Following the draws in Douglas, John Manning takes a look at some of the first round matches.
Standout match of the Ladies Scratch First Round pits reigning champion Chrissie Sheedy (Ryston) against her sister and clubmate Marian Courtney.
That match is a repeat of the 2006 final at Fermoy in which six-time champion Chrissie beat Marian, who has lifted the trophy on three occasions.
Chrissie has positive memories of Douglas where she won the 2005 National Ladies Strokeplay championship when Marian was four strokes behind in fourth.
If Chrissie survives her first round encounter, she could quickly face another final repeat. Should Tara Dillon (Ryston) manage to overcome Fermoy’s Ailish Sexton (National Intermediate Strokeplay champion in 2012), it will be Chrissie v. Tara, which will recall their clashes in the 2008 and 2015, for which the score stands at 1-1.
2020 National Strokeplay champion Liz Quinn (Colliinstown) will play Ryston’s Margaret Keogh (multiple Inter-County winner with Kildare and former Irish Girls’s Strokeplay champion) in an all-Leinster first round clash. Margaret finished fifth in that 2005 Irish Strokeplay championship at Doglas.
2019 National Matchplay champion Mary Murray (Rocklodge) will face Oldcastle’s Paula Lynch.
Having reached the last two finals, Breda White (Tipperary Hills), winner in 2014 opens her 2022 campaign with a tough assignment against 2020 Irish Open champion Sarah O’Neill (Collins), the former National Junior and Intermediate Strokeplay winner.
Damien Fleming’s latest title defence gets underway with an all-Kerry first round battle with 2020 national Junior Strokeplay kingpin Jake Shine (Listowel). The two faced-off in last year’s Kerry Matchplay first round, when the Deerpark man prevailed. Semi-finalist in 2002, Hillview’s Stephen O’Reilly has been handed a first round joust with Eamon Sheehy (Tralee)
2001 National Strokeplay champion John Cahill (Fermoy) is opposed by Killian O’Gorman (Listowel) while there is a real belter of a first round match between three-time National champion (and twice Matchplay winner) Mark Millar (Killineer) and former two-time National Juvenile Strokeplay runner-up and Cork Inter-County star Kieran Dunscombe (St. Anne’s).
Anthony Malone (Lucan) reached the quarter-finals on the last occasion the championship was played at Douglas. 37 years on, Malone will line-up against Martin Power (Ryston). John McGrath (Deerpark) completes a distinct Kerry feel to the top quarter as he tackles World Cup and European Team championship winner Eamon Gibney (Castletown).
Former Munster Matchplay champion Thomas Hanley (Bruff) will play massive home hope Rob O’Donoghue, who played so well in the recent Cork Strokeplay championship. An all-Leeside battle brings together the experience of 2008 National Strokeplay champion Frank Dineen (St. Anne’s) and the youth of David Murray (Collins).
1983 champion John O’Leary (Ballinlough) reached the final at Douglas back in 1985. O’Leary opens up against Robert Middleton (Gowran).
The draw presents Fermoy brothers, proven Matchplayers and Cork Inter-County players Paudie O’Sullivan and Gary O’Sullivan with the opportunity of playing each other in Round Two. Three-time champion John Walsh (Collins) and former runner-up Sean Goggin (MacBride) will have plenty to say about that.
Ian Dillon (St. Bridget’s) will be hoping to better last year’s achievement of reaching the last four and his runner-up performance two years ago. First Ian will have to deal with the challenge of Conor Fahey (Bruff). Douglas’ other hope Eoin Keating will take on Patrick Mitchell in a meeting that pitches a former National Under 20 champion against a past National Under 16 Strokeplay champion.
Jason O’Regan (Tralee) is a former three-time semi-finalist. Jason tackles Padraic Sarsfield (MacBride).
The most decorated Juvenile player of all-time, Castletown’s Evan Carry, will take a rich vein of form into his confrontation with Majestic’s Trevor O’Donovan. 2020 champion Kieran Earls’ (Bruff) match with Dublin Inter-County star Stephen Murray (Old County) will worth travelling many miles to see.
Bishopstown’s Barry Morrissey has graced this championship many times. Barry is opposed by proven Matchplayer Brian Cahill (Lakeside). The all-time record holder Ray Murphy (St. Anne’s) will begin his latest assault on the championship with a very tricky proposition – 2016 semi-finalist Martin O’Neill (St. Patrick’s).