Leinster Matchplay review

Leinster Matchplay review

Leinster Matchplay review image

2024 Leinster Matchplay Championship Review

By Declan Sheedy


Senior Ladies

Chrissie Sheedy (Ryston) extended her record breaking number of Leinster Senior Matchplay titles to 11 at the weekend in Erry with a 5&4 victory in the final over Margaret Hogan (Tullamore).  Chrissie started her 2024 campaign in Kilbeggan with a 3&2 win over her sister Margaret Keogh (Ryston) followed by a comprehensive 10&9 victory over Louise Grace (RGSC) in the quarter finals on Saturday.  In the semi finals in Erry on Sunday morning Chrissie took on another Tullamore player in the form of Amy Galvin in what was an anticipated match up.  It would be Chrissie who took control of the match early on, turning 3up after 18 to eventually close out the game with a 5&4 win.  Margaret Hogan’s path to the final saw her defeat defending champion Marian Courtney (Ryston) in her opener by 4&3 and like Chrissie had a comfortable win the quarter final winning 9&8 against Bridie Cummins (Trim).  Maree O’Toole (Shandon) was to be Margaret’s semi-final opponent on Sunday morning.  A strong first round saw Margaret race to a 6up lead after 18 which proved too much to overcome for Maree as Margaret closed the game out with a 5&4 win.  In the final it would be Chrissie who took command very early on in the match, a lead she would never relinquish.  Turning 4up after 18, Chrissie would hold command of the final in the second round and as she did in the semi final, took victory in the final on a score line of 5&4 to lift the title for an eleventh time in her career.

Intermediate Ladies

Denise Pyke (Tullamore) was crowned Leinster Intermediate championship in front of many of her club and county supporters.  One of the favourites heading into the weekend Denise did not disappoint with big wins in her opening two games against clubmate Deidre Byrne, 9&8 in her opening match and followed this with an 8&7 win over Ger Branning (Royal Meath)  in Kilbeggan.  With Erry only being short distance from her own Tullamore club, Denise made the short journey on Sunday morning to face Frances Farrell (Kilineer) in the first of the semi-finals.  After 18 it looked like Denise was on course for another comfortable win turning 4up but Frances would fight back strongly over the second 18 holes closing the deficit as the round went on.  In the end Frances would run out of holes and Denise would hold strong to close out the game 2&1.  In the final Denise faced the 2023 Leinster Junior Matchplay champion, Audrey Donnelly (McBride).  Audrey would receive a walkover in her quarter final match on Saturday so started her campaign straight in the semi final where she faced Marian Gannon Kelly (McDonagh).  Turning 1up, Audrey would use her matchplay experience to win her semi on a score of 4&3 to set up a final match again Denise.  In the final it would be the Offaly woman who would prove too strong on this occasion.  3up after 18, Denise would trade holes with Audrey over the course of the second 18 but in the end Denise would go on to win the final with a 4&3 victory to the joy of the Offaly supporters.

Junior Ladies

Unfortunately, only two of the scheduled seven matches due to take place on Saturday in Kilbeggan went ahead with five walkovers given across the opening and quarter final games.  It was however the lady who ended up playing four matches (two in Kilbeggan and two in Erry) who would life the Junior title and that was Maria Cranny (Cloghogue).  Maria had an opening game 6&5 win over Kitty Brogan (Ryston) before an epic battle in the quarter final against Angela Connelly (Eden) where it took two play-off holes to separate the ladies with Maria eventually taking the win on the 38th hole.  Maria faced another Ryston ladies Violet Quille in the semi final where she recorded a comprehensive 13&12 win.  Having already knocked out two Ryston ladies enroute to the final she would come face to face with another Ryston challenger in the final in the form of Ann Williams.  Ann first match was in the semi-finals against another lady from the Shortgrass County, Anne Sweeney (St. Bridget’s) which Ann won 5&4.  The final was a close affair over the course of the first round with only 1 hole separating the two finalists after 18 with Maria hold the slender advantage.  However, Maria would tighten her grip on the title over the final 18 winning so key holes to eventually run out a 5&4 winner.  Maria playing in her first provincial matchplay championship made the long trip home to her Newry club as the newly crowned Leinster Junior champion club no doubt looking forward to more championship action in the future.

Senior Gents

The Gents Senior championship final saw two of Leinster’s great players and supporters of the game come face to face.  Eamon Gibney (Castletown) seeking his first Leinster Senior Matchplay title faced the 2022 champion in the form of Sean Goggin (McBride).  In a championship filled with quality players, both players had some great matches enroute to the final.  Eamon kick started his challenge in the round of 32 with a 7&6 win over Gerry Coyne (Rochfortbridge) followed by a brilliant victory over one of the pre-tournament favourites and home player William Buckley Jr (Erry) in the last 16 on a score of 2&1.  In the quarter final played on Sunday morning, Eamon took on Patrick Murphy (Tullamore) with Eamon running out a 5&4 victor to set up a semi final clash against defending champion Ian Dillon (St. Bridget) in what proved to be another very good match.  It was Eamon who took the early advantage in this one, turning 2up, a lead never gave up, extending it to a 5&4 win to make the final.  For Sean being drawn in the top half meant he would need to win six matches if he were to regain the title from 2022.  In the round of 64, Sean defeated clubmate Jim Judge Jr by 6&5, followed by victories over David Campbell (Trim) 7&6 and Jimmy Taylor (Erry) 7&6 in the subsequent to make it into the quarter finals impressively.  Sean would defeat Karl Murphy (Old County) in a closer affair by 3&2 to set up a semi-final match against Tullamore’s Denis Hill.  Racing to a 5up lead after 18, Sean would remain in control of this match and close it out with a 6&5 win.  In the final and after a long weekend of play it was Eamon who struck the lead early in the match and would build up a strong 4up lead through 18 holes.  Eamon continued to dominate the match over the remainder of the second round and never let Sean back into it.  It would be a comprehensive 8&7 victory in the end of Eamon and give him the title of 2024 Leinster Senior Matchplay champion, first of many more one would have to believe.  An added bonus for Eamon’s victory was receiving a place in the National Matchplay Final having missed out on a spot during the Meath qualifiers and will now enter Larkspur as a player to watch for.

Intermediate Gents

It was victory for Mark Hogan (Tullamore) in the Intermediate championship following a very competitive and tight final against Billy Buckley (Collinstown) which Mark won by 2&1.  Like the Senior grade with 48 entered, someone may need to win six matches to take the title and that is just what Mark did.  Enroute to the final Mark would defeat John Clarke Jr (Ryston) 6&5, Colin Yeates (Rochfortbridge) 3&2 and Rory Ellard (Loughlinstown) 4&3 on Saturday.  This set Mark up for a tough match in the quarters against a fancied Dean Dinnegan (Lough Owel) but a commanding 9&7 win in that game saw Mark progress to face his clubmate Paddy Ward (Tullamore) in the semi.  There was little to separate the two players in this match as they game hung in the balance as it entered the final 9 holes.  In the end Mark would take the victory on a scoreline of 2&1 and be the first man into the final.  On the other side of the draw, the young and very talented Billy Buckley received a walkover in his opening round of 32 match and followed this with a final hole victory against Neil Corcoran (Lough Owel) by 1 up.  Billy would defeat Jude Garvey (Killineer) in the quarters by 6&5 before defeating another Killineer man, Gel Martin, in the semi in a brilliant match which needed two extra holes to separate them with Billy taking victory on the 38th hole.  The final was another brilliant and very close match between Mark and Billy.  There was nothing to separate the two men after 18 holes and this remained the case through much of the second round.  Mark however would get ahead in the latter stage winning some pivotal holes and using his extra playing experience would hold onto to the lead until the lead, clinching victory by 2&1 in a great final.  Further joy for the Tullamore club in the Intermediate grade with Denise Pyke having earlier won in the ladies’ championship.  An excellent and popular winner with Mark making the short journey back to Tullamore with the cup.  Despite defeat in the quarter final there was joy for Jude Garvey who received a place in the National Intermediate Matchplay finals over the June bank holiday weekend.

Junior Gents

The Junior championship saw an all Erry final, indeed three of the last four were men from the host club, as Luke Mannering faced George Robbins in the decider.  With all matches played in Erry over the weekend, Luke had an opening round win against Ollie Fitzpatrick (Oldcastle) 4&3 followed by a win against Stephen Needman (Lucan) by 2&1.  In the quarters Luke saw off clubmate Declan Kelly 6&5 with another impressive 9&8 victory over Adrian Brereton (Eden) in the semi-final.  For George, it was wins against Robert Greene (Prosperous) 12&10, an extra hole decider win against Liam O’Brien (St. Patricks) and another large victory by 12&11 against Jack McNally (Bagnelstown) to get the semi-final.  In the semi final George faced another clubmate Joe McGrath Snr in what proved to be one of the matches of the championship.  A brilliant performance over the weekend and in the match by Joe McGrath Snr saw the semi final go down the 38th hole where George would clinch the win in a thriller to progress to the final to face yet another Erry player in Luke.  The final would prove to be a one sided affair with Luke making the quickest start and turning 4up after 18.  Luke would not let the occasion get to him and he continued to keep the pressure on in the second round eventually taking the title with a commanding 7&6 in the decider.  A great day for Luke in being crowned Leinster Junior championship and indeed for the Erry club with a winner, runner up and semi finalist in the championship. 


Congratulations to all the 2024 champions, to everyone who played and especially to the Erry and Kilbeggan clubs for presenting exceptional championship courses over the weekend