JUST like it did four years ago when it played host to the same weekend in an Olympic year, Tramore plays host to the Munster Inter-County and Strokeplay Championships albeit this time it’s a far more expanded event with the new Intermediate and Junior events introduced since 2014. Communications & Press Officer Jason O’Connor takes a closer look at the weekend in this preview.
THE Intermediate and Junior Gents along with the Intermediate Ladies and the U-16 Strokeplay events take place on a busy Saturday. Cork are the defending champions in the Intermediate Gents having won last year in Rocklodge and they have a nice mix of youth and experience in their ranks namely Weeshie Murphy, Richard Jordan, Conor Irwin, Cian Morrison, Frank O’Brien and outgoing National U-16 Strokeplay Champion Ryan Towler. Aidan O’Rourke heads the Waterford side as all the other Munster counties are entered in this grade. Last year’s runners-up were Limerick and they are represented by former National Junior Gents Strokeplay Champion Alan Bennis along with Dean Curtin, John Farrell, Kevin Flynn, Ché Maher and Ger Roche.
Winners of the inaugural event in St Stephens and third last year in Rocklodge, Kerry are represented this year by Richard Bunyan, Gavin Carroll, Ger Casey, Jason Cregan, Alan Hobbert and Aidan O’Connor as the Tipperary side features Michael Bourke, Paul Malone, Johnny Martin, John Paul Mullally, Robert O’Donnell and Paul Shoer Jnr. Clare’s only representation on the day is in this event as Billy Griffin, Ger Hanrahan, Brian O’Flynn, Niall Reynolds, Niall Seery and Martin Walsh make up the Banner County side. With Clare not taking part in the Junior Gents event there are only five counties involved with Cork looking for a third consecutive win since the event’s inception. Darren Byrne, Trevor Carroll, Ronan O’Driscoll, Martin O’Sullivan along with Brian and Ryan Walsh make up their side on this occasion.
Limerick were also runners-up to Cork in the Junior event in Lakewood last year with Conor Fahy, Dominic Kavanagh, Ger Keogh, Jamie Moloney, Joseph O’Riordan and Patrick J Ryan making up their side this year. Waterford have Michael Aherne, Declan Byrne, Terence Moroney and Paddy Noonan amongst their line-up as Tipperary (third place finishers last year) are represented by Michael Brennan, David Cahill, Eddie Jones, William McGrath, Jim Molloy and Richard Swords. Kerry complete the grade with Pa Byrne, John Clifton, Roger Guthrie, Timmy Looney Jnr, John O’Brien and Tim Scannell making up their six man team.
Also on Saturday will be the Intermediate Ladies event with Cork, Tipperary and Waterford all taking part in a Stableford format. Tipperary were the victors last year in Rocklodge over the Rebelettes and Margaret Forde, Ann Fitzgerald, Frances Ryan and Kathleen Shanley represent the Premier County this year. Newly crowned National Intermediate Strokeplay Champion Mary Murray along with former National Junior Strokeplay Champions Sarah O’Neill and Ailish Sexton along with Nicole Burke make up the Cork side as the hosts also have a side entered for the event.
The other event to take place on Saturday will be the U-16 Strokeplay with a total of 18 players entered for the event.
THE Senior and Junior Ladies and Gents events along with the U-16 Inter-County will be the order of business on Sunday as Cork look for a sixth consecutive win in the Senior Gents grade. Bryan Delaney, Frank Dineen, Ray and National Matchplay Champion Shane Murphy along with John and Eoin Walsh make up the side. Tipperary have been runners-up to them on the last two stagings and their side this year comprises Anthony Culhane, Michael Fennell, DJ Lynch, Pat Martin, Sean Minogue and James Ryan.
Kerry were third last year in Lakewood and they enter with Jamie Blake and Tony Blake, Damien Fleming, Declan McCarron, Conor McCarthy and John McGrath this time around. Limerick have suffered a setback with injury to Kieran Earls ruling him out of taking part this weekend. Michael and Pacelli Darcy, Thomas Hanley, Martin Keohane, Ché Maher and the record setting National Strokeplay Champion Liam O’Donovan will be the Treaty County’s representatives on Sunday. Waterford and Clare have traded victories with each other in the National Gents B Championship since its introduction in 2014 and both will want to make a good impression ahead of the Inter-County in RGSC next month.
Clare are represented by Billy Griffin, Ger Hanrahan, Brian O’Flynn, Niall Seery, Declan Sheedy and Martin Walsh in the Senior event on Sunday. After not being held in 2015, the Senior Ladies event thankfully returns this year with Cork and Tipperary doing battle for the title. Tipperary won out in 2014 on home turf in Tipperary Hills and Martha O’Brien, former National Intermediate Strokeplay Champions Bridget Shelley and Mary Quinn along with Frances Ryan make up their side. The Cork team features Sarah Byrne, Paula Nolan, Siobhan Scannell and National Matchplay Runner-Up Eleanor Walsh. The Junior Ladies event (which will be played as Stableford like the Intermediate) meanwhile features three sides, namely Cork and Tipperary along with a Kerry/Limerick combination.
Tipperary are looking for their third consecutive win in this event as Margaret Courtney, Catherine Dunne Lily O’Brien and Elaine Quinn make up their side. Cork have National Strokeplay Champion Mairead Manning, National Strokeplay Runner-Up Jill O’Riordan, Karen Aherne and Noreen Ryan in their side. The Kerry/Limerick combination features Lisa O’Connor, Charlotte Blake and Aisling Quirke from Kerry along with Margaret O’Donovan from Limerick. The U-16 competition finally is a straight shootout between Cork and Kerry.
Cork were the clear winners last year in Rocklodge and have Iain Aherne, Conor Bowdren, Eoin Keating, Kieran Mills, Cian Murphy and Glenn Towler amongst their line-up this year. Kerry meanwhile will have Cillian Courtney, Colm Cagney, Padraic Looney, Jack McCarthy, Cian Murphy and Cian O’Mahoney in their team for Sunday.
Tomorrow: We look ahead to the Leinster events in McDonagh and St Bridgets
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