Sean Desmond (Monkstown) teeing off the 9th in Lahinch during the third round of the South of Ireland Championship. Pic: Niall O’Shea
Sean Desmond and Greg O’Mahony are set to earn their first Munster senior caps having been named in the Munster Interprovincial team today. The Cork duo are among three new faces in the Munster team that also see’s Pat Murray return after missing out last year. Captain Michael Coote and Manager George Mellerick have assembled a strong team as Munster hope to retain the title. Desmond was a strong contender for a spot after winning the South Of Ireland earlier this month, and although be missed out on an automatic spot he was certainly to the forefront of the selectors minds. Greg O’Mahony also picks up his first cap on the back of solid championship performances. He reached the last 32 in the South and the last 16 in the Irish Close in Ballybunion earlier this week. Pat Murray makes a welcome return to the team, the Tipperary native has a long and distinguished record and his matchplay experience will balance the young look to the team.
Peter O’Keeffe and Eanna Griffin were automatic picks having finished in the top three in Continue reading
Just two Cork golfers remain from the six that started in Ballybunion this morning. Cathal Butler and Greg O’Mahony are through to the last 16 in the AIG Irish Close in Ballybunion. Butler is on a good run of form at the moment, and he was delighted to come through the first two rounds considering the challenge that the Old Course put up. “It was blowing an absolute gale, so there was serious ball control needed” said the Kinsale man. “Obviously I had some bad holes and plenty of bogies thrown in but managed to get over the line. I just didn’t get down at all no matter what was thrown at me.” Cathal had beat Jordan Hood on the 18th this morning, and he won 3&1 over Conor Ryan this afternoon. Butler had plenty of home support in Ballybunion with all the lads staying on to support him. “Shane O’Connell from Kinsale caddied for me at the end of my first match and in the afternoon and he was a huge help. John Murphy, Gary Ward, Robbie Walsh and Eric Rumley came out to support me and it was a huge help to get me over the line especially when conditions were so tough. I love Ballybunion, it requires such precision with approach shots – it’s not easy though”
Butler will now face Portmarnock’s Continue reading
Six Cork golfers made it through the first test in Ballybunion this weekend, they’ve qualified for the matchplay stage of the AIG Irish Close Championship. In testing weather conditions the Old Course played much tougher than Saturday. Peter O’Keeffe ended up as the top Corkman, his level par round today saw him finish in 11th, 21 places higher than yesterday. Greg O’Mahony, Cathal Butler and John Murphy have all matched their Lahinch achievements in making the matchplay – although in Murphy’s case he had to qualify this time, doing so comfortably with three shots to spare. Mel Deasy made it through to his first championship matchplay he was the best of the +8’s and is through to tomorrow’s draw. South Champion Sean Desmond added a second 75 today to also finish on +8, he is through to the matchplay, hoping his form from Lahinch will continue. For a while it looked like Deasy, and especially Desmond would miss out, but as the afternoon score came in, all the +8’s were safely through and there was even a few +9’s to qualify. Overnight leader Ronan Mullarney added a three under par 68 to yesterday’s 65 to finish as top qualifier on -9. Eoin Leonard shot a best of the day 67 to Continue reading
The AIG Irish Close Championship got underway this morning in Ballybunion, with Kinsale’s Cathal Butler posting the low score to hold the clubhouse lead for most of the day. Despite delays due to a funeral and a nosebleed, over 130 golfers were out on the Old Course today. They were completing the first of two rounds to determine the top 64 qualifiers to go through to the matchplay stages starting on Monday.
After a good performance in Lahinch, Butler made to most of his early start. He had three birdies in a row from the 4th to the 6th, and added another on the 8th to turn on three under. Butler got to -4 on the 16th, but a bogey on the last saw him sign for 68, goo enough to hold the clubhouse lead for much of the day. The former Kerry Boys winner played very will in Lahinch last week, and he’ll be hoping that the good golf will continue as he aims to reach the final stages in Ballybunion. Butler is three behind Ronan Mullarney who opened with a blistering 6 under. Clubmate Gary Ward also finished in the red, he shot a one under par 70, thanks in part to a tasty eagle three Continue reading
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
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
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
Monkstown’s Sean Desmond won the Munster Students title in Tipperary today, holding onto his second round lead. It was a steady round for Desmond, on hiw way to a first championship win. A birdie on the fourth put him into the red on -1 for the tournament, but he bogied the next hole to go back to level par. Another bogey followed on the 10th but that was the last error and the Monkstown man parred his way back to the clubhouse to finish on +1 for the tournament. Paul Conroy (Enniscorthy) took second place after a closing 72, two shots behind on +3 while Tom Dowdall (Woodbrook) took third place on +6. Maynooth A, represented by Darragh Flynn, Aaron Ryan and Robert Abernethy won the team prize.
Gary Ward was the next best Cork player, he was tenth while Paul Tobin and Mark Healy both finished in the top twenty. Desmond now adds his name Continue reading