A HISTORIC weekend awaits in Clonee this weekend as the first ever National U-16 Matchplay Championship takes place for the Helen Persson Memorial Cup at Royal Meath this weekend. Communications & Press Officer Jason O’Connor takes a closer look at this historic event in advance.
With the return of the Provincial Matchplay Competitions for U-16’s in 2014 it felt inevitable that a National event would come down the track. So it proved to be with agreement in July to run this event in October for this year before going to a more suitable summertime date from 2017 and beyond. There is some reward for the Provincial Matchplay Finalists in both provinces this year as they all secured automatic qualification for this event and they are also the four seeded players for the initial Round of 32 over 36 holes.
What is different about this as opposed to other Matchplay events is that there is a Plate competition for First Round losers in the Boys with all rounds up until the Semi-Finals over 18 holes. Six weeks after winning the National Boys Strokeplay title at the same venue, Castletown’s Evan Carry returns to Royal Meath looking for a unique double as he faces Kilbeggan’s Dylan Carton in the opening round. The player he defeated in the Leinster Matchplay Final in Navan back in July, Gowran’s Conor Cleere faces Colm Cagney of Deerpark in the First Round while Munster U-16 Matchplay winner at Deerpark in July, St Annes’ Glenn Towler will play Bellewstown’s Sean Clerkin while the runner-up in the southern province, Cillian Courtney will face club-mate Adam Kelly in an all Deerpark affair.
Munster Strokeplay winner Iain Aherne of Ballinlough is in the bottom half of the draw as he takes on Eoin Murphy of Seapoint with National Strokeplay Runner-Up Lorcan Martin of Deerpark taking on another Seapoint player in Dylan Keating in ther First Round. Winner of the Leinster 10-13 Boys Strokeplay in The Acres, Daniel Fox of Tullamore is also in action this weekend as he takes on Glenville’s David Horan in the First Round with the winner to face 2015 Leinster U-16 Matchplay Runner-Up Seanie Bellew of Gaeil Colmcille or Kilbeggan’s Padraig Carton in the Last 16. Other matches in the top half of the draw include Deerpark’s Fintan Martin taking on St Annes’ Cian Murphy, Old County’s Craig Hennessy playing against Seapoint’s Luke Murphy along with Larkspur Park’s Adam Buckley playing against St Patricks’ Dylan Hudson and the meeting of Collins’ Kieran Mills and Deerpark’s Robbie Harnett.
Looking at some of the other matches in the bottom half of the draw, Kilbeggan’s Jack Mullins will play Deerpark’s Darragh O’Callaghan, Deerpark’s Cian Murphy will play Gowran’s Nicholas Brennan, the ninth Deerpark player amongst the field Cian O’Mahoney will play Glenville’s Luke Devlin while Seapoint’s Niall McGinty will play Sean Farrell from The Acres in the other of the 16 First Round ties. There is also a Girls competition on Sunday featuring National Strokeplay Runner-Up Katie Rose Heeney of Bellewstown, Leinster Girls 10-13 Strokeplay winner Katelyn Farrell of The Acres along with Keneisha Green Scully of Laytown.
We wish all 35 players competing this weekend the very best of luck in what promises to be a historic weekend for underage Pitch & Putt with the inception of this competition.
Updates of proceedings in Royal Meath will be available on the website over the weekend. Play will continue tomorrow until the completion of the Quarter-Finals with the Semi-Finals and Final of all competitions on Sunday.
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