A MONTH after the Provincial Matchplay Finals, this weekend it is the turn of the Provincial Strokeplay Finals for the Gents in both Leinster and Munster. Communications & Press Officer Jason O’Connor takes an overview of the fields in the six events in Collinstown (Leinster) and Listowel (Munster).
The Intermediates and Juniors are in action on Saturday with the Seniors taking place on Sunday. The honour of the first tee-shot on Saturday will fall to Clive Byrne from the host club as he plays alongside Glenville’s Joseph O’Connor and Castletown’s Gerry Plunkett. In all there are four Collinstown players amongst the 27 Juniors, Raymond Fay playing alongside Tullamore’s Dale Reynolds and Kevin Moore of O’Connor’s Elm Hall. Former NEC Officer Paddy Browne will play alongside Trim’s Kevin Sullivan and Inniskeen’s Aidan Vaughan Robert Masterson is in the final three-ball to tee off alongside Navan’s Jimmy Burke and Lough Owel’s Michael Dinnegan.
Last year’s event in Bagenalstown was won by Dean Revins from Kilbeggan but even though there is no Kilbeggan player in the Junior grade, there are plenty from the Lake County that will try to keep the Cup in the county bounds. Lough Owel’s Niall Kinahan plays with Trim’s Evan Ganley and Erry’s Kieran Claffey as another Lough Owel player, Paddy Hugh Joyce will play with Bagenalstown’s Paraic McNally and Navan’s Hugh Byrne. The Top nine players after the first 36 holes in this event will go forward for a further 18 holes to decide the title. The Intermediate grade is unique in nothing having a player from the host club in the 45 strong field but there are 10 Westmeath players hoping to succeed Inniskeen’s Michael Vaughan as the winner.
Gareth Ward of Lough Owel will tee-off alongside former National Junior Strokeplay winner Daniel Clinton of Killineer and Tullamore’s Lorcan Bracken as John Caron of Kilbeggan and John Sweeney of Lough Owel are both playing with Navan’s Cliff O’Brien. Dean Dinnegan will play with John Troy Jnr of Stackallen as Albert Mithen of Loughlinstown makes up this particular three-ball. Lough Owel’s strong representation continues as David Penrose plays with Colm Lynch of Rathfeigh and another Meath club representative in Andrew O’Brien of Royal Meath. David Kiernan plays with Kevin Knox of Gowran (who took part in the National Matchplay recently) and Jimmy Taylor of Erry as Lough Owel’s other representative is Ross Sweeney plays with Trim’s Paddy Kelly and former National 0-55’s Junior Strokeplay winner Aidan Whelan of Ryston.
Rochfortbridge and Custume are also represented in this grade, Jonathon Daly from the former playing with Old County’s Conor O’Shea and Castletown’s Gerry Thompson as Anthony Browne from the latter plays with Erry’s Sean Buckley and Killineer’s Gerard Thornton in the final three-ball to tee-off around lunchtime. The Top 12 will go forward for the 18 hole playoff thereafter. The Seniors on Sunday meanwhile sees defending champion John Ross Crangle back in action after missing out on the recent National Matchplay as he tees-off in the final three-ball alongside Erry’s Joe McGrath and Patrick Murphy of Tullamore.
Leinster’s sole National Gents Matchplay Semi-Finalist, Paul Nolan of Ierne, will hope to build on his good showing in Rocklodge as he plays with Old County’s Karl Murphy and William Buckley of Erry. Recent Leinster Strokeplays have been good to the St Patricks club from Enniscorthy. Paul Tobin will tee-off in the first three-ball alongside Ryston’s Darren Keogh and Peter Reilly of Killineer. Former Leinster winners Hubert Kelly and Martin O’Neill find themselves in a three-ball with McBride’s Owen Smith as Dean Grannell plays alongside McBride’s George Beardsley and Ferbane’s David Cassidy. Richard Grannell is the other St Pats player in the field as he has two National Champions from opposite ends of the spectrum in his three-ball.
2003 National Matchplay winner, Darren O’Reilly of Lucan and last year’s double U-16 National Strokeplay and Matchplay winner Evan Carry of Castletown will be alongside Grannell as local Collinstown hopes will rest with John Browne of Collinstown and his namesake John McDonald. Browne plays with two Dubliners, former National Intermediate Strokeplay winner Damian Creevy of Lucan and Ierne’s James McLoughlin while McDonald plays with Anthony Carroll of Royal Meath and Paul O’Rourke of Dunshaughlin. Lough Owel’s Sean Dinnegan plays with Gary Healy of Loughlinstown and Padraic Sarsfield of McBride as his club-mate Gerry Coyne is playing with Thomas O’Reilly of Old County and Anthony Gibney of Castletown.
Rochfortbridge’s Mark Kelly plays with Chris Gallagher of Lucan and Sean Harkins of Ryston as Leinster Senior Matchplay winner Mark Millar of Killineer plays with Old County’s Stephen Murray and Junior Smith of RGSC. Another interesting three ball is the pairing of Eamon Gibney, Ian Dillon and Ian Donnelly as like the Intermediates the day before, the Top 12 from the 45 strong field will go forward for the playoff to decide the 2019 Senior Champion.
17 years since a Provincial Championship last visited Listowel in the old Munster Council days, the North Kerry course welcomes the province to its town park setting with the Gents events seeing the Juniors playing on Saturday and both the Intermediates and Seniors playing on Sunday. John Carey from the host club will have the honour of hitting the first tee-shot of the weekend playing alongside Larkspur Park’s Adam Buckley and Con Buckley from Newmarket.
Fergus Keane from the hosts follows next playing with Riverdale’s Sean Crowe and Cill Na Mona’s Dermot Tuohy. Like Carey, William O’Sullivan is paired with a Newmarket (WJ Buckley) and Larkspur Park (Ben White) player as Graham Tarrant is the third Listowel player to be playing with a Newmarket player (Ben Newman) as Collins’ Jason Long makes up the final three-ball. Munster Junior Matchplay winner Daniel Ryan of Tipperary Hills will build for the double playing alongside Brendan Moloney of Parteen as well as Douglas’ Michael Lynch. Another interesting three ball in the Junior grade sees two players who played against each other in the Munster Junior Matchplay, Deerpark’s Noel Moynihan and Tipperary Hills’ Michael O’Donoghue playing together again in a provincial competition with Raffeen Creek’s Michael Bransfield making up this three-ball.
Like the Intermediate grade in Leinster, there is no representative from the home course in the 45 strong field as National Intermediate 0-55’s Champion Sean Minogue of Riverdale gets Sunday’s play underway alongside two fellow Tipperary players in Lakeside’s Sean McCormack and Larkspur Park’s George Goodman. John Farrell looks for the provincial double after his win in the Matchplay meanwhile as he plays with Kerry Intermediate Strokeplay winner Eamon Sheehy of Tralee with Jamie O’Connor of Collins making up that three-ball. The Runner-Up in that final, Brian O’Flynn of Tipperary Hills, follows with former National Junior Strokeplay winner Keith Power and Tralee’s John Fitzgerald his playing partners.
The last three winners of the Junior competition in the province are in action as well in this grade. Dylan Seymour of Fermoy needed a nine hole playoff to win last year but he makes the step up in grade this year playing alongside Weeshie Murphy of Raffeen Creek and John Clifton of Castleisland. 2017 Junior winner Keith Flynn plays with Riverdale’s John Minogue and Tipperary Hills’ Charlie Compton while 2016 Junior winner Stephen Donovan of Cunnigar plays in the final three-ball with Deerpark’s Adam Kelly and Collins’ Jimmy Quinn. Tralee’s Padraig Hobbart plays with Parteen’s Kevin Flynn and Hillview’s David Cahill, Castleisland’s John Fitzgerald plays with William O’Donovan of Bruff and Gerard Hogan of St Stephens as Kerry’s representatives are completed Deerpark’s John O’Brien playing with Fermoy’s Gavin Dawson and St Annes Michael Long while Gearóid Cronin from the Killarney club plays with Castleisland’s Timmy Looney Jnr and Parteen’s Che Maher.
In the Seniors it feels kind of fitting that Damien Fleming will get the first tee-shot in the Seniors at 12pm after his exploits in Rocklodge with St Annes Frank Dineen and Hillview’s Stephen O’Reilly his playing partners in his quest for a maiden provincial singles title. The next three ball contains two players who share three of the last four titles in this event as defending champion Kieran Earls has 2015 and 2016 winner John Walsh of Collins as well as Bruff’s Martin Keohane makes up this three-ball. 2017 winner Bryan Delaney and National and Munster Senior Matchplay Runner-Up Bryan Delaney tees off in the final three-ball meanwhile with Larkspur Park’s Christopher Hickey and Collins’ Eoin Walsh his playing partners.
Winner in the year 2000 at his home course, Jason O’Regan of Tralee tees-off with Larkspur Park’s Michael Kirby and Ballinlough’s John O’Leary as 2013 winner Chris Scannell plays with former National Junior Strokeplay winner Brian Cahill and Jamie Blake of Tralee. Munster Senior Matchplay winner Shane Murphy has two Kerry players in his three-ball namely Deerpark’s Jason O’Brien and Tony Blake of Tralee. National U-20 Strokeplay holder Eoin Keating of Douglas plays with Bruff’s Thomas Hanley and Castleisland’s Mike Browne as there is another three ball containing two Kerry plays with Ray Murphy playing alongside Deerpark’s John McGrath and Tralee’s Alan Hobbart.
Plenty of interesting possibilities on Sunday, certainly in the 33 strong senior field as there could be a very competitive line-up for the Top 12 playoff if all players hit form.
We wish all players in both provinces the best of luck over both days this weekend. Updates, when we have them, will be available on the PPUI scoreboard and there will be a daily round-up at the end of both days play.
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