narrowly lost out to England.  O’Keeffe has risen up the international rankings also, he started the year at 752 on WAGR, but he Continue reading

Solid Season for Sugrue

James Sugrue Dec 2018 Cork CoCo ReceptionAlthough the competitive golf season is well and truly over, James Sugrue was back in the news last week when he picked up an award.  He was one of two recipients for golf at Mayor Patrick Gerard Murphy’s Co Council reception last week.  Although Sugrue didn’t hit the high of a championship win, he continued to progress with two local wins and some great individual performances during the year.  The season was book-ended by his two wins, the first in the Fota Island Senior Scratch Cup in early April, and the second in September when he won the John Whyte Fermoy Senior Scratch Cup to close out the season.  The two wins may be highlights, but to be fair the Mallow golfer has had a very impressive summer of golf which was recognised with his selection to the Irish team.  Sugrue joined the Irish Mens panel this year and represented the Irish selection at the South African and Spanish Amateurs in the early season, and in October he travelled to South America for two international events.  His full cap finally came when he was selected to play for the Home Internationals which took place last week.  Capped on multiple occasions in Boy’s golf, this was a big step up for Sugrue but one he took in his stride.

The easy going 20 year old went on to win four matches as Ireland finished as runners-up in the four team tournament.  “There was actually no real difference, I didn’t feel as if I was under any extra pressure.  I know all the lads and I know Neil Manchip for a long time as well” said James.  “I was really happy with the way I played down the stretch in a few matches.  In the opening foursomes we were two up with three to play and I hit an approach to around six inches to close out the match.  On the second day I had a four iron on a par three into the wind, and I managed to get it to inside a foot to close out that match.”   You can feel the confidence in Sugrue as he tells that story.  Continue reading

Super Summer for Sean

Sean Reddy Douglas Minor MatchplayCupSean Reddy is one of Cork’s emerging young golfers who continues to work on his game and improve, and the 2018 season was an important one for the 11 year golf nut.  Having started playing golf many years ago, Sean joined Douglas Golf Club at the start of the season and quickly became a regular on the course.  The young golfer rounded off his season when he got his hands on some important silverware last month, he won the Minor Matchplay Cup in Douglas in September.  Any the way he won was pretty impressive.  Playing in a matchplay competition, he won the 18th with a birdie to force the match onto the 19th hole.  And on the testing par four he won the match with a par.  Sean was a busy boy all Summer, playing competitions and practicing.  Like most young golfers, the summer holidays meant more time on the course and he put himself to good use picking up the club almost every day.  “All summer I played most days in Douglas and then other days I practiced in the Academy in Fota Island” said Sean, “I was usually playing or practicing everyday.  I got to play Hollywood in Belfast, Rory Milroy’s home course, it was incredible to play there.  My favourite also was the K Club, last time I was there on a Sunday was to watch Rory win the Irish Open in 2016.”  Unlike many other golfers of his age, Sean doesn’t just practice for fun, he does it to improve.  And he spent the summer working on a few important areas.  I worked on my swing path and alignment mostly, trying to keep my swing consistent on every shot” explained Reddy,  “I know my swing speed and distance will come as I get older, I am not 12 until next year and I want my swing to be perfect now so when I am older it hopefully will be always be consistent as I swing faster.  I worked on many speed and strength drills with Peter for most of the summer.”  Now playing off an official GUI handicap, Sean has seen this tumble as he played in Douglas over the Summer.  He dropped ten shots and he’s now playing off 14 – a very impressive mark for an eleven year old.  “In February had a handicap of 24” explained Sean, “I am now down to 14 since Continue reading

Sugrue & O’Keeffe named on Irish team for Home Internationals

J2016 Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championshipames Sugrue and Peter O’Keeffe were both named in the Irish team for the Home Internationals which take place in Wales in less than two weeks.  For the first time in well over a decade, Cork will be represented by two golfers in an Irish Mens team.  After missing out on selection for the European Team Championships in July, Sugrue finally gets his first senior international cap after coming close earlier this year.  The Mallow man earned several caps at boys level and after a three year gap, he’ll be back in Irish colours in Conwy, Wales.  Ireland won an unprecedented fourth title in a row last year, and this year they’ll be hoping to retain the title.

Both Sugrue and O’Keeffe have been on form Continue reading

Munster win Interprovincial Chamionship in Athenry

Interprovincial Championship 2018

The winning Munster team pictured with Team Captain Michael Coote receiving the trophy from John Moloughney, President GUI, picture Fran Caffrey, Golffile.

There was a dramatic finish to the Interprovincial Championship this afternoon, with Geoff Lenehan again sealing a win for Munster.  The Waterville member won the crucial point in 2012 and 2014, and he was at the centre of the action again in Athenry, winning his singles match to give Munster the win against Leinster and the title.

Munster went into day three with a narrow lead, all four teams had one win each, with Munster ranked first on the basis of matches won.  The meant that a win for Munster should have been enough to seal the title.  The foursomes didn’t quite go to plan, with Munster trailing 3-1 at lunchtime.  The only win came from O’Keeffe and Lenehan.  Munster came out firing in the singles though, with Peter O’Keeffe and James Sugrue claiming the first points.  Munster needed five of the seven points to claim the title and with two in the bag the odds favoured the men in blue.  Eanna Griffin brought in a third point and while Andrew McCormack lost, John Hickey won to make it 4-1 with two matches on the course.  Both playing the final Continue reading

Munster lead after Day Two in Athenry, GUI Interprovincial Championship

Sugrue & Michael P

James Sugrue pictured with Michael P Murphy after his win this afternoon.

Munster’s fate is very much on their own hands tomorrow as they have a chance to win the Inter Provincial title in Athenry.  After a narrow loss to Ulster yesterday, the Munster team bounced back today with a strong win over Connacht.  Munster lead 2.5-1.5 after the Foursomes this morning, but they had a strong return in the singles, winning six of the seven matches.

James Sugrue, Eanna Griffin, Peter O’Keeffe and Andrew McCormack all won down 18 in what was a closely fought contest overall.  John Hickey enjoyed a clear-cut 4&3 win against Joe Lyons and Garry O’Flaherty held sway in the back match, beating home favourite David Kitt 3&2.

As Leinster beat Ulster it means that all four teams have one win and one loss going into the final day. With the four team tied, the advantage is with Munster who have the highest number of match wins, they have a 1.5 match lead over Connacht.  If Munster win the chances are they will win the title after a four year gap.

Interpro 2018

Munster v Leinster, 08:40 Foursomes
A McCormack & C Butler v C Rafferty & E Smith; J Sugrue & E Griffin v J Yates & R Brazill; G Lenehan & P O’Keeffe v A Fahey & C Denvir; G O’Flaherty & J Hickey v R Cannon & R Moran Continue reading

Super 69 from Rumley to lead Leinster Students

AIG Barton Shield Munster Final 2018
Thurles Golf Club
Sunday 19th August 2018Eric Rumley came home in three under in Killeen today to sign for a 69 and lead the Leinster Students after the opening round.  Fresh from helping Kinsale to their first AIG Barton Shield title in Thurles on Sunday, the Kinsale man opened with a birdie but gave shots back on the third and fifth holes.  A birdie on the ninth got him back to even par, and set him up for the impressive back nine.  Birdies on the 12th and 13th got him into the red and a final birdie on the par three 18th saw him tie for the lead.  Stackstown’s John McCarthy is also on -3 while there are ten more golfers within three shots in the 54 hole tournament.

Gary Ward is in the top 15 on +3 while Darren Hourihan is in the top 30 two shots back.  The second round gets underway tomorrow morning with the top 45 plus ties qualifying for Friday’s final round.  The holder is John Murphy but he’s unable to defend his title as he returned to the University of Louisville last week.

Leinster Students Amateur Open Championship  Continue reading

O’Flaherty set for 20th Munster Interpro battle

Gary O'Flaherty

Gary O’Flaherty who makes his 20th appearance for Munster at the Interprovincial Championships. Picture: Niall O’Shea

It’s 22 years since Gary O’Flaherty made his Munster debut, as a 17 year old he was thrown into a cauldron dominated by career long elite amateurs.  And O’Flaherty survived.  Now making his 20th appearance on the Munster team, Gary is looking for his sixth win in Blue.  Back in 1996 he pitched up at Mount Juliet for his first outing as Munster tried to retain their title.  Munster did just that, and went to Ballybunion a year later to help Munster win the three in a row.  It was a big event for O’Flaherty, there was no under 16 or under 18 interpro’s back then and he was teeing it up with the elite amateurs from across the country.  “I was in awe of the guys there that week” said Gary when recalling that week.  “I played two singles matches and won both against Colin McElderry and Kevin Flanagan.  I remember watching Eddie Power and Dennis O’Sullivan play, and I tried to copy their games.  Not the longest hitters, but very straight and did very little wrong.  I played foursomes the following year in Ballybunion with Tom Cleary and we won 5.5 out of 6 points.”  O’Flaherty had two caps to his name, along with two wins.  As the years went on, there was not matching the two from two success rate and it would be Continue reading