Shay’s Short Game: Ireland name Home Internationals team

Castleknock’s Paul Coughlan has won the Midland Scratch Cup in Carlow Golf Club

Ireland has named its team for the Home Internationals at Conwy Golf Club in Wales starting on Wednesday. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland has named its team for the Home Internationals at Conwy Golf Club in Wales starting on Wednesday. Photograph: Inpho

 

Four new faces on Irish team

Ireland has named four new faces in the team that will be seeking a fifth successive win in the Home Internationals at Conwy Golf Club in Wales starting on Wednesday.

AIG Irish Close champion Robbie Cannon from Balbriggan returns to the side after an nine-year absence while Massereene’s Tiarnan McLarnon, a debutant in 2016, is recalled following a solid season that included victory in the recent Mullingar Scratch Trophy.

Galway’s Ronan Mullarney, Kilkenny’s Mark Power, Mallow’s James Sugrue and Naas’ Jonathan Yates - four players who have excelled in recent seasons - receive their first caps with Robin Dawson from Tramore, Castle’s Alex Gleeson, Douglas’ Peter O’Keeffe, Portmarnock’s Conor Purcell and Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty all returning to form the backbone of the side.

With Hermitage’s Rowan Lester unavailable due to college commitments, the team presents six changes from 2017 with Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell missing the entire season due to injury and Colin Fairweather (Knock), John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead), Paul McBride (The Island) and Conor O’Rourke (Naas) all turning professional.

Kinsale’s John Murphy, who represented Ireland in last week’s Eisenhower Trophy, and Wentworth and Killiney’s Eoin Leonard, who reached the Irish Close final and qualified for the US Amateur, were unavailable for selection due to college golf commitments.

Home Internationals, Conwy Golf Club, Wales, September 12-14th : Robbie Cannon, Balbriggan; Robin Dawson, Tramore; Alex Gleeson, Castle; Tiarnan McLarnon, Massereene; Ronan Mullarney, Galway; Peter O’Keeffe, Douglas; Mark Power, Kilkenny; Conor Purcell, Portmarnock; Caolan Rafferty, Dundalk; James Sugrue, Mallow; Jonathan Yates, Naas. Team Captain: John Carroll (Bandon), Team Manager: Niall MacSweeney (Athenry). National Coach: Neil Manchip

Midland Trophy for Coughlan

Castleknock’s Paul Coughlan claimed his first major scratch cup when he won the prestigious Boylesports sponsored Midland Scratch Cup by three strokes at Carlow Golf Club.

Once a 72-hole classic with a list of past champions that includes Joe Carr, Peter McEvoy, Mark Gannon and Pádraig Harrington, it was a 36-hole affair again this year with Coughlan firing rounds of 71 and 70 to win on one-over-par 141.

Thurles’ Aaron Ryan was second on 144 after a pair of 72s with Killeen Castle’s Paraic Connolly third on 145 thanks to rounds of 75 and 70.

Castle’s Jack Walsh shot 71-75 to finish fourth on six-over 146, edging out Woodbrook three-handicapper Conor Byrne who was the only player to break par, opening with two-under 68 before carding a 78 in the second round.

Mullarney tops as Maynooth claim double success

Ronan Mullarney came out on top in a playoff for the individual title as Maynooth University claimed double success in the Stirling International Students’ Tournament. The Galway man birdied the 18th to card a five-under 67 to match Durham’s James Glenn, who shot 70, on eight under par on the Torrance Course at Fairmont, St Andrews.

Returning to the first for the playoff, Mullarney notched a textbook birdie three to claim the title with teammate Caolan Rafferty snatching third place on three-under after closing 72 - ideal preparation for both as they head to Conwy for next week’s Home Internationals where Ireland will be going for their fifth Raymond Trophy victory in a row.

Maynooth’s strong finish saw them crowned team champions for the first time with a three-round total of 10 under par giving them 13 strokes to spare over Stirling I.

Eanna Griffin and Jordan Hood tied for tenth (St Andrews Peter Kerr was tied 13th) with TJ Ford solo 12th.

Maynooth finished fifth in the women’s competition with Eleanor Metcalfe tied for eighth on five over with Rachel Thompson tied 11th and Ciara Casey 13th behind Stirling’s Nicola Slater.

Stirling I took the honours in the women’s event, winning by eight strokes from St Andrews I.

Tie-hole victory for The K Club in JB Carr Trophy

Three matches went to tie holes before The K Club eased to a 3-2 win over defending champions Portumna in the final of the JB Carr Diamond Trophy at Woodenbridge.

Gerry Madden and Martin Kennedy edged Portumna in front with a 19th hole win over Brian Rogers and David Synnott before The K Club pairing of Tom Freeman and John Stewart squared matters by winning on the 20th against Gene McEntee and Willie Carty.

Matches three and four went one to each club with Portumna’s John Cormican and Danny Losty winning one up against Aidan Brady and Dan O’Gorman before Eamon Daly and Tony Kelly brough the score to 2-2 with a 3 and 2 win over Mike Coniry and Dick Quinlivan.

So it was all down to the final match where Brendan McDonnell and Arthur French got The K Club over the line with a 19th hole win against Matt Donohoe and Mick Keyes to give The K Club their second national title after their success in the 2007 Irish Mixed Foursomes.

The All-Ireland scotch foursome competition started in 1996 when legendary Joe Carr donated a silver salver that he won in the Irish Close in 1951 to support an annual seniors competition. Carr was an honorary member of Woodenbridge, in Co Wicklow, for over a quarter of a century.

A record entry of 186 teams from 31 counties (only Leitrim was without representation) kicked off the 23rd JB Carr competition during the wet and windy days of April this year. An incredible 4,500 rounds of golf were played with the semi-finals and finals taking place in Woodenbridge Golf. Provincial winners were decided in August, with Portumna (Galway) taking the title in Connacht, Templemore (Tipperary) in Munster, Ballybofey and Stranorlar (Donegal) in Ulster and The K Club (Kildare) in Leinster. Templemore secured third place with a 3½ - 1½ win over Ballybofey and Stranorlar.

Louth pair win East of Ireland Foursomes

Co Louth’s Adam Doran and Oonagh Purfield-Goulding claimed the East of Ireland Mixed Foursomes Championship at Castleknock Golf.

After round one, which was played in mostly sunny but blustery conditions, two pairs were tied on 74, Jack Hopley and Jessica Ross from Clandeboye and Doran and Purfield-Goulding one shot ahead of the field heading into the final 18 Holes. Conditions changed in the afternoon and the course proved even more testing with high winds, but Doran and Purfield-Goulding continued to lead the way and returned a 76 to finish on 150.

Ross Steedman and Katie O’Hart from Courtown after rounds of 75 and 75 finished one behind in second place while Marc Nolan (Dun Laoghaire) and Lauren Murray (Delgany) who were Championship winners in 2017, finished four strokes behind the leaders to take third place on a count back from Hopley and Ross after both finished on 154. The best nett in the Championship was won by Paul Whelan and Aisling Costelloe from Gowran Park.

Second Munster Mid-Amateur for O’Flaherty

Cork’s Gary O’Flaherty claimed his second Munster Mid-Amateur title in Lee Valley overcoming a three-shot deficit to win. O’Flaherty previously won in Limerick in 2011 and he needed steady golf to navigate a windy Lee Valley. A solid round of 70 (-2) with a single bogey saw him overtake the clubhouse leader Alan Thomas from Dungarvan. With Thomas in on two over after a fine 69 it looked like a play-off may be required. But a great birdie on the last gave O’Flaherty the lead and the title. That came from a great approach from 160 yards that finished five feet from the hole. Thomas took second place to finish one behind, and David O’Donovan (Muskerry) shot a final round 70 to take third place. Overnight leader Kieran O’Donoghue finished with a three over par 75 to take fourth place.

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