The Short Game


Liam Halpin shot six birdies and a eagle on his way to setting a new course record at Westport Golf Club last week when he covered the course in a six-under-par 67 to break the record by one. The old record had stood for 10 years and was set by Liam Gibbons in July 1984. Halpin, playing off a handicap of two, was accompanied by his brother Niall and Paddy Duffy, a past captain at Westport. He had three birdies in the first five holes, added two more at the 7th and 16th and an eagle at the 10th, where he holed out his third shot from a greenside bunker. His only concession to par came at the 14th. A former scratch player and a member of Westport since 1979, Halpin had only 25 putts in his excellent round.

There's no substitute for experience in any sport. And the 169 years that golfers Mick Burke and Martin Ryan share between them was put to full use in the scotch foursomes at the open week of the Heath golf club. Burke, who has just turned 86 and his 83-years-young partner amassed a magnificent score of 44 points to win the competition from a field of over 200. Ryan plays off a handicap of 18 and Burke off 22. They started their round with two birdies in the first three holes which compensated for scoring only two points on the last three. But they were still good enough to leave the field trailing two points behind.

One of the most popular golfing quotes is from Gary Player, who insisted that the more he practised the luckier he I'm not sure everyone would agree. Sometimes a sometimes a break from golf can be therapeutic, as Ballaghaderreen lady captain Maura Cawley demonstrated in style last weekend. She returned from a two-week holiday in Kerry, where she took a break from golf, and duly won the Lady President's (Agnes Cassidy) Prize with a marvellous score of 66.

Goals, points and birdies are sure to be the topic of conversation when the Carlow Gaels Golf Society hold their inaugural outing to Borris Golf Club on October 3rd. The aim of the Society is to provide a meeting place for past and present Carlow intercounty GAA players. Those interested should contact Luke Kelly at 056 64753.

Backboned by three of the successful Leinster interprovincial team, Portmarnock won the Leinster section of the Irish Senior Cup when they beat Kilkenny 4-1 in the final at Mount Wolseley on Sunday. In the clash of the champions in the top match, West of Ireland winner, Noel Fox, was a comfortable 5 and 4 winner over Irish Close champion, Eddie Power. Adrian Morrow got the better of former international colleague Padraic O'Rourke and Paul Byrne beat Richard Duggan 4 and 3. Dermot Snow halved with Graham Nugent as did Colin Cassidy with Ger Hogan.

Ardee hold their first Christmas hamper competition on Wednesday, August 26th. Can you believe it? Is this the first in the country?

Republic of Ireland soccer manager, Mick McCarthy and his assistant, Ian Evans will be among those taking part in the FAI golf outing to St Margaret's on Friday. The proceeds will go to the Dublin Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign.

Arklow won the Brennan Cup on Sunday, beating Rathdowney 4-1 in the final. In Saturday's semi-finals, Arklow had beaten Waterford 3-2, while Rathdowney pipped Woodenbridge by a similar margin.

The host clubs all provided the runnersup in three major boys' championships last week. Mark Ryan, from the Grange, won the Wicklow Boys' in Greystones from local junior member David Lewis. But Ryan was pipped by Bodenstown's Niall Gorey in the Dublin Boys' Championship on his home course on Friday. Meanwhile, the Kerry Boys', which is a matchplay event, was won by Youghal's Paul McNamara, who beat local junior John O'Donnell by one hole in the final.

Donabate 19-handicap golfer Angela Rowan was in excellent form during the past couple of weeks. Last Thursday week she was part of the winning open fourball. Then the following Tuesday she won class one of the singles competition with a score of 39 points. With that sort of form it won't be too long before that 19 handicap is reduced significantly.

The Clare v Offaly All-Ireland hurling semi-final replay next Saturday in Croke Park has caused the postponement of Woodstock Golf Club's Fundraising Classic scheduled for next weekend, and The Ennis club has re-scheduled the event for September 4th to 6th.