Ahead of this weekend’s trip to Deerpark in Killarney for the National Ladies & Gents Inter-County Championships, Communications & Press Officer Jason O’Connor previews both the Ladies and Gents B events in this piece.
AMAZING in one way to think that it is 10 years exactly since a county managed to retain the Ladies grade in the Inter-County. That was in Larkspur Park in 2008 when Kildare won the final of a four-in-a-row run of victories at the time but they head to what is neutral territory for all in the Kingdom this weekend seeking to be the first to do so again in exactly a decade.
The margin of their victory last year in Ryston (33 strokes) was eye-catching even if they were on home turf but they head to Killarney with Dublin on the back of a big win in Leinster last month. The Lilywhites have Chrissie Byrne, Marian Courtney, Tara Dillon, Mary Donnelly, Mairead O’Toole and Elizabeth Smyth representing them this year with Dublin calling on Ger Ward, Sheelagh Elmes, Maree O’Toole, Phil Condron, Pauline Balfe and Glenda Hoey to try and regain the title after their success in RGSC in 2016.
Cork will feel more confident about a challenge with the event returning to Munster for the first time since their success of 2015 in Douglas. After playing against each other somewhat in Munster with the new format in Parteen, they are all as one going to Killarney representing the county with their line-up consisting of Mary Murray, Sarah Byrne, Ailish Sexton, Mairead Manning, Linda Murphy and Siobhan Scannell. Tipperary are in a similar position following the Munsters with Margaret Forde, Pauline Lucey, Frances Ryan, Shula McCarthy, Mary Quinn and Martha O’Brien coming together to represent the Premier County this weekend.
Louth play with defending champions Kildare meanwhile with Mary Agnew, Noeleen Bedford, Marlo Everitt, Concepta Maddick, Carol Martin and Ann O’Rourke making up their side this weekend in the South-West. It should be a good battle to see who comes out on top especially with no home field advantage for the five sides this year.
ONE guarantee this year is that there will be a new winner with Waterford’s promotion to the A Division after winning the Eamon Birchall Cup for the last three years. This year’s staging will be a solemn one with the passing of the former PPUI President and Patron back in June as Carlow, Clare and Kilkenny are the three counties competing for the honour this year. It is also changed to a four person team this year making it a more compact battle.
Clare won this event back in 2014 in Tullamore when it was re-introduced to the PPUI calendar but did not feature amongst the medals last year in Ryston. Declan Sheedy, Martin Walsh, Christy O’Riordan and Ger Hanrahan make up the Banner County as last year’s runners-up Carlow are represented by Martin Baird, Kevin Halligan Darren and Donal McNally. The Barrowsiders competed in the Leinster Intermediate Inter-County last month finishing four shots ahead of Kilkenny who travel to Killarney represented by Nicholas Brennan, Michael Kehoe, Kevin Knox and Patrick Robinson.
Kilkenny had won the Junior Inter-County event in Leinster but could not replicate it in the Intermediate grade as it will be a played over a reduced 54 hole format this weekend. All three will no doubt hope that a win will serve as a big boost to them in developing the game within their own counties.
Tomorrow: We preview the battle for the Anchor Cup.
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