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Good start to inter-club competitions for Dundalk Golf Club

Good start to inter-club competitions for Dundalk Golf Club

There’s been a good start to the commencement of inter-club competitions for 2020 at Dundalk Golf Club with two of the club’s three teams recording first round victories over the past week.

On Thursday, the Senior Cup team had a narrow 3-2 win over Laytown & Bettytown who had won the regional qualifier last year in Dundalk and, with three matches of the five matches being played on the famous Co Meath links, they were favourites to advance.

The match was decided in Laytown after it finished 1-1 in Dundalk where Aaron Grant played some great golf to see off Jack McDonnell who had won the Balbriggan Scratch Cup the previous Sunday. McDonnell was five under through the front nine and along the way eagled the par five sixth following a drive and wedge to eight feet.

But after being two down after two, Grant hung in and won five and 11 to go level with seven to play, He edged in front by winning the 15th and then sealed a 2 and 1 victory by winning on 17.

Behind him Josh Mackin found himself three down after four but managed to steady the ship without being able to eat into his opponent’s lead and eventually ran out of holes on the 16th as he lost 3 and 2, having shaved the edge of the hole with his birdie putt.

In Laytown, Maurice Murphy played their star player Alex Maguire, recently returned from an impressive sophomore year in Florida Atlantic University, in the top match but a misbehaving driver left Maurice chasing the match from early on and he eventually he succumbed on the 14th hole.

Behind him, Eoin Murphy played Annrai Collins and after a blistering start he was three up after three holes. Although Collins pulled him back to all square after 10, Murphy’s power game was ideally suited to the newly re-routed Laytown layout and a series of 350 yard plus drives saw him regain control of the match and run out a comfortable 3&1 winner.

That left everything hinging on the final match where Irish international and Walker Cup star Caolan Rafferty was matched against the dogged David Foy. An out of sorts Rafferty, combined with some inspired iron play from Foy, saw the Dundalk player trailing by one hole with six to play.

But, with Dundalk’s Senior Cup campaign hanging by a thread, Rafferty rose to the challenge and popped in three birdies over the next five holes to record a great 2&1 win and earn Dundalk a place in the next round against either Ardee or Royal Tara.

The clubs met again on Friday in the Junior Cup with Dundalk having the advantage of three matches at home and they made it count as Andrew Keenan, Billy Cairns and Joseph Laverty all won while Laytown and Bettystown won their two home matches to leave the final score at 3-2.

After almost driving the first hole, Keenan was never in trouble in the top match and romped to a 5&4 victory while Cairns won 2&1. Laverty found himself two down after four holes but responded well and played some great golf as he hauled himself back into the match and on the 17th.

On Sunday the Pierce Purcell Shield team met Royal Tara with three matches taking place in Dundalk. The Meath club won the two matches over their home track by 4&2 while, in Dundalk, Ultan Herr and Emmet Savage McCabe took the top match 3&2. John Mulligan & Michael O’Sullivan were dormie two as they headed to the 17th tee but they were called in after Danny Miele & Pat Davis, in the bottom match, lost on the 15th to a strong Meath pairing.

Sean Gallagher’s steady progress continued when he captured the Paddy Markey Cup with a birdie on the last, his second of the round, easing him past another 17 handicapper Chris Malone to victory.

Andrew McKell (29) took the Veteran’s Cup with an impressive 41pts that included two at the second and 17th while Caolan Rafferty (+5) needed countback to emerge as winner of the Gross Prize on 39pts.

The key to Gallagher’s round was a flying start and flying finish and a steady round in between. He began with two three-point pars and although he had to settle for one point after a six at the index one fourth he nailed a birdie two on the par three ninth to turn in 21pts.

He could only collect one point on the par five 10th but a three-point par at the par three 13th balanced that blip and he had accumulated 33pts when he stood on the elevated tee at the par four index four 387m long 16th hole.

Four shots later he had walked off the green with a par four and three points and another three points followed at the par three 17th before a birdie three at the par four 18th gave him a four-point haul and brought his total to 43pts having picked up 10pts over the final three holes.

The Veteran’s Cup is played alongside Paddy Markey Cup each year and Andrew McKell produced some great golf on his way to victory. His front nine included a four point par on the eighth and three-point hauls on the first, third and ninth as he turned with 20pts. Down the back he had three-point holes at the 10th, 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th as he added 21pts to his front nine total for a overall score of 41pts. Blanks at the 2nd and 17th certainly cost him the chance to lift the Paddy Markey Cup but didn’t affect his march to victory in the veteran’s competition.

Eugene Hanratty (8), Seamus Bailey (12) and Colm Garvey (19) took the category prizes while Rory Henry (19) was the juvenile winner with an impressive 41pts.

The Paddy Markey Cup also served as a qualifier for the Harry Walsh Cup and the top 16 will battle it out for this prestigious matchplay trophy. Gallagher has been drawn against Noel Crowe in one of the ties of the round but the man to watch will surely be Oliver McGinnity who has a superb record in matchplay competitions over the past two years.

There was more good shooting in Wednesday’s Open Singles Stableford competition with Conall Murdock (5) just edging out another low man, Andrew Keenan (4) for the overall prize. Murdock shot an excellent 43pts to pip Keenan by just one point.

Three birdies down the back nine at the 11th, 12th and 15th proved crucial for Murdock who went out in 21pts and came home in 22pts. He also recorded the best gross score on the day of 38pts.

Aaron Waite (10), Conor Dunn (15) and Charlie Beattie (19) won the category prizes while Ben Cahill (18) claimed the juvenile honours.

Timesheets are now live for the Captain’s Weekend of Golf this Saturday, Sunday and Monday. On Saturday and Sunday, Ladies and Gents will have a singles competition and on Bank Holiday Monday there will be a couple of team events. In the morning there is a 14-Hole two-person team competition which will be followed in the afternoon by a 14-Hole mixed two-person team event.

Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19 – Paddy Markey Cup – Overall: Sean Gallagher (17) 43pts, Chris Malone (17) 42pts, Gross Winner: Caolan Rafferty (+5) 39/20pts. Veteran’s Cup Winner: Andrew MacKell (29) 41pts. Cat 1 (<11): Eugene J Hanratty (8) 40/20pts, Shane Hession (4) 40pts, Barry Cunningham (10) 39/21pts. Cat 2 (12-17): Seamus Bailey (12) 39/21pts, Patrick Dunne (17) 39pts, Ken Lynch (12) 38/21 pts. Cat 3 (18+): Colm Garvey(19) 40pts, Noel McGuinness (19) 39pts, Conor Marron (23) 38/20/15pts. Juvenile Winner: Rory Henry (19) 41pts. CSS: Saturday – 37pts, Sunday – 37pts.

Wednesday, July 22 – Open Singles Stableford – Overall: Conall Murdock (5) 43pts, Andrew Keenan (4) 42pts, Cat 1 (< 12) Aaron Waite (10) 37/19pts. Cat 2 (13-18) Conor Dunn (15) 39pts. Cat 3 (19+) Charlie Beattie (19) 39pts. Gross Recognition: Conall Murdock (5) 38pts. Juvenile: Ben Cahill (18) 39/19pts. CSS: 72/36pts

Harry Walsh Cup First Round Draw – Sean Gallagher v Noel Crowe, Patrick Dunne v John McLaughlin, Conor Marron v Tom Clarke, Colm Garvey v John McEneaney, Noel McGuinness v P Waters, L Steen v Oliver McGinnity, Paul Morgan v Pat O’Hanlon, Chris Malone v Padraig McDonnell. Matches to be played by August 11.