ROCKLODGE and Lakewood in Cork will be the hosts for this weekend’s Munster Inter-County and U-16 Championships. Communications & Press Officer Jason O’Connor takes a look at what will be a very busy schedule particularly on Saturday for the U-16’s.
IT’S safe to say that Rocklodge is jam packed for the U-16’s between the Singles and the Inter-County Championship. The Singles will take place in the morning with 47 entered across the two Boys grades, 10-13 and 14-15. With Douglas’ Eoin Keating moving up into the upper age group we are guaranteed a new Boys 10-13 winner with the second and third place prize-winners from last year’s event in Tipperary Hills, Ballinlough’s Iain Aherne and Larkspur Park’s Adam Buckley both entered for Saturday morning.
Buckley was a recent semi-finalist in the Munster Matchplay on home turf while another semi-finalist from last year’s Matchplay event, Glenn Towler of St Stephens, is another to watch out for in the grade. In total there are 20 entries for the lower age group with Parteen’s Shea Fennell the only entry from a Limerick club and Deerpark’s Cillian Courtney and Darragh O’Callaghan the only Kerry entries for the event. Raffen Creek have the single biggest entry of a single club for the event with four as Larkspur Park and St Stephens both have three each.
The Boys 14-15 grade meanwhile has 27 entries with Douglas’ Conor Irwin back to defend the title he won last year in Tipperary Hills. Recent Munster Matchplay runner-up to Majestic’s Ed Walsh, Ryan Towler of St Annes will hope to go one better in adding the Strokeplay title to the Matchplay one he won last year. Raffeen Creek and Deerpark both have the single biggest entries of any club with five each while another Cork club Douglas has four with the aforementioned Eoin Keating moving up following his 10-13 age group success last year. Seamus Redden of Parteen is the sole Limerick entry for the event. Following the completion of these events there won’t be much be much time for rest for the U-16’s of the Cork, Kerry and Tipperary teams as they play their Inter-County competition in the afternoon. Cork regained the title they had lost to Kerry the previous year in St Annes with victory with an 11 shot victory over the Kingdom in Tipperary Hills as the host county finished third.
It’s not just all about the Juveniles on Saturday as the Intermediate Ladies and Gents Inter-Counties will take place in between the U-16 fare. All six Munster counties have entered the Intermediate Gents grade with Kerry hoping to retain the title and win for the second year-in-a-row at a Cork course after their success in St Stephens in the first year of the event. The pairing of themselves and Cork will be interesting with the team that finished third last year, Tipperary, out first with Clare followed by the pairing of Limerick and Waterford.
The Intermediate Ladies is a straight contest between Cork and Tipperary with Cork looking to repeat their success over the Premier County in last year’s inaugural event.
The Seniors and Juniors in both the Ladies and Gents will do battle in Lakewood with five Junior Gents and four Junior Ladies teams competing this year. In the Gents, Cork are the defending champions from last year’s first staging in St Stephens and they will play with Limerick in the final pairing on Sunday while the second and third placed sides Tipperary and Kerry are mixed with Waterford to begin proceedings. The Junior Ladies meanwhile sees an increase of one team from last year’s entries with Kerry returning to inter-county action for the first time in over a decade joining Waterford and last year’s first and second placed sides from St Stephens, Tipperary and Cork respectively.
The Senior Gents competition in Lakewood meanwhile sees Cork looking for their fifth consecutive win in the grade. They will be odds on to do it on home turf as they tee-off with Limerick in the last pairing. Last year’s runners-up from Tipperary Hills, Tipperary themselves, get proceedings underway alongside Waterford while the team that finished third last year, Kerry, tee-off with Clare in the second of the three pairings. Cork will be heavily fancied to win on Sunday and set themselves up nicely for the big one in Douglas a month later but anything can happen on any given day in Pitch & Putt.
We wish all players putting on their respective county colours in all grades in both provinces the very best of luck this weekend. Updates from our four venues this weekend will be available on the PPUI website throughout the weekend.
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