Monkstown in Great Condition

Monkstown’s Shane Horgan returning to play after the lockdown, pictured with Club Professional Cian McNamara.

Greenkeepers across the county have been busy.  They spent two months preparing courses during the lockdown and since the reopening they have been working hard as golfers have filled every available timeslot.  Monkstown has been in high demand and Captain Shane Horgan has been delighted with the results from the hard work put in by the greenkeeping team.  “The course has been in amazing condition since re-opening and it has been getting really positive reviews from members” said Horgan.  “It’s in as good a condition as I have ever seen it.  We’re really lucky to have an exceptional course staff, led by Martin Travers, who has been with the Club for over 30 years, and they have done an amazing job to keep the course in magnificent shape both Continue reading

Swift End to Murphy’s College Season

John Murphy

11 days and it was all over.  On the 13th March the NCAA announced the cancellation of the college golf season, and by the 24th John Murphy was on a plane heading home.  Instead of heading to Sawgrass CC in Florida for the second last regular season tournament, John Murphy was headed home.  Although he had planned to sit things out in Louisville, the fear of missing a summer of golf in Ireland was part of the decision to come home, and after three years in the University of Louisville, college life looked like it was over for the Kinsale man.  The plans to compete in the NCAA Regionals and the NCAA Championships were gone, the exams and graduation plans were changed, and an important trip to Louisville for his parents Carmel and Owen were all cancelled.    While the wider public health issues are far more important, it was a crushing blow for Murphy who was having a really strong season.  Murphy had two individual wins on the Division One circuit and three team wins.  It was a great season for Murphy in many respects.  He comfortably maintained his ranking in the WAGR top 150 and he came back to Cork with his head high, happy that he had seen more improvements in his game in his final year.

“My senior year certainly filled me with confidence” explained Murphy.  “It was great to be recognized on a national stage and I had a lot of fun on the golf course and continued to learn and grow as a player.  I had certainly put in some good work the last few years and put myself in a Continue reading

Masters Disappointment for Sugrue

James Sugrue pictured at home in Mallow with his invitation to the 2020 Masters Tournament.

The most disappointed golfer in Cork must have been James Sugrue.  The Mallow man was preparing for his trip to Augusta and on Friday it was confirmed that the Masters would be postponed.  Sugrue was on the BBC on Friday evening and like all other golfer fans you could sense his disappointment after the announcement was made.  A group of around twenty friends and family were planning to travel to the Masters and like many others they’re now waiting for the new date to be announced.  For Sugrue the postponement means that the plans for the season may change.  Sugrue had indicated that he’s probably turn professional in the summer after the US Open but those plans may have to change if he needs to retain his amateur status for a deferred Masters.  The same may apply to the

John Murphy

John Murphy was another golfer to be affected by the cancellation of competitions.  On Friday the NCAA announced the suspension of all college sports, effectively meaning that Murphy’s Louisville college career was over.  Murphy has been in a rich vein of form and saw his ranking rise to inside the top 50 in Division One stats.  Louisville had also risen to 14th in the national rankings meaning that a good post-season performance was within reach.  With all golf suspended for the remainder pf the season, Murphy now has a few more weeks of online lectures before he takes his finals.  Kinsale teammate Mark Healy is in a similar position, although he can return for another year in Tusculum Tennessee.  Murphy on the other hand is a senior and this was his final year in Kentucky.  He did put the brightside out on Monday when he tweeted a video hurling in the Cardinal Stadium football pitch.  The tweet went viral and brought a smile to many faces at a time when there was little to smile about.

Like most other sports golf has come to a standstill, and this week several clubs in Cork decided to close completely in light of the recent government advice.  Many clubs continued to hold club competitions over the weekend while adhering to the new guidelines on social distancing.  Following the weekend and the closure of pubs, there was a marked change with several courses closing.  Some clubs have cancelled club competitions but have allowed members to play.  Golfers were asked to observe the now usual norms of social distancing and not to engage in any handshakes.  Flags were removed from some courses with semi-permanent holes being cut in the middle of the greens.  Most clubhouses are now closed in line with the recommendations that came out on Sunday evening.  The likelihood of inter-club events and championships taking place in the next few months are also in doubt .

Gallery: Munster Golf Awards 2019

Pictures from the awards evening in Mallow:

McSweeney wins Morgan O’Donovan Trophy

Donal McSweeney_Morgan O'Donovan Trophy 2019It may have taken three attempts but the 2019 staging of the Morgan O’Donovan Perpetual Trophy was completed on Monday, with Lahinch’s Donal McSweeney winning.  Two earlier attempts to hold the event in Monkstown were rained off, and rather than cancel this year’s event the Munster PGA committee decided to hold the event in Castletroy which was part of the autumn run of winter series events.  The Lahinch Head Professional had three birdies in his opening four holes in Castletroy giving him an excellent start.  Two bogies on the 9th and 10th pegged him back but the Charleville native finished well to post a winning score of 54 stokes for his 14 holes.  It was a north Cork 1-2 as Mark Collins from Charleville came in on one under thanks to four birdies and three pars.  Ballyneety’s Walter Doyle was third on 56 (L) while there were six golfers tied on +1.  Donal McSweeeny is the latest winner of the prestigious trophy, joining Damien McGrane, David Higgins and David Ryan who are among the previous winners.  Morgan O’Donovan was a very popular PGA Professional who passed away in 2012.  The event has been held since 2013 and is usually hosted by Monkstown Golf Club where Morgan was Club Professional.

Castletroy Munster PGA 2019McSweeney also won the team event, partnering with Walter Doyle, Jack Howard and Cian McNamara they carded ten birdies.  Tim Rice, Eanna Jones, Padraig Dooley and Kevin McGrath were second with nine birdies.  The event was kindly sponsored by Gary O’Flaherty from Cobra/Puma Golf.

Morgan O’Donovan Perpetual Trophy
1st Donal McSweeney – Lahinch  GC 54 (-2)
2nd Mark Collins – Charleville GC 55
3rd Walter Doyle – Ballyneety GC 56
4th Mark Beckett – The Golf Course at Adare Manor 57
4th Tim Rice – Limerick GC 57
4th Cian McNamara – Monkstown GC 57
4th Jack Ryan – Castletroy GC 57
4th Gary Howie – Castletroy GC 57
4th Kevin McGrath – Kevin McGrath Golf 57

Team Prize
1st Donal McSweeney, Walter Doyle, Jack Howard, Cian McNamara
2nd Tim Rice, Eanna Jones, Padraig Dooley, Kevin McGrath