2016 National Inter-County Preview: Day Three

A look ahead to the battle for the Anchor Cup

2016 National Inter-County Preview: Day Three image

12 teams will do battle for the Anchor Cup over the weekend in RGSC with Cork looking for a fourth consecutive title in the Gents A Division. Communications & Press Officer Jason O’Connor takes a closer look at the counties entered for Saturday and Sunday’s play.


WE only got to see half the battle in Douglas last year with the weather calling a halt to proceedings. However it did look like Cork were in a convincing position after the first 36 holes on Sunday. They enter the weekend off the back of a sixth consecutive win in Munster and you would be hard pressed to bet against them doing the double this weekend. Irish No 1 John Walsh, National Matchplay winner Shane Murphy, Brian Delaney, Frank Dineen, Ray Murphy and Eoin Walsh make up the Cork side looking to continue their domination of the event this Millennium. The format will see them line out with the host county as is tradition and Dublin will be anxious to compete strongly on home turf not just for the 18 Holes of Scotch Foursomes and 18 Singles they will play with the defending champions on Saturday but throughout the whole weekend.


            Having not featured in the medals in the Leinsters last month in St Bridgets, the pressure will be on the hosts as JR Crangle, Gary Healy, Stephen Murray, Leinster Strokeplay Champion Keith Redmond and Thomas O’Reilly carry their hopes alongside Junior Smith from the host club. The team to have won the Leinsters were also the side to finish second last year in Douglas as Louth had a shot to spare over Wexford in winning the provincial title. Padraic Sarsfield impressed in that win as Leinster Matchplay Champion Ian Donnelly, George Beardsley, Sean Goggin, Owen Smith and Barry Thornton line out once again for the county. Wexford of course are the only other county this decade besides Cork to have won the Anchor Cup with the performances of Dayle Donohoe in winning the National Intermediate Strokeplay and reaching the National Matchplay decider back in June a big boost to the Model County in the composition of their team this year.


Graham Donohoe, Dean Grannell, John and William Hudson along with Derek Ryan line out for Wexford as they find themselves paired with Kerry on the first day. The Kingdom have a bit of different line-up this year with Richard Bunyan and Aidan O’Connor making their Inter-County debuts as Damien Fleming, John McGrath, Jamie Blake and Declan McCarron would be a bit more used to playing at this level. Tipperary finished just ahead of Kerry in claiming third in the Munsters in Tramore and will hope to feature amongst the medals again this weekend as Anthony Culhane, Michael Fennell, DJ Lynch, Pat Martin, Sean Minogue and James Ryan line out for the Premier County again this weekend. Tipp will be paired with Limerick on the first day as National Strokeplay Champion Liam O’Donovan heads the side alongside Pacelli Darcy, Kieran Earls, Thomas Hanley, Martin Keohane and Brian Webster.


Starting proceedings off early on Saturday morning will be Offaly and Kildare. Offaly have National Strokeplay Runner-Up Darren O’Connell, Lorcan Bracken, Aongus Coughlan, Joseph Gorman, Martin Hoctor and Joe McGrath Jnr representing them on Sunday as Ian Dillon, Owen Farrell, Darren Keogh, Joe Ronan, Anthony and Frank Ryan don the Lilywhite colours. Two other neighbouring counties that will be teeing off together on Saturday are Meath and Westmeath. In the case of the latter, they have featured strongly at provincial level in recent years but will want to make a breakthrough at national level to continue their progress. John Browne, Michael Buckley, Alan Hanlon, Pat Malone, John McDonald and Stephen Ruane line out for the Lake County again coming as it is after finishing third in the Leinsters last month. Meath are made up of Robert Bissett, Michael Conneely, Anthony and Eamon Gibney, Stephen Lynch as well as Niall Winters Jnr.


That leaves us with Down who will line out with Mark Flynn, Martin Magee, Liam McMahon, Niall Quigley, Colin Sommers as well as Kevin Thompson. They also line out with a neighbouring county in the form of Louth on Saturday. Of course Saturday’s play could leave us with totally different pairings on Sunday when a round of Foursomes followed by the concluding 18 holes singles will decide the eventual winner. One would hope that we will get the excitement of Tullamore two years ago where it all came down to the final group on the final green before the outcome was determined.


We wish all those lining out in their county colours in the three competitions this weekend the very best of luck and most importantly a safe journey in travelling to RGSC. Updates will be available on the PPUI website throughout the weekend of proceedings.