It 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.
McSweeney 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
1st Donal McSweeney, Walter Doyle, Jack Howard, Cian McNamara
2nd Tim Rice, Eanna Jones, Padraig Dooley, Kevin McGrath
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.
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:
Pictures from the third round in Lahinch: Continue reading
Pictures from this afternoon in Lahinch: Continue reading
Pictures from a wet and windy Lahinch this morning: Continue reading
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
Pictures from Lahinch on Thursday afternoon: Continue reading
Gameface; Peter O’Keeffe in action in the South of Ireland in Lahinch last year
Following his great performance at the North of Ireland two weeks ago, Peter O’Keeffe kept the championship momentum going with an opening 68 in Lahinch today. The opening round of the South of Ireland got underway today in benign conditions, and O’Keeffe was the first of the early starters to post a low score. The Douglas golfer started with a hot hand, birdieing the first two holes. He gave a shot back on the Klondyke, he got it back on the 9th to turn on three under.
Another birdie followed on the 10th and Peter had eight steady pars before a final birdie on the last. That put him in the clubhouse lead, although lower scores would follow. Cathal Butler had shot a 71 (-1), and Sean Desmond would follow with an impressive 67 later in the morning. Paul Buckley and Greg O’Mahony both shot level par, and Paul Tobin and Gary O’Flaherty finished on 73 to Continue reading
Douglas and Cork both made it as far as the semi-finals of the Ladies Irish Senior Cup which took place in Thurles over the weekend. Douglas faced Kinsale in the first round and it was the city side who won. Sara Byrne, Karen O’Neill, Clodagh Coughlan and Jemma Barry all recorded wins while Kate McCann halved her match. While it was a good win for Douglas it should be noted that Kinsale gave up over 40 shots in total in the five matches. In the second round Douglas were up against local opposition again, this time it was East Cork. Douglas led from the start with Byrne, O’Neill and Coughlan winning their matches. That was as good as it would get for Douglas as they lost out to Lahinch in the semi-final. The handicaps were going against Douglas in this match, with 16 shots between the two sides. Chloe Ryan and Sinead Sexton (both playing off +3) won the first two matches, and the contest was over when Lahinch’s Sarah Cunningham won on the 16th. Lahinch would go on to have an impressive win over Killarney in the final on Sunday aftermoon.
Cork had a good start on Saturday with an opening win over Ballybunion in the first round. There were wins for Rachel Thompson, Claire Coughlan Ryan and recently returned Paula Walsh while Miriam Abernethy and Ailish Thompson were Continue reading
Pictures from the prize-giving in Lahinch: Continue reading