ONE of the great nurseries of the U-16 section, Deerpark in Killarney plays host to the National U-16 Matchplay Championships this weekend. Communications & Press Officer Jason O’Connor takes a look at the field ahead of play on Saturday and Sunday.
A HEAVY Kerry influence on entries for this weekend’s as both the hosts Deerpark and Listowel make up the bulk of entries but with last year’s Runner-Up as well as the Plate winner from Kilbeggan entered it promises to be an interesting battle for both the Helen Persson Cup (Championship) and the Plate. Parteen’s Shea Fennell was defeated in last year’s battle of the provincial champions with Evan Carry but did win last year’s Munster Matchplay decider in Deerpark with Glenn Towler (the inaugural winner of this event back in Royal Meath in 2016).
Glenn enters on a hot streak this year having won not only another Munster Matchplay (he won the 2016 event at this weekend’s venue too) but also a seven stroke victory at the Strokeplay in Hillview last Saturday. Shea did win the National Secondary Schools event in McDonagh back in May with St Munchins alongside Patrick Mitchell who lost out the provincial decider in St Annes to Glenn. From Leinster Jack Buckley of Collinstown travels down having won the Plate event last year with victory over Liam McGrath in the decider. He won the Leinster U-16 Matchplay to give him some form coming into this as the Strokeplay winner in the eastern province, Dylan Hudson of St Patricks, is also amongst the field having now won both provincial titles in separate years.
Last year’s National Boys Strokeplay Runner-Up Jack Mullins is amongst the field as is brother Conor who won the 10-13 title in Rochfortbridge last weekend. Local hopes will rest with Cillian Courtney, Robbie Harnett and Eoin O’Riordan Looney in the main. Cillian was best of the rest when it came to the Munsters in Hillview last Saturday as he hopes for a good showing on home turf having won last year’s Plate Final here at the Munster Matchplay against Patrick Mitchell. Robbie Harnett meanwhile won the 10-13 grade in Munster last week with six shots to spare as he was also a member of last year’s Kerry National Inter-County winning side. Eoin O’Riordan Looney has performed well locally in recent months as Listowel’s Jake Shine is the current holder of the Kerry Strokeplay and Matchplay and also reached the recent Semi-Finals of the Munster U-16 Matchplay Championships.
Other locals to look out for this weekend include Ryan McCarthy as well as namesake Brian McCarthy, second and third behind Robbie Harnett in the Munster 10-13 last week as Listowel’s Bobby McCarron (Plate winner in Munster) and club-mate Jayden Chute should also feature prominently this weekend. Deerpark’s Ryan Neeson was a Plate Semi-Finalist in 2017 while both his club-mates Noah Sexton and TJ O’Sullivan were the beaten Semi-Finalists in the Plate in Munster. Cian Murphy was the 2017 Munster Matchplay winner as Dublin is represented by Glenville duo Luke Devlin and Darragh McGibney with Oisín Mulryne also amongst the competitors this weekend.
A lot to look forward to this weekend as it will be interested to see how the players cope not only with the Round Robin format but also the switch to knock-out on Saturday afternoon and the playing of 36 hole Semi-Finals in both the Plate and Championship on Sunday morning.
We wish everyone an enjoyable weekend in both ESB for the 0-55’s and Deerpark for the U-16 Matchplay. Updates will be available from both events throughout the weekend on both our website and social media platforms.
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