2021 National Matchplay Facts and Figures

John Manning's Stats on Ryston

2021 National Matchplay Facts and Figures image

John Manning gives us a breakdown of what last weekend in Ryston meant for the history books.



Damien Fleming delivered a fourth National Gents’ Matchplay title for Kerry – all achieved within the last eighteen stagings. Damien moves on to three National Gents’ Matchplay wins, which ties him in joint second place on the all-time list with Joe Doyle, Sean Harkins and John Walsh.

Four national individual titles (Strokeplay/Matchplay) moves Damien up to sole fourth place behind Ray Murphy (10), John Walsh (5) and Sean Downes (5). The ten-year gap between his first and most recent victory in the National Gents’ Matchplay is the fourth longest in history after Ray Murphy, John Walsh and Sean Harkins. Damien has contested four National Matchplay semi-finals and won them all.

The 2021 National Gents’ Matchplay championship final was the sixth between players representing clubs in Cork and Kerry. Damien Fleming’s victory at Ryston gives Kerry players a 4-2 advantage in such finals.

A Corkman has lost every National Gents’ Matchplay final to be contested at Irish Ropes/Newbridge – Joe Buckley in 1976, John O’Leary (1982), Darren Collins (2001) and Ray Murphy.

Ray Murphy contested his tenth National Matchplay final, extending his own record. As well as most wins, Ray now alone has the most losses in National Matchplay finals with four. Six-time champion Ray has now contested 14 National Gents’ Matchplay semi-finals. His record is: W10; L4.

Ian Dillon became the eighth National Matchplay runner-up to reach (at least) the semi-finals the following year. Ian has reached two National Matchplay semi-finals and has a 50% record.

Sean Goggin reached the National Gents’ Matchplay semi-finals for the third time. His record is W1, L2. He has played Ray Murphy in two of those semi-finals and following the semi-final which he won, he faced Ray in the final.


Scratch Ladies

Chrissie Byrne won the National Ladies Matchplay championship for the sixth time. She won it for the first time as a member of the Ryston club. Chrissie was appearing in her eleventh National Ladies Matchplay final. That puts her in second place on the all-time list, alongside Margaret Hogan. Chrissie’s six wins consolidate her third place on the all-time Roll of Honour behind Ger Ward and Clare Keating. It was Chrissie’s 15th National Ladies Matchplay semi-final. Her record reads: W11, L4.

Breda White was runner-up in the National Ladies Matchplay championship for the third time and for the second successive year. Breda has now contested 10 National Ladies Matchplay championship semi-finals. Her record is W4, L6.

The 33 year gap between Breda’s initial runner-up performance in the National Ladies Matchplay championship (1988) and the most recent (2021) is a new record, eclipsing her own 32 year mark.

Breda’s three runners-up performances in the National Ladies Matchplay sees the Tipperary lady tied with Marian Byrne and Tara Dillon in joint fifth place on the all-time list. She played in her first National Ladies Matchplay semi-final in 1979. That 42 year span between first and most recent appearance at that stage is second only to Margaret Hogan (1974-2019).

For the fourth time in history and the second time in three years, the National Ladies Matchplay was won by a player on her home course.

The 2021 Ladies final was the 2nd National Ladies Matchplay championship decider to be contested by players representing Kildare and Tipperary clubs. Breda White has played in both, winning in 2014 against Tara Dillon.

Tara Dillon has played in six National Matchplay semi-finals. Her record is W4, L2.

Reigning National Strokeplay champion Liz Quinn made the National Matchplay semi-finals for the first time. Liz is the first player from Co. Westmeath to reach a National Ladies Matchplay semi-final since Rose McCormack at Waterford Crystal in 1996. Liz is the 32nd reigning National Ladies Strokeplay champion to at least reach the National Ladies Matchplay semi-finals in the following season’s event.


Nett Ladies

Leinster supplied all four semi-finalists in the National Ladies Matchplay Nett Cup – in complete contrast to last year’s event at Larkspur Park.

Abby Whelan is the first player representing a Leinster club to win the competition.

Chrissie Byrne and Abby Whelan ensured that the National Ladies Matchplay and Ladies Matchplay Nett Cup winners came from the same county for the third successive year.

Former two-time National O-55 Strokeplay champion Betty Cody made the National Ladies Matchplay Nett Cup final on the same Ryston course where she progressed through the early rounds to make the 2015 Leinster Intermediate Matchplay final at St. Bridgets.

2018 Leinster Junior Matchplay winner Audrey Donnelly’s aptitude for the Ladies Matchplay Nett Cup continues. A quarter-finalist in 2019 and 2020, Audrey made the 2021 last four.

Suzanne Reilly was the second Oldcastle player inside a couple of weeks to contest a National Matchplay semi-final after her club-mate Mark Cadden contested the National Boys Matchplay semis.


Suzanne is the first Co. Meath player to reach the National Ladies Matchplay Nett Cup semi-finals.



2021 qualifiers Ray Murphy (3rd Round), Chris Scannell (semi-finalist), Sean Harkins (2nd Round), Derek Courtney (1st Round), James Cleary (1st Round), Ian Donnelly (2nd Round), Liam O’Donovan (2nd Round), William Buckley (quarter-finalist), John Cahill (3rd Round), Frank Dineen (quarter-finalist) and Conor O’Hare (2nd Round) all played in the National Gents’ Matchplay on the last occasion it was played at Ryston (in 2001) – performance then in parentheses.


Margaret Keogh (1st Round), Marian Courtney (semi-finalist), and Maree O’Toole (quarter-finalist), all played in the National Ladies Matchplay Championship on the last occasion it was played at Ryston (in 2001) – performance then in parentheses.