ST Bridgets and McDonagh play host to the Leinster Inter-County Championships in the six Ladies and Gents Grades. Jason O’Connor takes a closer look at the various teams involved over the course of both Saturday and Sunday in the Lilywhite County.
Both Intermediate competitions take place in McDonagh on Saturday with the Gents kicking things off first. Wexford and Offaly will be the two counties to officially start the competition The Wexford team is headlined by the appearance of National Intermediate Strokeplay Champion and National Matchplay Runner-Up Dayle Donohoe with Maurice Donohoe, Kevin Doyle, Ruairi Fortune, Richard Grannell and Derek Ryan making up the Model County line-up. Offaly are represented by John Fleming, Gerard Gallagher, Leinster Intermediate Matchplay Champion Jamie Hogan, Paddy Kelly, Joe McGrath Snr and Patrick Murphy.
Winners of the inaugural event in 2014 and third placed in Castletown last year, Westmeath are paired with Kilkenny for the event. The Kilkenny line-up is made up of Martin Brennan, Derek Delaney, Dick Dreeling Michael Kehoe, Kevin Knox and Christy Purcell with last year’s runners-up Meath to follow paired with Louth. The Royal County side comprises David Campbell, Anthony Gibney, Barry Nelis, Dom Scully, Gerry Thompson and John Troy Jnr with Louth represented by Seamus Byrne, Brian Casey, Paul Cooney, Mark Donnelly, James Leech and Adam McKenna. Dublin are the defending champions in the Intermediate section and they will tee-off with Kildare as host county. Anthony Carroll, Paul Griffin, Derek Healy, Tom McMorrow, Gary Ryan and Glen Woodward represent the Metropolitans this year with local hopes resting on the shoulders of former National Intermediate Strokeplay Champion Owen Farrell, John Doran, Christy Hannon, Sean Kearney, Paddy Phillips and Anthony Ryan.
The Intermediate Ladies meanwhile sees five counties battle for the title namely Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Meath and Westmeath with last year’s winners Offaly not taking part this year. Dublin, Meath and Westmeath are mixed up in various pairings for proceedings. The Dublin side comprises Marie Dooley, Mary Fullam Christine Mulvey and Miriam Salmon with Meath represented by Yvonne Carney, Teresa Fagan, Christine Morgan and Carol O’Brien. Kildare and Louth will then be paired in the concluding groupings. The host county are presented by Bernie Dunne, Martina Loakman, Mary Sherry and Catherine Smith with Louth having a side comprised of Christina Carroll, Marlo Everitt, Margaret McCabe and Ann Ward. Meath were the runners-up in last year’s event ahead of Kildare who finished third on countback from Dublin.
The Junior Ladies and Gents events will take place in St Bridgets meanwhile with Westmeath the defending champions in the Junior Gents. They will tee-off with a host side headlined by Leinster Junior Strokeplay Champion Martin Russell with Emmet Doran, Gerry Doyle, John Kennedy, Stan McManaman and Gerard Twohig making up the Kildare side. Monaghan and Meath will be the two sides to get the event underway. Bob Hillard, Martin McArdle, Ciaran McCreesh, Aidan Quinn, John Roland and Isaac Smith make up the Farney side while Kevin Carolan, Sean Downes Jnr, Iain Edwards, Liam Farrell, Jason Gibney and Gareth McLoughlin represent Meath on the day. Down and Dublin will be next to tee-off, Shane Barr, Rodney Carroll, Stephen Cassidy, John Green, Denny McGuinness and Finbarr Oakley represent the Mourne County while the Dublin side features Darren Egan, Danny Kilduff, Stephen Needham, Ross O’Reilly, Keith Potter and David Roy.
Carlow and Louth will be the third pairing to tee-off in the Junior grade. The former will be represented by Martin Baird, John Dowling, Peter Doyle, Keith McDonald, Darren and Donal McNally while Louth have Colin Campbell, John Donnelly, Tim Goggins, Mark Lenehan, Kieran McDonnell and Oliver Tierney. Like the Intermediate Offaly and Wexford are paired in the Junior as part of the penultimate pairing. The Faithful County side is made up of William Clear, Kieran Claffey, Mick Feehan, David Mullen along with PJ and Thomas Murphy Snr. Wexford were victorious in 2014 with Leinster Junior Matchplay Champion Glenn Fortune, Mark Kirwan, Michael Molloy, Patrick O’Brien, Brian O’Sullivan and John Tyrell making up their line-up this year.
Last year saw Meath finish second to Westmeath with Louth finishing in third overall.
All the focus will be in St Bridgets on Sunday as the seniors fight it out for the two titles with Westmeath (Gents) and Dublin looking for three-in-a-row in both events. Westmeath will tee-off with a Kildare side featuring Ian Dillon, Darren Keogh, Joe Ronan, Frank Ryan and a double jobbing Owen Farrell and Anthony Ryan who also play for the county’s Intermediates on Saturday. Offaly will get it all underway on Sunday alongside Wexford. Offaly have Lorcan Bracken, Aongus Coughlan, Joseph Gorman, Martin Hoctor, Joe McGrath Jnr and National Strokeplay Runner-Up Darren O’Connell. Wexford’s team comprises Graham Donohoe, Dean Grannell, John and William Hudson, Martin O’Neill and Paul Tobin.
Louth and Down will be next to tee-off, the former made up of George Beardsley, Leinster Matchplay winner Ian Donnelly, Sean Goggin, Padraic Sarsfield, Owen Smith and Barry Thornton with Down having a team comprised of Mark Flynn, Martin Magee, Liam McMahon, Niall Quigley, Colin Somers and Kevin Thompson. Dublin and Meath will be next then in the penultimate pairing. Dublin’s side this year contains Leinster Strokeplay Champion Keith Redmond, John Ross Crangle, Gary Healy, Stephen Murray, Thomas O’Reilly and Junior Smith. Meath’s side is headlined by Eamon Gibney with Anthony Gibney, Robert Bissett, Michael Conneely, Stephen Lynch and Niall Winters Jnr making up the rest of the team. Dublin were second to Westmeath by three shots last year with Meath in third on home turf in Castletown.
The Ladies event meanwhile sees four counties take part. Offaly and Louth get us underway with Deirdre Byrne, Amy Galvin, Ann Minogue, Denise and Lauren Pyke along with Geraldine Ryan representing Offaly. Louth meanwhile have Mary Agnew, Noeleen Bedford, Jean Cooney, Concepta Maddick, Carol Martin and Ann O’Rourke in their line-up. Most eyes will be on the battle between Dublin and Kildare however as the Dubs look to Sheelagh Elmes, Glenda Hoey, Ger Holland, Siobhan Keely, Maree O’Toole and Ger Ward to make it three-in-a-row. Kildare will hope for the benefit of home advantage however as Chrissie Byrne, Marian Courtney, Tara Dillon, Rose Kelly, Mairead O’Toole and Lily Slattery bid to bring the title back to the Lilywhite County.
With RGSC on the horizon at senior level, it will be interesting to see how Sunday pans out in particular.
Best wishes to all concerned in both provinces this weekend. Updates will be available on the PPUI website throughout proceedings over both days.
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