Continuing our look back on 2018, John Manning focusses on the Inter-County and U-16 events in this second part of our look back on the past year.
At Deerpark in September, Kildare Ladies earned their 11th Inter-County win on 604, which consolidates their second place position on the all-time roll of honour. Marian Byrne-Courtney and Mary Donnelly notched another National Ladies Inter County win, 21 years after their first. Marian Byrne-Courtney has now played on every winning Kildare team. Along with Kildare finishing in the Top Two of the National Ladies Inter-County Championships for the ninth successive year, Tara Dillon now has 10 Inter County wins, Chrissie Byrne nine, Mairead O'Toole five, Mary Donnelly four and Betty Smyth picked-up her first.
Cork extended their lead at the top of the Gents Inter-County Roll of Honour to six when the Leesiders scored 779 at Deerpark to earn their 23rd Gents Inter-County win. Ray Murphy lengthens his record of most National Gents Inter-County winners’ medals - with his 16th victory. John Walsh moves on to 15 gold National Inter-County gongs, John Cahill to 11. Bryan Delaney has now featured on seven winning Cork teams and Declan Freeman on two. With his maiden adult Inter-County success, Eoin Keating became the sixth player to win the National Juvenile Inter-County and the National Gents Inter-County with Cork. (Eleanor Walsh has won the National Juvenile Inter-County and the National Ladies Inter-County with Cork).
Dublin Ladies (seven strokes back) and Gents (13 shots behind) teams finished runners up in the Inter-County championships in the same year for the third time in five seasons and for the sixth time in all. Meath (1970 and 1981), Cork (1983) and Kildare (2001) are the other counties to achieve this. Dublin finished second in the national Gents Inter-County championship for the fourteenth time, which extends their lead at the head of that particular list, while Dublin ladies’ thirteenth silver medal performance ties them at the top with Kildare. Martin Baird, Donal McNally, Darren McNally and Kevin Halligan combined for Carlow in their B inter-county win. It was a second top two finish in a row for the Barrowsiders, 31 years after they were second overall at Glenville.
Kerry celebrated their fifth National U-16 Inter-County Pitch & Putt title, which consolidates their third position on the all-time Roll of Honour. Cillian Courtney, Robbie Harnett, Jack McCarthy, Fintan Martin, Eoin O'Riordan Looney and Erin Moloney combined for a 36 hole score of 411 at Fermoy, three clear of holders Cork. Sophie Farnan became the second player in PPUI history from the Skyrne club to win a national Pitch & Putt individual championship when she scored 130 to win the National Girls’ Strokeplay championship at Fermoy. Sophie’s four stroke victory over Lucan’s Eimear Ahern meant she is the first Co. Meath winner of the National Girls Pitch & Putt Strokeplay championship since Denise Rusk (Royal Meath) at Mellows in 1980.
Many of us probably felt that Barry O'Neill's feat was unlikely to ever be equalled. Well it was..... 19 years on! So congratulations to Castletown’s Evan Carry, who scored 100 at Fermoy to be National U-16 Strokeplay Champion for the third successive year. Add in his triumph over Shea Fennell (Parteen) in the National U-16 Matchplay Final at Kilbeggan and Evan now holds four National U-16 individual championships, more than any other player in PPUI history. Shea narrowly failed to win Munster Juvenile Matchplay and National Juvenile Matchplay in the same year. That deed was achieved by Glenn Towler in 2016. The St Annes starlet reached the National Juvenile Matchplay finals for the third successive year in 2018. 2017 Plate winner Aaron Roche (St. Stephen’s) was the other semi-finalist.
With his victory in the National Juvenile Matchplay Plate, Collinstown’s Jack Buckley is the first Co. Westmeath winner of a National Juvenile Boys Pitch & Putt championship since Kevin Metcalfe won the Strokeplay Championship in 2001. Plate Runner-Up Liam McGrath almost made it two national titles inside a year - the Douglas player was part of Cork's National U-16 Inter-County winning side in 2017.
Jack Mullins (Kilbeggan) enjoyed a productive week in mid-August. A Leinster Inter-County win with Westmeath was followed by runners-up slot in the National U-16 Strokeplay championship (just one stroke behind Evan Carry) a year after he won the 10-13 category in the same event. There was another National podium finish for 2017 Inter-County winner Aaron Roche, who added third place in the 2018 Under 16 Strokeplay to a win in the 2017 National Matchplay Plate. Deerpark’s Robbie Harnett became the second player from the Killarney club in three years to win the 10-13 section, following on from Cillian Courtney’s win in the same section in Royal Meath in 2016.
2016 U-16 Inter-County winner Eoin Keating (Douglas) became the second-ever National U-20 Strokeplay champion. Fermoy is certainly a happy hunting ground for him as two of his four national wins have been at Fermoy. Eoin also won a Cork U-16 title at Fermoy in the past. 2014 National U-16 Inter-County winner Cian Morrison narrowly failed to retain his National U-20 Strokeplay title. His 97 was just one higher than his winning aggregate in 2017. It was third-placed Dylan Seymour's (Fermoy) second national podium finish at Fermoy in 2018, having helped Coláiste an Chraoibhin to third place in the National Schools Tournament Final in April.
The St. Francis College Rochestown team that won that event (Ronan O'Driscoll, Eoin Keating and Liam McGrath) had a winning margin of 15 strokes over St. Brendan’s College, Killarney (Lorcan Martin, Adam Kelly and Cillian Courtney) at Fermoy making it the biggest winning margin in the history of the National Schools tournament.
Tomorrow: We conclude our look back with a focus on International Pitch & Putt & all other events at national level from the past year.
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