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

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

Munster win against Connacht, Senior Interprovincials

2017 Interprovincial Matches at Carlow Golf Club

Peter Sinclair (President, GUI) presenting Seamus McParland (Team Captain) with the 2017 Interprovincial trophy after Leinster victory at Carlow Golf Club today (05/07/2017). Also in the picture in front (from left) John Cullen (Team Manager), Moling Lennon (Captain, Carlow Golf Club) and John Ferriter (Chairman, Leinster Golf, GUI). Team members at back (from left) Caolan Rafferty, Jake Whelan, Eugene Smith, Jonathan Yates, Mark Power, Alan Lowry, Conor Purcell and Daniel Holland. Picture by Pat Cashman

Munster had a very strong closing performance in the final day of the Senior Interprovincials.  They won both sessions to claim a win against Connacht which gave some satisfaction after two tough days.  Foursomes wins from O’Keeffe and McCormack meant that the pair were unbeaten in three matches.  Gary O’Flaherty and Geoff Lenehan picked up their second win as a pair and Jack Pierse and John Murphy secured a half to win the session.  Afternoon wins from O’Keeffe, Lenehan, Griffin, Pierse and O’Flaherty secured the win for Munster.  Unfortunately Munster could only finish 3rd, losing a spot on the countback to Ulster.  The third place probably didn’t reflect how close Munster came to a win.  They were within one match of halving with Leinster and Ulster battled back to claim a half on Tuesday.  Leinster completed their first hat-trick since 1964 by winning a third successive Interprovincial Championship at Carlow.

Not since that great side of the ’60s won four on the trot from ’62 to ’65 have Leinster managed such a streak. And with three wins on the board, this was a thumping success.

Following wins against Munster and Connacht, Leinster only needed to halve with Ulster in order to retain the title but they made certain anyway, victorious for the third day running.  Dominant Continue reading

Munster set for Interpro’s, Day 1 at Carlow Golf Club

Phil Cooney, Captain of the Munster Senior Interprovincial Team

Phil Cooney

Munster Captain Phil Cooney has named his pairings for this mornings foursomes match which tee’s off in Carlow at 8am.  Peter O’Keeffe and Andrew McCormack lead out the Munster side which will face Leinster.  The seven golfers to contest the singles will be announced later this morning with the singles scheduled to get underway at 1pm.

Cooney is looking for his third interprovincial title and has a strong team in place to challenge.

Munster v Leinster (Foursomes)

Peter O’Keeffe & Andrew McCormack
v
Jonathan Yates & Mark Power

John Murphy & James Sugrue
v
Caolan Rafferty & Eugene Smith

Geoff Lenehan & Jack Pierse
v
Conor Purcell & Jake Whelan

Gary O’Flaherty & Eanna Griffin
v
Daniel Holland & Alan Lowry

Munster Debuts for Murphy & Sugrue

John Murphy of Ireland during the final round

John Murphy, Pic: Tristan Jones

John Murphy and James Sugrue are set to make the Munster senior debuts next month in Carlow, they are two of three new caps to be named on the Munster Senior Interprovincial team.  Both Murphy and Sugrue have represented Munster at Boys level and are set to join the senior ranks in a new look team.  Captain Phil Cooney has named Murphy, Sugrue and Dublin based Jack Pierse in a team that see’s four changes from last year.  Waterford’s Eanna Griffin has also been named in the side that see’s four changes from last year.

It’s the biggest shake up in several years, although all eight golfers were the form players over the past few months, they took the top eight spots on the qualifying order of merit.  Cooney along with selectors John Carroll and Michael Coote had four picks to make after Peter O’Keeffe, Robin Dawson, John Murphy and Continue reading

Foursome Changes for Munster Men, Ladies & Girls matches Day 2

2016 Interprovincial Championship at Fota Island Golf Club

Robin Dawson (Munster) lines up his putt at the 15th green during the second day of the 2016 Interprovincial Championship at Fota Island. Picture by Pat Cashman

After another disappointing day for Munster yesterday, Munster have made several changes to their foursome pairings for the final match against Connacht.  Robin Dawson and Cathal Butler pair off in the opening match and Peter O’Keeffe and John Hickey have been paired in the second match.  Andrew McCormack and Geoff Lenehan play together in the third pairing while Munster stalwarts Pat Murray and Gary O’Flaherty team up in the back match.  Munster had a very Continue reading

Tough day at the office for Munster

GUI Interprovincial Championships 2016Munster endured a tough opening day at the Interprovincial Championships at Fota Island today.  Despite having local knowledge they struggled in the foursomes with Peter O’Keeffe and Cathal Butler takings Munster’s only win.  Munster’s Gary O’Flaherty and Andrew McCormack scrambled for a very good half in their match, having been down earlier in the game.  The singles were very disappointing for Munster with Andrew McCormack winning Munster’s only point.  The experienced side will need to bounce back strongly tomorrow to give themselves a chance of winning on Wednesday.

Gallery: Interprovincials Day 1

Munster face Leinster tomorrow in the second day of matches.  Leinster had a narrow win over Connacht.  Ulster lead the standings with Leinster in second place, Connacht are third with Munster in Continue reading

Butler, McCormack & O’Keeffe earn Munster places

 

Fota Island Top Golfer Senior Scratch Cup 2016

Cathal Butler  pictured with the Fota Island Senior Scratch Cup. 

There are three new picks on the 2016 Munster team, as Captain Phil Cooney plots to win this third interprovincial title in five years as captain.

Newly capped Cathal Butler jointly topped the order of merit, and the Kinsale man is one of three members of the team joining the team.  His order of merit placing was predominantly down to his performance in winning the Munster Strokeplay in May, but also his performances in the East of Ireland and the Irish Amateur Open added valuable points.  Butler has spent the winter working with the Harrington Scholars golf programme in Maynooth University where he is also a full time student.

As well as access to top level training and fitness programmes, Cathal also played in the competitive Hilary Golf Society outings in Dublin through the winter.  He’s also a member of the Irish Mens development squad and Butler is just back after competing for Ireland in the World University Championships in Brive.  Butler also beat a top class field in Fota Island in March to win the Senior Scratch Cup which bodes well as the inter-pro’s are being held on the same Deerpark course.

Andrew McCormack from Castletroy was also an Continue reading

O’Flaherty looking forward to Interpro Challenge

Munster Strokeplay Championship 2016

Gary O’Flaherty pictured during the Munster Strokeplay at Cork Golf Club in May. Picture: Niall O’Shea

It’s been 20 years since Gary O’Flaherty made his debut on the Munster Inter-provincial team and the Cork Golf Club member is really looking forward to the 2016 event in Fota Island next week.  O’Flaherty won on that original outing in Mount Juliet and has been on five winning teams.  In that time the Munster and Irish golfer has won numerous individual and team titles but he is still very fond of the interpro’s and has some great memories.  “There are so many good ones” said O’Flaherty. “being 4 down after 9 holes in foursomes against Rory McIlroy & Johnny Caldwell in Ballyliffin in 2006 is probably the best.  Myself and Pat Murray managed to reel off five birdies to go one up, only to be pegged back on 16 where McIlroy holed from 40ft for an eagle.  We halved the match in the end.”  Golf has moved on a lot, even in the ten years since Ballyliffin, and many top amateurs are now effectively full time with easy access to all the Irish and International championships.  The senior interpro’s remain an important part of the Irish golfing calendar and Gary still sees the competition as one of the most important in the year: “I believe it’s very important.  It gives guys a goal at the start of the season.  Not everyone can make Irish teams and compete in championships every week, so it’s great to be able to compete against the best for a few days.  It also gives selectors a chance to see how guys are in a team environment, as well as playing foursomes together.”  Gary is also a big fan of Munster Captain Phil Cooney who has helped deliver two titles for Munster in the past four years.  He’s also a fan of the team spirit that Phil promotes: “I think so, it’s very important to have a good team atmosphere. Any year we have Continue reading