Communications & Press Officer Jason O’Connor reports on the weekend’s action in Deerpark.
DESPITE trailing after both doubles sessions at the weekend, Cork’s great singles strength came to the fore again in holding on to the Anchor Cup yesterday in Killarney and winning it for a 23rd time in total. Kerry and Wexford had led after the Scotch Foursomes and Foursomes respectively but the Rebels came from behind to win in the finish like they did last year in Ryston.
Kerry had led after the Scotch Foursomes at the tricky and challenging Killarney venue with a 12 under par total from the combination of Damien Fleming & James Dignan (matched only by Cork's Eoin Keating & Ray Murphy, bettered only by Limerick's Thomas Hanley & Kieran Earls with 13) along with a Hole-In-One at the last from Declan McCarron bringing them to 28 under par. That saw them lead by two from Cork with Limerick and Wexford a shot further behind on 25 under par. The Singles did not go to plan for the hosts though as Cork had three big Singles scores from John Cahill (10 under par), Declan Freeman (seven under) and Bryan Delaney (six under) to move into the lead overnight on Saturday on 55 under par, five ahead of Munster winners Limerick.
The Treaty County moved into contention following after Singles rounds of seven under from both Liam O’Donovan and Kieran Earls alongside a six under par score from Patsy Farrell. Wexford would claim third overnight from Kerry thanks to a trio of six under par scores from Dayle Donohoe, Dean and Richard Grannell and a five under from Graham Donohoe to move to 48 under par overnight. Even though there was little or no rain like Saturday on Sunday, the wind was still a factor making an already challenging course more difficult as the 16th hole became an almost impossible challenge attracting no end of spectators to see where tee-shots were ending up!
Wexford mastered it best of all in the Foursomes with all three cards under par for the overall lead ahead of the closing Singles. Dayle & Graham Donohoe had a pretty impressive six under par total as three under for Richard & Dean Grannell and a two under round from William Hudson & Maurice Donohoe brought them to 11 under par and put them two ahead of Cork despite Declan Freeman & Ray Murphy also managing a six under par score. The Singles would be kind to Cork again however as John Cahill and Bryan Delaney both managed eight under par and Freeman brought in a five under par round to edge them towards their eventual winning total of 85 under par, 779.
Dublin moved up to third overall after the morning Foursomes but managed to move on and claim the silver medals with eight under par from John Ross Crangle and six under from Chris Gallagher big contributions in a combined total of 31 under for their closing Singles with 72 under par their eventual score. That saw them finish one ahead of Wexford for whom five under par totals from Richard Grannell and Dayle Donohoe were their best offerings in having to settle for the bronze medals.
Kerry were fourth overall ahead of Tipperary and Limerick (whose challenge was really undone by the Foursomes) with Kerry’s Damien Fleming (eight under) and Declan McCarron (five) their best Singles scores in the closing round. Tipperary claimed fifth by a stroke from Limerick (with 61 under par) thanks in no small part to a combined six under par total for the Foursomes with along with five and four under par Singles scores from Christopher Hickey and Stephen Shoer respectively.
It was Cork standing atop the podium again though as Eoin Keating joined Messrs Cahill, Delaney, Freeman, Murphy and Walsh in leading their county to another win.
A SMALL but significant milestone in Kildare managing to become the first county in 10 years to hold on to the James Vaughan Memorial Cup as they had enough of an advantage from Saturday’s 36 holes of Scotch Foursomes to hold off an improved Dublin effort on the second day of play. Chrissie Byrne & Mairead O’Toole gave them their strong platform overnight in the main with a Scotch Foursomes total of 11 under par which included a second 18 of eight under par.
Mary Donnelly & Tara Dillon had a combined total of four under par with Marian Courtney and Elizabeth Smyth shooting one over par to put them on 13 under par overnight. Dublin did manage a score of four under par from Philo Condron and Maree O’Toole on Saturday but they were 16 shots behind and in danger of another big defeat like Ryston last year. Three sub-60 rounds from Pauline Balfe, Ger Ward and Sheelagh Elmes made it a bit tighter on Sunday however, Elmes and Ward shooting two and one under par respectively to bring Dublin to within seven of the Lilywhites in the end.
One over for Chrissie, two over for Dillon and three over for Marian Courtney were enough to see Kildare over the line as Elizabeth Smyth joined them in making up their winning side on 604, 14 over par. It was their 11th success in total meaning they have now won half of the Championships played since their very first success back in 1997. Cork held off Louth to claim third with 646. Three over for Sarah Byrne and five over for Sarah O’Neill were crucial in them winning the bronze medals and holding off the challenge of the Wee County for whom Marlo Everitt (two over), Noeleen Bedford (three over) and Mary Agnew (five over) scored well in the Singles to bring their final total to 649.
Martha O’Brien of Tipperary had the best Single Ladies score of five under par but Tipperary had to make do with fifth overall on 674.
EVEN though it was the smallest field in terms of teams and players, it arguably produced the closest finish as Carlow went one better than last year’s Runners-Up finish in Ryston to become only the third county after both Clare and Waterford to win the Eamonn Birchall Cup since its introduction in 2014.
A great second round of five under par in their second Scotch Foursomes Round on Saturday from Martin Baird & Kevin Halligan allowed them to lead both Clare and Kilkenny by four strokes overnight with a combined total of seven under par. Despite a rotten trip to the 16th in the Singles, Darren McNally managed to bring in two under par with three over for Halligan, four over for Donal McNally and five over for Baird brining in their winning score of 435, three over par.
There was nothing to separate Clare and Kilkenny on 444 except the ‘back nine’s’ of their cards as two under for Declan Sheedy along with three over par scores for Martin Walsh and Ger Hanrahan were crucial in giving the Banner County the silver medals. Kevin Knox and Patrick Robinson did shoot level par rounds for Kilkenny in the Singles but ultimately they would have to settle for the bronze medals.
With Wexford’s third place finish in the Gents A it meant that all three counties in the CKW region would come away with medals from the weekend.
Click on the above links to see all the scores from the weekend itself.
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