2019 Provincial Gents Matchplay Finals Preview

A look ahead to the Mens events

2019 Provincial Gents Matchplay Finals Preview image

FOR the Gents in Leinster this weekend at the Matchplay Championships there is two courses at play in two different counties, Erry (Offaly) and Trim (Meath) while in Munster all the Gents action is in Larkspur Park. Communications & Press Officer Jason O’Connor looks ahead to the six events this weekend.



ERRY will have the Seniors and Intermediates and Saturday before all play moves to Trim on Sunday alongside the Juniors and the Ladies grades. After winning out last year’s Senior event, Aongus Coughlan begins the defence of his title on home turf with a match against Michael Buckley of Collinstown. The winner is guaranteed to meet a former National Champion in the Quarter-Finals as 2017 National Matchplay Champion John Ross Crangle takes on 2015 National Intermediate Strokeplay winner Damian Creevey of Lucan. Crangle is a former winner of this event of course with 2015 his last win in this event.


            The day itself begins with the meeting of Lough Owel’s Gerry Coyne and McBride’s David O’Brien as former Irish Open winner and member of the World Cup and European Championship winning Irish teams Eamon Gibney plays Joe Ronan of McDonagh in the second encounter. A meeting of another two former National Strokeplay winners is also bound to attract interest as 2017 winner Mark Millar of Killiner (formerly Cement) will face 2003 winner William Buckley Jnr around the latter’s home turf. Speaking of 2003, National Matchplay winner that year, Darren O’Reilly will play former Leinster Strokeplay winner Martin O’Neill of St Patricks. The bottom section of the draw sees Thomas Barry of Ierne play Leonard O’Meara from the host club. The meeting of McBride’s Padraic Sarsfield and Tullamore’s Dylan Melia completes the First Round draw meanwhile.


            The Intermediate Grade sees no home advantage for anyone on Saturday in Erry although there is a possibility of an all Ferbane Quarter-Final if both Kieran Egan and Brian Doyle can win their First Round encounters over Lucan’s Gareth Walsh and Bagenalstown’s Martin Baird, something easier said than done! Trim’s Paddy Kelly will hope he can make use of home advantage if he makes it through to Sunday as he faces Gaeil Colmcille’s Peter Dolan in the First Round with the winner to play either Lough Owel’s David Penrose or Lucan’s Gerry Ward in the Quarter-Finals. Former Leinster Junior Strokeplay winner Aidan Thomas of McDonagh faces a player to finish in the prizes in the Leinsters before in John Tyrell of St Patricks. His Enniscorthy club-mate Kevin Doyle faces Paul O’Rourke of Dunshaughlin as new PPUI club O’Connor’s Elm Hall have a participant in Tony Barry who plays Seamus Byrne of McBride. The grade is completed by the meeting of Cloghogue’s Ciaran McLoughlin and Declan Hogan of Lough Owel.


            The Junior grade in the eastern province will take place completely in Trim as Sean Madden from the host club will tee-off first in the event, Sean Murphy of Bagenalstown’s his First Round opponent. Evan Ganley from the host club will follow in the next match as he faces Robert Masterson of Collinstown as an all Meath affair follows with Castletown’s Gerry Plunkett taking on Navan’s Robbie Murtagh. The meeting of Oldcastle’s John McPartland and Joseph O’Connor of Glenville completes the top half of the draw meanwhile. The bottom half of the draw sees an all Offaly encounter as Tullamore’s Conor McEvoy will face Dermot Maher of Erry. Kildare faces Westmeath in the next encounter as Ryston’s Joseph Deegan takes on Clive Byrne of Collinstown. O’Connor’s Elm Hall have another representative meanwhile in James Leahy taking on Robert Middleton of Gowran as the final First Round encounter sees Lough Owel’s John Donnelly take on Jonathon McCabe of Navan.


            The ability to switch courses successfully will be needed by all three winners to come through both days of play.



LARKSPUR Park will be where everything is decided over both days as last year’s senior winner Declan Freeman has to contend with Shane Hoare from the host club in defence of his title. Indeed the host club will hold the key as to whether or not we get a meeting of the current Munster and National Matchplay Champions in the Quarter-Finals as Brian Delaney faces Christopher Hickey in the second match to tee-off. Conor Fahy has progressed up the grades as the Parteen player faces a Munster Mixed Foursomes winner in Mick Fennell of Lakeside. Fermoy’s Daithi Sexton faces Kerry’s sole representative in the grade Jason Cregan from Tralee to complete the top half of the draw.


            National, European and indeed World Strokeplay winner Liam O’Donovan of Bruff faces a former runner-up in this event back in 2015 in Tipperary Hills’ Pat Martin as Pat’s club-mate Anthony Culhane faces former National Junior Strokeplay winner Brian Cahill in an all Tipperary affair. National Strokeplay and two time Irish Open winner Frank Dineen will play Bruff’s Martin Keohane as the meeting of John Cahill and Shane Murphy in the bottom match brings together two former National Singles winners as well. The Intermediate grade meanwhile sees Jimmy Quinn (now of Collins) take on Tipperary Hills’ Charlie Compton as Dominic Kavanagh of Charleville (winner of the Junior grade in 2017) takes on JJ Quirke of Fermoy in the second match. Prizewinner in Munster events in the past, Tipperary Hills’ Brian O’Flynn will take on Majestic’s Nicholas Sherman as former Munster U-16 Strokeplay winner, Adam Kelly of Deerpark takes on Che Maher of Parteen to complete top half of draw.


            Tralee’s Aidan O’Sullivan takes on Collins’ Martin O’Connor in the first match in the bottom half as another player to perform well at this level, John Farrell of Bruff, takes on Gerard Hogan of St Stephens. The final quarter-final will come from the winner of Damien Long (Collins) vs. Paul Shoer Jnr (Lakeside) with Aidan O’Rourke of Cunnigar taking on a former senior Munster winner and reigning National 0-55’s Intermediate Strokeplay winner in Sean Minogue of Riverdale. The Junior grade is unique in containing a defending champion as well as three players from the same club in the first three matches! Sean O’Neill faces Seamus Gleeson from Riverdale in the First Round on his home course as the grade begins with three matches involving Tipperary Hills players.


            Daniel Ryan will hope for another deep run in this year’s event as club-mate Joe Shanahan faces Joe Mulvihill of Charleville. Michael O’Donoghue completes the Tipp town club’s novel start against Deerpark’s Noel Moynihan. Tipp Hills have interest in the last First Round match as well as Richard Swords faces a former National U-16 Plate Matchplay winner in Aaron Roche of St Stephens. In-between all that Tralee’s David Hobbert will play Hillview’s Darren O’Donnell to complete the top half of the draw as there is an interesting all Ardnacrusha affair between Brian Dillon and Mick McGuane.


            The other First Round match is the penultimate one as Conor Leahy of Listowel takes on Greg Lynch of Rocklodge. Whether the weekend turns into a Tipperary treble remains to be seen but Larkspur Park has a habit of being a great test of event the best of players in Championship conditions.