O’Keeffe runner-up at South of Ireland

Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas) in action in the quarter-finals at the South of Ireland Championship at Lahinch Golf Club. Picture: Niall O’Shea

Peter O’Keeffe came agonisingly close to capturing the South of Ireland Championship last week.  O’Keeffe is a major fan of Lahinch and went to the Pierse Motors sponsored South after finding some form at the British Amateur a few weeks ago.  The Douglas golfer opened the Strokeplay qualifier with a two under par 70 to sit just inside the top ten.  A second round 72 ensured that he finished in the top 25, comfortably qualifying for the matchplay stage.  On Friday he had a tough assignment but dispatched two Irish Internationals.  In the first round he beat Marc Boucher by two holes and on Friday afternoon he wrapped up his match against Alex Maguire with a 3 & 2 win on the 16th green.  Saturday’s matches would Continue reading

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

Desmond is King of the South

Sean Desmond South of Ireland Winner_1

South of Ireland Champion Sean Desmond.  Pic: Brian Arthur

Sean Desmond took full advantage of a South of Ireland that was full of shocks to become the 118th winner of the famous championship.  Desmond was a part of those shocks, beating Irish Internationals Conor Purcell and Tiarnan McLarnon.  His  good run started on Wednesday when he shot a five under par 67 in the fine conditions in Lahinch.  Although he followed with a 78 on day two it was enough to finish in the top thirty to get safely through to the matchplay.  There was an impressive list of golfers in the top 64, but after just two rounds of matchplay ten of the top ranked players were gone.  Desmond was part of that, beating Walker Cup panelist Conor Purcell on the 18th green in the second round.  Desmond was on fire on Saturday morning, but that was the standard needed – he was four under through nine holes and all square with Paul Coughlan, he went on to win on the 17th.  Later on Saturday afternoon he took out another international, he beat Tiarnan McLarnon in the fourth round when the match went to the 19th hole.  With his cousin Eoin Sawyer on the bag for the week resilience seemed to be Desmond’s theme for the tournament,  whether it was a big gun or a few bad holes, Desmond took it one hole at a time and battled when he needed to.

Gallery: South of Ireland Saturday

That win on Saturday evening took him through to this mornings semi-final where he faced Sligo native Sean Flanagan.  Desmond was up at the turn but things changed on the back nine when Flanagan went ahead.  Even though Sean’s drive on the 17th ended up on the 15th fairway, he made a great recovery and birdied the hole to get back to level terms.  He went on to birdie the 18th with a clutch five footer to advance to the final.

Sean Desmond Golffile_2

The Champion!  Pic: Thos Caffrey, Golffile

The Monkstown man faced Keith Egan in the final, and his opponent had also slayed a few giants.  The Carton House member had a good start and was two up after three.  Desmond hung in there, the resilience came to the fore again and he pegged back Egan to level.  He went ahead on the 13th but lost his lead on the 16th.  A nine foot par putt on the 17th gave him a lead going up 18. When Egan missed his birdie, that effectively crowned Desmond as the Champion.  It was another amazing five days in Lahinch, with the course, the club, the village and the atmosphere making it one of the most popular events on the calendar.

See the action from the final green below thanks for Brian Keogh:

 

O’Mahony goes low in Lahinch, South of Ireland Day Two…

Douglas Senior Scratch Cup 2019_Greg O'Mahony_4

Greg O’Mahony after winning the Douglas Scratch Cup earlier this year

Greg O’Mahony was the only Cork golfer to break par on a tough day in Lahinch today.  The Fota Island golfer went around in three under as the wind and rain tested golfers.

A total of eight golfers made the cut for tomorrow’s matchplay.  Peter O’Keeffe finished his 36 holes on one under and Sean Desmond was two shots behind.  Cork duo Gary O’Flaherty and Paul Buckley were both safely through on +2, and Cathal Butler had to endure a short wait before all of the +4’s were safely inside the top 59.  With James Sugrue and John Murphy, there will be a strong Cork challenge tomorrow with eight golfers hoping to make it through the first round.

Gallery: South of Ireland Day 2, strokeplay qualifier second round

Play gets underway at 7am tomorrow, with the second round starting after the completion of the first round matches.  Live scoring will be available at regular intervals.

South of Ireland Matchplay Draw

7.00am: James Sugrue v Jack Doherty
7.36am: Peter O’Keeffe v James Fox
7.45am: Paul Buckley v Shane O’Connor
8.48am: John Murphy v Aaron Ryan
10.18am: Greg O’Mahony v Evan Farrell
10.45am: Sean Desmond v Jack Ryan
11.12am: Cathal Butler v Ronan Mullarney
11.21am: Gary O’Flaherty v TJ Ford