A UNIQUE weekend ahead for the PPUI as two different national events will be held at two different venues at two different ends of the age spectrum. Communications & Press Officer Jason O’Connor previews the first such event below, the National U-16 Matchplay Championships in St Stephens.
Almost a year after the club played host to the National Ladies Strokeplay Championships, St Stephens hosts the second staging of the National U-16 Matchplay Championships, which had a successful first staging in Royal Meath last year. St Annes’ Glenn Towler was the inaugural winner of the Helen Persson Cup for the Championship last year and he returns to defend the title in a course he was formally a member of most notably back in 2014 when he lost at the Semi-Final stage of the renewal of the Munster U-16 Matchplay Championships to his brother and future National Boys Strokeplay Champion, Ryan.
Glenn did a provincial and national double at Matchplay level last year and the player he defeated in the 2016 Munster Final, Deerpark’s Cillian Courtney enters off the back of winning the Munster U-13 Strokeplay on home turf three weeks ago. The Plate Competition was won by National Boys Strokeplay Champion Evan Carry of Castletown last year as he defeated Bellewstown’s Sean Clerkin in the decider. Evan has won the Leinster U-16 Strokeplay already this year while also winning the Plate at the Leinster Matchplay in Gowran. Old County’s Lennon Blake is the other significant entry from Leinster this weekend having finished second to Evan in the Leinster Strokeplay in Kilbeggan.
Deerpark head the list of entries again with 24, Adam Kelly was the winner of the Munster U-16 Strokeplay on home turf, one shot ahead of his club-mate Darragh O’Callaghan in second with the third place player from that event Dylan Seymour also amongst the entries this weekend. Dylan also reached the Final of the Munster Matchplay this year but lost out to Cian Murphy from the host club St Annes in the finish. Cian also enters this weekend as does Aaron Roche from the host club who will carry much of the local hopes. Ballinlough’s Iain Aherne is a former Munster U-16 Strokeplay winner while Deerpark’s Padraic Looney was third in last year’s National Boys Strokeplay Championship.
Robbie Harnett from the Killarney club was also a Semi-Finalist in last year’s Plate Competition as Parteen duo Shea Fennell and Patrick Mitchell caught the eye in reaching the Semi-Finals of the Munster U-16 Matchplay with Shea finishing second in the Munster U-13 Strokeplay. Dubliner’s Luke Devlin (Glenville) and Adam Power (Old County) are amongst the Leinster entries as are Seapoint duo Luke and Eoin Murphy. The initial matches will decide whether players compete in the Championship or Plate Competitions with play continuing on Sunday with the Semi-Finals and Finals of both competitions.
Hopefully the play will match last year’s excitement in Clonee and that the event serves as another good showcase for the development of the underage game.
Tomorrow: We preview the National Seniors Ladies and Gents Championships which will be taking place up in Cloghogue.
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