Galway take the Lyons share again
Joe Lyons seals another Senior Cup win for Galway against Carton House
Galway’s Joe Lyons celebrates winning the AIG Senior Cup at Westport. Photograph: Pat Cashman
When Joe Lyons joined Galway Golf Club in 2003 they didn’t possess an AIG Senior Cup title.
Now they have won win six in the space of 14 years and two of the last three after the 47-year Offaly native hit one of the great clutch shots under pressure to seal the deal at Westport yesterday.
The Connacht champions beat Kildare’s Carton House 3-2 in the shadow of Croagh Patrick with Lyons’ the man of the moment after his dart-like seven-iron from 182 yards pitched two feet left of the flag and finished just 18 inches away, setting up a decisive, two-hole win over Dessie Morgan.
Galway had two points in the bag after Boys international Luke O’Neill beat Darragh Flynn 3&2 and another teenager, Liam Nolan, eased to a 5&4 win over Paul O’Hanlon in the anchor match.
While international Keith Egan beat veteran Eddie McCormack 4&3 and Gary McDermott edged out Irish Close champion Ronan Mullarney by one hole, Lyons was three-up with four to play against Morgan and cruising to victory.
But he three-putted the 16th and 17th to go to the 566-yard 18th with the narrowest of leads and when he was forced to lay up after bunkering his drive, the title was far from secure,
Morgan felt obliged to go for the green in two but he found the penalty area right of the green with his daring second and Lyons was unforgiving, firing a dream almost stone dead to seal the Kildare club’s fate.
“I’d say that added about 10 years to my life there,” said a relieved but happy Lyons, who was unbeaten in the Senior Cup and the Interpros this year. “You want to be there and you want to be in with a chance to win but when it’s all on you the last few holes and you’re my age and three-putt a couple of holes on the way in, you’re kind of thinking: ‘You want to be careful what you wish for.’”
He was proud to win his fourth Senior Cup for Galway, whose deep squad and powerful blend of youth and experience proved a winning formula.
“Myself and Joe slag each other because there’s a month between us in age,” team captain Gerry Cox said. “I have to admit with Eddie (46) and Joe (47) the way that they’ve interacted with the younger guys in the squad this year has been fantastic.”
In the AIG Junior Cup, hosts Westport claimed the title with a resounding 4-1 win over Dun Laoghaire that looks more comfortable on paper that it was in reality. The Mayo men had lost three finals since 2006 but they were not to be denied on home soil yesterday.
Ronan Hehir beat Brian Begley and Ronan Mahon saw off Patrick McCann to make it 2-0 to the hosts but the third point proved elusive until Anto Browne two-putted the 19th from just off the green to beat Jamie Campbell with a priceless par-four.
It was an especially poignant win for Westport following the death on Friday of former club and GUI President Gar Golden.
“He was a great clubman, and he was great for the GUI,” team captain Tony Bree said. “Hopefully, he was looking down on us, and he got us over the line.”
On Saturday, Tandragee claimed their first green pennant in dramatic fashion on Saturday with a 3-2 win over The Island in the AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield. Following a 19th hole win over Conor and Cillian Hurley, John Gartland and Conor McGleenon won the 18th with a gutsy five to take Tandragee’s Jeff Forde and Aidan Place into extra holes.
But Place then hit a 74-yard 54-degree wedge to three feet and Forde nervelessly slotted home the winning putt.
“It’s not good for the heart, I swear to God,” gasped Charleville manager Anthony Fitzgerald after the Cork club made it a ninth successive success for Munster clubs in the event.
“We’re a small club. We’re a club that were going very well a few years ago but the recession hit us. We’re coming back bit by bit and days like today make everything a little bit easier.”
AIG Junior Cup Final
Westport 4 Dun Laoghaire 1: R Hehir bt B Begley 4&3; R Mahon bt P McCann 3&2; A Browne bt J Campbell 19th; F Rothwell bt K Giblin 2 hls; S Larkin lost to S Varian 2&1
AIG Senior Cup Final
Carton House 2 Galway 3: K Egan bt E McCormack 4&3; D Flynn lost to L O’Neill 3&2; G McDermott bt R Mullarney 1 h; D Morgan lost to J Lyons 2 hls; P O’Hanlon lost to L Nolan 5&4
AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield Final (Saturday)
The Island 2 Tandragee 3: J Grant & P Cullen bt B Boyd & J McConville 3&2; JW White & J Blake lost to C Fearon & A Proctor 6&5; C Hurley & C Hurley bt J Quinn & D Acheson 19th; C McCormack & R Govan lost to Jo Haffey & A Thompson 1 h; J Gartland & C McGleenon lost to J Forde & A Place 19th.
AIG Pierce Purcell Shield Final (Saturday) Charleville 3 Castlebar 2: O Kennelly & S Twomey lost to S Haugh & P Rice 3&2; D Deady & T Barry bt R Prendergast & D Prendergast 3&1; P O’Kelly & Ciaran Herlihy bt J Quigley & C Rose 19th; J O’Keeffe & G Mullane bt David Molloy & Val Jennings 1 h; JP Collins & D Deady lost to C Dawson & P Waldron 3&2.
AIG Barton Shield Final (Friday)
Limerick bt Co Sligo 7 holes: C Vaughan & M Reddan bt R O’Connor & T Finnegan 5 hls; O O’Brien & S Enright bt TJ Ford & D Ford 2 hls.