Inter Pro Scotch Foursomes

A look at the match-ups

Inter Pro Scotch Foursomes image

Link to fundraising page: Inter Provincial Challenge


Following the reveal of the Scotch Foursomes pairings by team captains Anthony Malone and John Looney, we examine the shape of Saturday morning's six big confrontations.

Sean Goggin & Jim Judge v.  Ray Murphy & Damien Fleming

Although they represent Cork and Kerry respectively in Inter-County combat, Ray and Damien are firm friends and live just a mile from each other in mid-Cork.

The Munster pair holds an astonishing nine National Matchplay championship titles between them (not to mention another five Irish Strokeplay crowns). They met in the 2021 All-Ireland Matchplay decider (won by Damien) at neighbouring Ryston.

2022 National Strokeplay champion Sean Goggin has faced Ray Murphy twice at the business end of the National Matchplay championship, conceding defeat in two very close encounters (in the 2013 final at Lucan and in the 2021 semi-final, just down the road from McDonagh at Ryston).

Jim Judge’s Matchplay prowess was underlined in the 2023 National Matchplay at St. Bridget’s where he reached the last four.

A two-time winner and twice a Leinster Inter-County runner-up with Louth, Jim is the one player involved at the weekend who can boast podium finishes in both the Munster Matchplay (1995 runner-up) and Leinster Matchplay (2015 finalist) championships.

Ray enjoys a remarkable Foursomes record in international competition – W20, L1, H2 while Sean’s foursomes’ resumé is perfect – W2, L0, H0.

Leinster Matchplay/Strokeplay double winner last year, Sean was part of Louth’s second-placed team at the 2019 National Inter-County championship in McDonagh, his second silver medal in that event.

Three-time Irish Open champion and 2019 Munster Strokeplay champion Damien Fleming can point to some hot scoring at Foursomes at Inter-County level.

Stephen Murray & Gary Healy v. Stephen Shoer & John Cahill

Recent National Strokeplay podium finishers play National Strokeplay champions past and present in this one.

2017 Dublin Strokeplay winner Stephen Murray took third place in the 2021 National Strokeplay at Navan while Gary Healy secured the silver medal behind Sean Goggin at Ringcommons last year.

A holder of five Leinster Inter-County winners’ medals, Murray lifted his second National Inter-County title at Lucan in 2023.

Dublin Strokeplay champion in 2021, Healy is the reigning Dublin Matchplay kingpin having also won the latter title in 2006.

2018 European Team championship victor John Cahill has the following record in international foursomes play, W4, L1, H1.

Irish Strokeplay champion in 2001, Cahill was runner-up (accompanied by Munster colleagues Murphy and Walsh) on his Cork Inter-County debut at McDonagh in millennium year.

2019 European Strokeplay champion Cahill has gone on to claim twelve National Inter-County wins in the Rebel red.

Reigning National Strokeplay champ Stephen Shoer is one of six players in history to win both the National Intermediate Strokeplay championship and the National Senior Strokeplay championship.

2017 Munster Matchplay champion Shoer’s twelve stroke winning margin in the 2008 National Intermdiate Strokeplay is an all-time record for the championship.

A winner of two Munster Inter-County championships with Tipperary, Stephen Shoer was runner-up (to Mark Millar) in the 2017 National Strokeplay championship.

Stephen Murray was runner-up to Leinster colleague Ian Dillon in the 2023 Leinster Matchplay final having been second in the provincial Strokeplay back in 2008.

Sean Harkins & George McGreal v. Paudie O’Sullivan & James Cleary

Sean is undefeated in foursomes at international level – W6, L0, H1. Three National Matchplay wins and a couple of other semi-final appearances further illustrate the Ryston man’s mano a mano expertise.

Sean is one of two players in the Interprovincial challenge that helped Ireland to the European Team championship at McDonagh in 2003 having also featured on the successful 2001 sextet.

Harkins has starred in the Inter-County arena for both Dublin and Kildare, winning three national gold medals and one Leinster gong with Dublin. Leinster Strokeplay champion in 1992, Harkins has also been provincial Inter-County runner-up in Dublin and Kildare colours.

George helped Dublin to the 2019 National Inter-County championship at McDonagh having also been part (alongside non-playing captain Anthony Malone) of the Dubs’ 2007 Leinster winning sextet at the Curragh venue.

A four-time (two Matchplay and two Strokeplay) Dublin individual champion George McGreal holds seven Leinster Inter-County winners’ medals in all.

Paudie O’Sullivan and James Cleary renew their partnership from the 2008 Willie Parker Challenge against the Dutch at Papendal in which they beat Renze Hasper and Jos Mentink by 3&2. Overall, Cleary has performed well in foursomes at international level, W5, L0, H1 as has one hundred percenter O’Sullivan, W2, L0, H0.

2005 Cork Strokeplay winner Paudie O’Sullivan holds four Munster and four National Inter-County winners’ medals with Cork while James Cleary has three provincial Inter-County wins with Tipperary.

Munster Matchplay winner in 2004, James Cleary was on Ireland’s successful European Team championship side in 2018.

Darren Fagan & Dean Grannell v. Kieran Earls & Barry Morrissey

All four are or have been provincial champions.

Darren scored 140 at Seapoint earlier in the year to claim the Leinster Strokeplay championship title by two strokes from Leinster colleague Eamon Gibney. Dean beat team mate Sean Goggin in the 2017 Leinster Matchplay final at Navan.

1997 Leinster Intermediate Strokeplay titleholder with 97 at Royal Meath, Darren has twice (2022 and 2023) been runner-up in the Leinster Inter-County with Louth.

Dean has a win (in 2019) and a second (2016) with Wexford in that same Leinster Inter-County.

Second in the 2020 Irish Open at Lough Owel, Dean has also been a National Juvenile Inter-County winner in the purple and gold and a National Inter-Club gold medallist with St. Patrick’s.

Kieran (2020) and Barry (2022) are both National Matchplay champions of the current decade.

After winning winning the Munster Strokeplay in 2017 Kieran captured the provincial Matchplay last year while Barry claimed the Munster Strokeplay in 1987.

Both have Munster Inter-County winners’ medals – Kieran with Limerick (2008 and 2018) while Barry starred for Cork in 1985 at the then Waterford Crystal.

Victor in the 2016 International Pairs (partnered by Munster Vice captain Thomas Hanley) at Sant Cebria, Kieran added a notable win at the World Pitch and Putt tour event at Lleida last April.

Barry served notice of his potential with an impressive Cork County Junior Matchplay championship win back in 1981 and has copperfastened his reputation in the Matchplay stakes with an all-time record sixteen Cork County League victories with four different clubs.

A National Inter-Club winner with Fermoy in 2019, Barry was runner-up in the 1986 All-Ireland Strokeplay championship

Ian Dillon & Eamon Gibney v. John Walsh & Daithi Sexton

The only all-Cork pairing in the Munster side takes on the current Leinster Matchplay kingpin and the man who has been runner-up in the last three Leinster Strokeplay championships. Ironically, Walsh and Gibney have regularly played as partners in the Catalan Pairs tournament.

European Team championship and World Cup winner John Walsh’s International Foursomes record makes impressive reading. W17, L1, H3.

Also a European Team championship and World Cup winner, Eamon Gibney has a W5, L1, H1 record in international foursomes action.

John Walsh is the other player on view to win the 2003 European Team championship at McDonagh.

2014 Irish Open victor Gibney was a Leinster Inter-County winner with Meath in 2012.

Five-time National individual champion John Walsh has been in six National Matchplay finals, winning three. He has accumulated seven Munster Matchplay titles (in addition to seven provincial Strokeplay cups).

2020 National Matchplay runner-up (to Munster rival Kieran Earls) Ian Dillon has won the Leinster Mixed Foursomes on four occasions and helped Kildare to the 2000 Inter-County championship at McDonagh. His Foursomes record internationally (during his appearance in the 2014 International Challenge in Catalonia) is W0, L1, H0.

Ian delivered a second place finish (alongside Leinster vice-captain Darren Keogh) in the 2007 Leinster Inter-County championship at McDonagh.

2019 National Matchplay quarterfinalist Sexton is a proven Matchplayer as witnessed by his nap hand of National Inter-Club victories (alongside John Cahill) for Fermoy.

Daithi Sexton is the reigning Munster Strokeplay champion and finished third in the National Strokeplay championship at Riverdale.

He was second in the 1999 National Intermediate Strokeplay championship at Fermoy.

Mark Millar & Chris Gallagher v. Stephen O’Reilly & Jason Cregan

This tie sees the reigning National and Munster Matchplay champions taking on a Louth/Dublin combo.

Chris was an integral part of the Dublin side that claimed the 2019 national Inter-County championship at McDonagh.

2001 European Team championship winner Millar is undefeated in international foursomes combat, W1, L0, H1.

Three-time Irish champion Millar represented Dublin during a brief sojourn across the county bounds, collecting a silver medal nationally beside good friend Gallagher at Tullamore in 2014 followed by bronze again along with Gallagher at Douglas a year later.

Mark Millar claimed Leinster Matchplay honours in 2000 and 2019.

Four times the Dublin Strokeplay champion, Gallagher defeated his provincial non-playing captain Anthony Malone in the 2019 and 2022 finals, en route to his brace of County Matchplay titles.

Former National Matchplay quarter-finalist Gallagher helped Dublin to the 2019 Inter-County championship at McDonagh to lift the first of his two gold medals – the latest coming in September at Lucan. He also has five Leinster winners’ medals.

Jason Cregan was Munster and National Juvenile Inter-County runner-up with Kerry in 2011, top-scoring with St. John Kelliher in Foursomes nationally at Deerpark.

Stephen O’Reilly won the 2023 National Matchplay championship at St. Bridget’s, beating Munster colleague John Cahill in the final. In earlier rounds, he had eliminated Leinster rival George McGreal and fellow Munster team member John Walsh.

Jason Cregan defeated his Munster team mate Ray Murphy in this year’s Munster Matchplay decider at Tralee. His earlier conquests in that event at Tralee included another fellow Munster man James Cleary.

Tipperary County Matchplay champion at Tipp Hills this year, Stephen O’Reilly was a Munster Inter-County winner with Tipperary in 2019 and a National Inter-County runner-up with Tipperary at Lucan in September.