Cork and Tipperary are the inaugural All Ireland graded Gents Inter-County champions after the Munster kingpins won their respective finals at the excellent Tullamore course today. John Manning reports on both matches.
On a dry cold day, both the Intermediate and Junior deciders produced play of the highest quality and each final went right down to the wire before the Cork Intermediates and Tipperary Juniors claimed their eventual 5-4 wins.
Cork led Dublin 2-1 after the morning Intermediate Scotch Foursomes. JJ Quirke and Jimmy Quinn were 4&2 winners over Barry Gorey and Tom McMorrow while Dylan Seymour and Ronan O’Driscoll overcame Paddy Gaynor and Trevor Ward by 4&3. That was after Gareth Walsh and Lennon Blake edged a very tight battle with Gavin Dawson and Keith Power, the Dubliners winning on the final green.
Gareth Walsh quickly levelled matters with a 1up victory in the opening singles while Barry Gorey (Lucan), with an exciting tie hole success against JJ Quirke (Fermoy), and RGSC’s Paddy Gaynor (who outlasted Gavin Dawson by a 2&1 margin) gave Dublin some further hope.
But the ultra-experienced trio of Jimmy Quinn, Ronan O'Driscoll and Keith Power won their singles matches to get Cork to the five points they needed for victory. Quinn, a former two-time National Graded Strokeplay Runner-Up, was a 2&1 winner, Power the 2017 National Junior Strokeplay champion a 4&2 victor and O'Driscoll (a National Schools winner with Rochestown College) got home by 3&2.
In the process of collecting their second All Ireland medals within a matter of weeks, the Riverdale, Nenagh combination of Sean Crowe and Ger Tuite gave the Premier County juniors an ideal platform against Westmeath with a 4&3 winning margin over Michael Dinegan and Shane Kinahan in the first foursomes match. Tipperary Hills duo Michael O’Donoghue and Daniel Ryan gave Tipp a further advantage by beating Raymond Fay and Fergal O’Connor by 3&2 before Robert Masterson and Clive Byrne delivered some Lake County hope with an exciting 20th hole verdict over Ken Hayes and Michael Butler.
Early singles wins by Robert Masterson and Fergal O'Connor brought Westmeath right back into it before Ken Hayes earned a vital Premier County win after a titanic battle with Raymond Fay. Tipp's Michael O’Donoghue was always on top in his 36 holes encounter. The Tipp Hills man's 6&5 singles success allied to inspiring captain Daniel Ryan's 2&1 triumph rendered Lough Owel’s Michael Dinegan's battling 1 up win too little too late for the men in maroon.
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