Gorey ends McDermott’s dream of West of Ireland win at Rosses Point

Kildare native recovered from losing the 17th with a winning par at first extra hole

Muskerry’s Niall Gorey: claimed  a 19th hole quarter-final win. Photograph: Inpho

Muskerry’s Niall Gorey: claimed a 19th hole quarter-final win. Photograph: Inpho


You know you’re doing something right when you impress such an august triumvirate as former West of Ireland champions Des Smyth, Barry Reddan and Declan Branigan with your play in freezing 30mph gales.

But Muskerry’s Niall Gorey was too busy to notice the presence of the famous Drogheda threesome as he crushed Gary McDermott’s dream of becoming the first Co Sligo winner of the title for 63 years with a 19th hole quarter-final win.

Beaten in the semi-finals by Alan Dunbar two years ago, the 32-year-old Kildare native lost a three up lead by the 11th but birdied the 15th into the teeth of the wind by hitting with a sensational, 186-yard four iron to six feet to go one up – “the best shot I’ve hit in my life” – and then recovered from losing the 17th with a winning par at the first extra hole.

He faces 21-year-old Mourne international Reeve Whitson, the Spanish Amateur Open champion, in the last four but will not be using age as an excuse after being persuaded by his wife to continue chasing his dream of an amateur “major” win.

McDermott, 31, was left to rue a three putt at the 14th that allowed his former Ireland foursomes partner to escape with a half in double bogey sixes having put his second in the hazard. “It hurts,” said McDermott, who got a bad lie in the left semi-rough at the 19th and failed to get up and down from short of the green. Whitson crushed England’s Henry Featherstone 5 and 4 and Carton House’s Shane McGlynn 5 and 3 to cruise into the last four.

On the other side of the draw, Belvoir Park’s Harry Diamond can match pal Rory McIlroy by becoming the first man to successfully defend the title since the Holywood star in 2006.

The 28-year-old international beat Newlands’ Andrew Hogan 3 and 2 in the morning before holding off 17-year-old Boys international Robin Dawson of Faithlegg by 3 and 2 in the afternoon. But he faces a tough semi-final against leading qualifier Rory McNamara of Headfort, who edged out former winner Rory Leonard of Banbridge by one hole in the third round before relying heavily on his putter to close out a 3 and 2 win over Rathsallagh’s Jack Hume in the afternoon.

Hume had to go to the 22nd to beat West Waterford’s Gary Hurley in the morning but it was reigning North of Ireland champion McNamara who complained of fatigue in the afternoon.

“My legs were gone on the back nine today,” said 23-year old McNamara, who eagled the 12th from four feet to take a crucial two up lead. “If the putter hadn’t been working it could have been a different story with Jack hitting fairways and greens, but I kept it together.”

WEST OF IRELAND AMATEUR OPEN (sponsored by Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa), Co Sligo GC Third round: S McGlynn (Carton House) bt P McBride (The Island) 5/4; R Whitson (Mourne) bt H Featherstone (Ringway, UK) 5/4; G McDermott (Co Sligo) bt N Grant (Knock) 3/2; N Gorey (Muskerry) bt G Lappin (Belvoir Park) 2/1; H Diamond (Belvoir Park) bt A Hogan (Newlands) 3/2; R Dawson (Faithlegg) bt E Arthurs (Forrest Little) 4/2; R McNamara (Headfort) bt R Leonard (Banbridge) 1 hole; J Hume (Rathsallagh) bt G Hurley (West Waterford) at 22nd. Quarter-finals: R Whitson bt S McGlynn 5/3; N Gorey bt G McDermott 19th; H Diamond bt R Dawson (Faithlegg) 3/2; R McNamara bt J Hume 3/2. Today: Semi-finals: (8am) R Whitson v N Gorey, (8.15) H Diamond v R McNamara. Final: 1.30pm.