THE playing year at provincial level concludes this weekend with the staging of the Leinster and Munster Matchplays in both provinces. Communications & Press Officer Jason O’Connor takes a look at this weekend’s events starting firstly with a preview of the events in Leinster at both the Navan and Castletown courses.
NAVAN hosts both the Senior and Junior Gents over both days with plenty of local interest in the Junior event as seven of the qualifiers are from the host club. The First Round draw features one clash of club-mates in the form of Jonathon McCabe taking on Barry O’Leary as Danny Fitzpatrick and Gerry O’Brien from the host club are also in the bottom half of the draw. Gerry faces St Bridgets Christy Sweeney in the First Round while Danny will play Gowran’s Kevin Knox while in the top half of the draw there are three from the host club.
Stephen McAuley will play Laytown’s Mark Fay while Jimmy Burke and Gerry Allen from Navan take on Rathfeigh’s Errol Carry and Glenville’s Joseph O’Connor respectively. In total Meath players according for 14 amongst the field with three from Laytown namely Paddy Bird, Joe Macken and Fay. Paddy faces Erins Isle’s David Roy in the First Round while Macken plays another Meath player in the form of Trim’s Kevin O’Sullivan. Mattie Gorman from Ratoath meanwhile will take on Lough Owel’s Danny McKevitt with Gaeil Colmcille’s Liam Nelis the other Meath player as he plays Paul McEntaggart in the bottom half of the draw.
Other matches in the First Round include Erry’s Stephen Gallagher playing Ryston’s Joseph Deegan, Inniskeen’s Bob Hillard taking on Ferbane’s Michael Kenny, Dermot Maher of Erry vs. Ryston’s Shane O’Driscoll along with Loughlinstown’s Noel Flanagan taking on Lough Owel’s Niall Kinahan. Inniskeen’s Aidan Vaughan and Granard’s Raymond Fay completes the First Round draw as like the Senior Gents grade, play will continue until the Quarter-Final stage on Saturday.
Castletown plays host to the Intermediate Gents as well as the Intermediate and Junior Ladies events, the draws for the latter two being made on the morning. In the Intermediate Gents, the venue will be neutral territory for all with no player from the host club qualified for the grade. There are eight players from the Royal County amongst the field as Navan’s Colm Lynch will take on Loughlinstown’s Trevor Ward in the First Round. Paddy Kelly of Trim meanwhile takes on Cement’s James Leech while the other two Meath players in the top half of the draw include Gaeil Colmcille’s Peter Dolan (who plays William Buckley Snr of Erry) while Niall Winters Snr will play David Beatty of Erins Isle.
The bottom half of the draw sees an all Royal County tie in Royal Meath’s Carl Murray taking on Gaeil Colmcille’s Barry Nelis as Jason Hughes of Navan will play Gel Martin of Cement while Bellewstown’s Darren Heeney takes on another Cement player in Alan Cluskey. The Louth club are well represented in the field with Gerard Thornton from the club taking on Dean Dinnegan of Lough Owel as third place finisher in the Leinster Junior Strokeplay back in June, John Tyrell of St Patricks has an interesting encounter with former National Intermediate Strokeplay medallist Michael Vaughan of Inniskeen. Other matches in the opening round include Gerard Gallagher of Erry taking on McDonagh’s John Doran with Gowran’s Nicholas Brennan facing another Offaly player in Ferbane’s Brian Doyle.
Lough Owel have three players amongst the field including the aforementioned Dinnegan, Niall Corcoran from the Westmeath club taking on Emmet Doran of McDonagh as Declan Hogan will play Bagenalstown’s Darren McNally. McDonagh match them in having three representatives as Derek O’Driscoll from the Kildare club will take on Custume’s Ray Doyle. The final two matches in the First Round meanwhile sees Ryston’s Sean Kearney take on Tullamore’s Denis Hill as Bagenalstown’s Martin Baird plays Cloghogue’s Ciaran McLaughlin.
Slightly different to the play in Navan, play in Castletown will go on until the Semi-Final stages before transferring to Navan on Sunday for the conclusion.
The Senior Event will be in Navan for its entirety with local hopes resting on Anthony Gibney this weekend. Anthony faces Joe McGrath Jnr of Erry in the First Round with Meath players accounting for six of the competitors on Sunday. Former Irish Open winner Eamon Gibney plays Glenville’s Julian Kelly in the First Round with former European Strokeplay winner Ian Farrelly taking on Portmarnock’s Thomas Ryan in the First Round. Ian’s Bellewstown club-mate Peter Reilly reached the Semi-Finals of last year’s event and he has qualified for this year’s event again with Ringcommons’ Colin Byrne his opponents in the First Round.
Niall Winters Jnr of Trim faces Custume’s Pat Malone in the First Round while a third Bellewstown player in Robert Bissett is in the bottom half of the draw taking on Aongus Coughlan of Erry. Defending Champion Ian Donnelly has an interesting start to the defence of his title in the form of another Erry player in William Buckley Jnr as the player he defeated in the Final George Beardsley begins against Derek Ryan of St Patricks. McBride have four players in total amongst the field, Padraic Sarsfield facing off against Laurence Maher of Erry in the First Round, Sean Goggin will play Sean Dinnegan of Lough Owel in his First Round match with David O’Brien taking on St Patricks’ Dean Grannell. The other of last year’s Semi-Finalists, Athgarvan’s Frank Ryan will take on Shandon’s Dennis Monaghan meanwhile.
Ryan was runner-up of course in the Leinster Strokeplay back in June as the winner of that event, St Patricks Martin O’Neill, bids for the double this weekend in taking on Leinster Mixed Foursomes winner Ian Dillon of St Bridgets in his first match. Other matches in the First Round this year include Glenville’s Derek Courtney taking on Lough Owel’s Dessie Baker, Ryston’s Darren Keogh meeting Old County’s Anthony Carroll while the meeting of Old County’s Stephen Murray and Collinstown’s Liam Buckley completes the First Round draw.
Play is over Shotgun Starts for each round up until the Quarter-Finals with play from the first tee-box from the Semi-Finals onwards.
Tomorrow: We preview the Munster Matchplay events in both Bruff & Parteen.
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