THIS weekend sees the first provincial titles of the year decided at five venues across the country as over 300 players will take part in the Leinster and Munster Strokeplay Championships on Sunday. From the Union’s most northerly course in Cloghogue, Co Down to Douglas in Cork along with Lucan, Inniskeen and Ballinlough a total of six competitions will take place on the day across five different venues. The competition’s will be unique in that official PPUI Handicaps will be used to determine the winners on the day in all grades and it will be interesting to see the effect they have on the eventual outcomes this Sunday.
Looking at the Gents first, a total of 60 seniors will be competing for the title at Cloghogue with the top 12 after 36 holes going through to a deciding 18 holes. Reigning Irish Open Champion Eamon Gibney from Castletown is the standout name in the field at the outset as five players from the host club namely Paul O’Hagan, Conor O’Hare, Kevin Thompson, Niall Quigley and Liam McMahon will hope for a good showing on home turf. Irish No 9 and recent International Frank Ryan (who competed in the recent challenge against Catalonia) is also amongst the field as well as last year’s National Intermediate Gents Strokeplay Champion Brendan Lawlor from Channonrock. Brendan’s club-mate and another recent Irish International, two time National Boys Strokeplay Champion Shane Redmond will also be one to look out for on Sunday alongside Offaly duo William Buckley Jnr and Joe McGrath Jnr.
Both the Intermediate and Junior Gents events at Inniskeen in Co Monaghan will be straight 36 hole events with a total of 32 taking part in the Intermediate alongside a total of 38 in the Junior competition. Brian Casey is Inniskeen’s sole representative in the Intermediate competition while there are two from the club in the Junior competition namely John Roland and Ciaran McGreesh. All three of the Ladies competitions take place over 36 holes in Lucan, Co Dublin with Erry’s Tracey McGrath and Poulaphouca’s Mairead O’Toole the stand-out names in a small field of eight players in the senior competition. Phil Condron is the sole representative from both the host club and indeed Dublin in the event. 16 Ladies take part in the Intermediate event with Siobhan McDonnell, Sandra Keogh and Evelyn O’Gorman Lucan’s representatives in this event. There are five Lucan players in the Junior competition namely Barbara Coogan, Ann McCann, Patricia Anderson, Angela Shanahan, Fiona Langan but of the 22 entries there will be a player from the Ferbane club in Offaly in each group on Sunday such is the big entry (eight in total) from the club for this grade.
The Gents competitions all take place in Douglas on Sunday with a low entry field of 18 for the senior competition. Irish No 6 and 2012 National Matchplay Champion Kevin McCarthy from Rocklodge heads the field with Denis O’Sullivan carrying local hopes in the event. Raffen Creek’s David Ahern is one to watch out for in this event as the top 10 after the first 36 holes will qualify for a deciding 18 holes. 30 players take part in the Intermediate competition with four from the club (Martin Freaney, Denis and Michael Dennehy along with Shane Neiland) taking part in proceedings. Both the Intermediate and Junior competitions are decided over 36 holes and Colin Sheehan is Douglas’ sole representative in the Junior competition which has a total of 33 players taking part.
Ballinlough is the venue for the Ladies events with nine Ladies taking part in the senior competition. Paula Nolan represents the host club with recent Irish International Martha O’Brien from Lakeside amongst the competitors in this grade as well. Maura Aherne is Ballinlough’s representative in the Intermediate competition which has 18 competitors including recent Irish International Helen Daly from Cill Na Mona along with reigning National Girls Strokeplay Champion Una Brosnan from Claycastle. Ballinlough and Cunnigar from Waterford make up well over half of the field for the Junior competition with a total of 17 players from both clubs in a 29 strong field. Jo Gayner, Claire Murphy, Karen Aherne, Geraldine Hanrahan, Maureen O’Connor, Aileen Bennett and Nora Hanover represent Ballinlough in this event as there are 10 players from Cunnigar taking part.
Hopefully the action will be just as exciting as a certain high profile Hurling match taking place not too far away from Ballinlough later on that day!
We wish all competitors in both provinces the very best of luck across our five venues this Sunday as the competitions will serve as nice appetizers for the National events in both Fermoy (Ladies) and Stackallen (Gents) in the coming weeks.
Updates on Sunday’s proceedings will be available across the PPUI website as well as our official Facebook and Twitter pages.
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