Follow the latest from the Provincial Matchplays taken place this weekend by clicking on the links below:
2020 National Matchplay champion Kieran Earls (Bruff) added the 2022 Munster crown with a dominant display in the final at Bishopstown. Earls led by two after 18 against 2018 winner Declan Freeman (Fermoy), had increased that advantage to six with nine to play and held on for a 6&5 verdict. Earlier in the day, Earls beat former Cork Strokeplay champion Rob O'Donoghue in a high quality semi-final while Freeman was a comprehensive 8&7 victor over Tipperary Inter-County star Michael Fennell (Lakeside).
The evergreen Breda White (Tipperary Hills) collected her eighth Munster Matchplay title with her 2022 victory at Bishopstown. Having benefited from the withdrawal of Fermoy's Sarah McGrath in the semi-finals, World Over 55 Strokeplay champion Breda led from the start in the final against Rocklodge's Mary Murray and eventually triumphed by 5&4. 2019 National Matchplay champ Mary Murray had earlier ended the hopes of Hillview's Shula McCarthy in their last four encounter.
Former National intermediate and junior Strokeplay champion Mairead Manning (St Stephen's) was crowned Munster Intermediate Matchplay champion with a 3&2 final victory at Bishopstown over 2018 All Ireland Matchplay Nett Cup winner Elaine Quinn (Lakeside). On Sunday morning, Mairead had survived (at the 37th) a titanic battle with 2020 All Matchplay Nett Cup finalist Lorraine Creed (Hillview) while Elaine Quinn had bested 2022 National Junior Strokeplay champion Mary Anne Byrne (Fermoy).
Larkspur Park's Grainne Shelley, who was third behind Mary Anne Byrne in that All Ireland Strokeplay, ran out a comfortable winner of the Munster Junior Matchplay. Bishopstown's Angela Royer carried the hopes of the host club into the decider but ran into an unstoppable force as Grainne raced into a five up halfway lead and powered home. Grainne defeated Cork Inter-County player Georgina Harte (St. Stephen’s) in the semi-final while Angela Royer overcame Grainne Shelley's clubmate, Munster Junior Strokeplay champion Gemma Martin.
St. Anne's hosted the early rounds of the Intermediate championship and Shanakiel club prospered as two of their members qualified for the final. Darren O'Leary built on his outstanding form in Scratch Cups this season and he now adds a championship crown as he outlasted clubmate Alan Keating. Alan led by one after nine but Darren gradually pulled away to ease home on the 34th green. O'Leary saw off Listowel's Ger Guerin in the last four while Keating eliminated Robert Ryan (Riverdale).
A Cork winner was guaranteed after Saturday's Gents Junior play as all four semi-finalists represented Cork clubs. In the end, the host club celebrated a famous triumph as Eddie Delaney repelled a brave second eighteen fightback by Munster Strokeplay Nett winner Dean Lonergan (St. Anne's) in the final to prevail by 2&1. Earlier, Eddie Delaney was a semi-final winner over St. Anne's player Colin Hennessy while Dean Lonergan ousted Mark Gosling (Douglas).
The two principal protagonists at the business end of the Ballymore Group sponsored Leinster Matchplay at St. Bridget’s (just as they were in July's National Strokeplay at Ring Commons) were Sean Goggin (MacBride) and Gary Healy (Loughlinstown). For a time, it looked like Gary would reverse the National Strokeplay outcome as the Dublin man was four up after the opening round and still led by one with nine to play. However, an outstanding birdie onslaught by Sean saw the National Strokeplay champion home by 4&2. Sean had earlier claimed supremacy in the battle of the Co. Louth titans with holder Mark Millar (Killineer) while Gary profited from the unfortunate retirement (due to injury) of clubmate and four-time champion John Ross Crangle.
Chrissie Byrne Sheedy (Ryston) reached the impressive milestone of ten Leinster Matchplay titles with a hard fought 2&1 final victory over current National Matchplay Queen Liz Quinn. The Collinstown lady, one of the most decorated players in international ladies Pitch and Putt, looked set to deny Chrissie her tenth title with she was two up with a round to go but Chrissie's steadier play during the second round saw the Kildare player over the line. Chrissie won the sisterly semi-final battle with Marian Courtney while Liz Quinn beat Dublin Inter-County stalwart Maree O’Toole (Shandon).
Daniel Condon (Ryston), the 2021 National Strokeplay runner-up, is the new Leinster Intermediate Matchplay champion after beating Collinstown Masters winner Paddy Kelly (Trim), in the final at St. Bridget’s. Daniel raced into an early four up cushion and was never headed thereafter. In the morning semi-finals, Condon had overcome Nicholas Brennan of Gowran while Paddy Kelly took out Glenville's Jamie Palmer.
One down after eighteen in his final against 2022 Ryston Scratch Cup victor, James Fagan (Loughlinstown), David Holland (Gowran) rallied to win by 5&4 and secure Kilkenny's (and Gowran's) second ever victory in the Leinster Junior Matchplay championship. David Holland beat Bagenalstown’s Alan Walsh in the semi-finals while James Fagan overcame Colm Lambe (Poulaphouca).
Two successful players from Rocklodge last weekend contested the Ladies Intermediate decider, Mary Donnelly (Ryston) helped Kildare to victory in Cork and ensured a quick double with a 34th hole verdict over Yvonne Quinn (Trim). Fresh from her Nett success with Meath at last weekend’s Inter-County, Yonne bravely tried to claw back a seven hole halfway deificit, only to fall by 3&2. Mary Donnelly beat Catherine Smith (McDonagh) who was competing in her second semi-final while 2019 Junior champion Barbara Murphy (Seapoint) lost to Yvonne Quinn.
2018 champion Audrey Donnelly (McBride) was contesting the Ladies Junior semi-finals for the fourth time and, after disposing of gthe challenge of Licia Doyle (Glenville), went on to regain the trophy with a 1 hole final verdict over reigning National Over 55s Strokeplay champion Ann Williams (Ryston) who had led by one with nine to play. Kilbeggan Scratch victor Angela Connolly (Eden) gave Ann Williams a really good match in the semi-final, eventually succumbing at the first extra hole.
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