In this concluding part of his lookback on 2018, John Manning rounds up the rest of the action from the past year, beginning with a look at the International scene.
NINE players (including six Irish) have won European Team Championship and World Cup winners medals. Eamon Gibney (Castletown) and John Ross Crangle (Loughlinstown) joined that club when they were part of an all-conquering Irish team that beat Basque Country, France, Andorra and Catalonia to regain the European Team championship crown at Urduna, Spain. 23 different Irish players have now won European Championship medals. Congrats to JR Crangle, James Cleary (Hillview), Tommy Hanley (Bruff), Eamon Gibney, Bryan Delaney (Fermoy/Bishopstown) and John Cahill (Fermoy) who won their first medal in 2018.
Damien Fleming now stands alone at the top of the Irish Open Roll of Honour, with three wins after his 139 for three rounds at Seapoint, which was two ahead of Ray Murphy and Frank Ryan. Ger Ward's 148 is the best winning aggregate in the history of the Irish Ladies Open and her six stroke winning margin (over Chrissie Byrne) ties the highest winning margin set by Tracey McGrath at Deerpark in 2011. Evan Carry (Castletown) romped to victory in the Juvenile Open. His 146 aggregate ended up nine clear of Glenn Towler.
Ireland's other Pitch & Putt team in 2018 (Geraldine Ward, Chrissie Byrne, Martha O'Brien, Mary Murray, Margaret Hogan, Noelene Bedford, Evan Carry, Glenn Towler, Cillian Courtney, Luke Murphy, Dylan Hudson and Patrick Mitchell) won the International Challenge against Catalonia for the fifth time in seven stagings. The Irish also maintained their 100% record in the International Challenge on home soil.
In Royal Meath in October, and after a 5.5 to 3.5 final win over Lakeside, 2018 champions Fermoy now stand alone in national Inter-Club history by being the first club to win three National Scratch titles in a row. Joining John Cahill as three-time Fermoy National Inter-Club winners are Declan Freeman, Daniel Keohane and David Sexton. Peter O’Donovan became the first player to win both the National Nett Inter-Club and the National Scratch Inter-Club while Barry Morrissey finally got his hands on a national title with the Fermoy team 32 years after he was National Gent's Strokeplay Runner-Up at Cement in 1986.
A narrow 3.5 to 2.5 verdict in the final over host club Royal Meath means Lakeside’s outstanding record in the National Ladies Inter-Club continues. The Templemore team has now recorded three wins and one runners-up placing. Bridget Shelley, Helen McMorrow, Elaine Quinn, Josie McCormack and Mary Quinn were part of the 2014, 2017 and 2018 National Ladies Inter-Club winning teams and on the side that lost the 2016 decider. Sprightly octogenarian Maureen Whelan represented first-time ladies runners-up Royal Meath 30 years after she first won the Inter-County Championship with Meath.
Congratulations to Gowran who won the National Handicap Inter-Club – it’s a first ever national title for the progressive Kilkenny outfit. As Gowran beat Riverdale 6-3 in the final at Royal Meath, Derek Delaney, Derek Whelan, Tom Fitzpatrick, Robert Middleton and Kevin Knox added National Nett Inter-Club winners’ medals to recent success with Kilkenny in the Leinster Junior Inter-County Championships.
Mairead Manning and Dave Towler became the 16th pair from Cork and the third from St. Stephen’s to win the National Mixed Foursomes when their 15up return earned them a one shot victory in the 2018 renewal at Lakeside. Dave Towler and Mairead Manning’s winning score of 15up matches the score recorded by club-mates Mary Daly and Alan Daly when the Daly’s won at Collins in 2015. Riverdale combination Margaret Courtney and Dean Courtney became the third multiple runners-up in the history of the National Mixed Foursomes, following Chris and Siobhan Scannell and Tracey and Joe McGrath. After carding 14up at Lakeside to finish second for the second time in three years, they are also the first pairing to be runners-up in the National Mixed Foursomes twice in the same county.
As Ryston’s Chrissie Byrne and Darren Keogh scored +9 (including an outstanding second round of 44) to become the tenth partnership to be multiple Best Gross winners at the National Mixed Foursomes, Darren now has three Best Gross wins in the tournament - one with his wife Margaret and two with Chrissie Byrne. Chrissie is now one of seven players to have won the National Mixed Foursomes overall with one partner and the National Mixed Foursomes Gross with another partner - Ian Farrelly, Brenda Purcell, Marie O'Toole, Liz Quinn, Eleanor Walsh and Catherine McCreevy are the others.
At McDonagh in July, Mary Murray and Mairead O'Toole (Poulaphouca) became the first players in history to win both the National Ladies O-55 Senior and Intermediate Grade Strokeplay Championships. They achieved the feat in inverse order to each other. Mary Murray became the first Cork winner of the National Ladies O-55 Senior Grade Strokeplay Championship since Chris O'Shaughnessy at Deerpark in 2006 when the Rocklodge player scored 107 at McDonagh to finish two clear of Shandon’s Maree O’Toole. It was a fourth National individual runners-up slot overall for Maree O'Toole as she finished second in the National Ladies O-55 Senior Grade Strokeplay championship for the second time in three years.
Mairead O'Toole became the fifth Co. Kildare winner of the National Ladies O-55 Intermediate Grade Strokeplay championship in the sixth-ever play-off for the event. Mairead defeated 1996 National Strokeplay Champion Rose Kelly (Ryston) in that play-off after a tie on 110. Rose Kelly becomes the first player in history to earn a runners-up placing in both the National Ladies O-55 Senior Grade Strokeplay championship and the National Ladies O-55 Intermediate Grade Strokeplay Championship. Mairead became the fourth player ever (Esther Martin, Bernie Dunne and Mary Murray are the others) to win the National Ladies Intermediate Strokeplay Championship and the National Ladies O-55 Intermediate Grade Strokeplay Championship.
Frank Ryan (Athgarvan) became the fourth two-time winner of the National Gent's O-55 Senor Grade Strokeplay Championship, joining Pat Greene (who has won three), Anthony Malone and William Sheridan. Frank Ryan is the first player to win two National Gent's O-55 Senior Grade Strokeplay Championships while representing a different club during each victory. Frank’s 94 at McDonagh was two better than Joe Ronan (McDonagh). Joe Ronan's 94 equalled the best ever score by a Runner-Up in the history of the National Gent's O-55 Senior Grade Strokeplay Championships.
Sean Minogue is the second player in history (after Sean O'Brien) to be National Gents O-55 Intermediate Grade Strokeplay Champion and National Gents O-55 Intermediate Grade Strokeplay Runner-Up. Sean O'Brien achieved the feat in reverse order. Minogue’s 96 was a single shot better than Tullamore’s John Fleming, who was third in the National Strokeplay Championship in 2003. Sean Minogue has had a superb run in the National Gent's O-55 Strokeplay Championships over the past three years - Runner-Up in Senior Grade in 2016, Runner-Up in Intermediate last year and now the Intermediate Champion.
Christy and Anne Sweeney, both of St. Bridget’s, are the first husband and wife to win National Pitch & Putt O-55’s Strokeplay championship titles in the same year. Christy scored 103 to be the second Co. Kildare winner of the National Gents O-55 Junior Grade Strokeplay championship. He is also the second St Bridget's champion, matching the feat of namesake (but no relation) John Sweeney. Martin Verbeek (Lough Owel) was second on 105. The Dutchman's love affair with the National Gent's O-55 Junior Grade Strokeplay Championship continued. The 2016 champion has not been out of the top two in the last three stagings of the event.
Anne Sweeney became the seventh Co. Kildare winner of the National Ladies O-55 Junior grade Strokeplay Championship in the 15 years the championship has been contested. Ann’s 122 was a single stroke better than club-mate Dina Dillon’s 123.
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