Intermediate Mens

In relative contrast to the Juniors, the one thing about the Intermediate Mens field is that it does contain players who have played in the main National Matchplay in the past so they have some idea about what to expect over the course of the weekend.

There are four Larkspur Park players hoping to make it to their home course on Monday still involved. By the mechanics of the draw only two of them can be involved that day if they all keep winning through but the motivation is definitely there to succeed throughout the weekend. Sean O’Neill will be first to tee-off from the club in the fourth match of the day against Raffeen Creek’s Korey Murphy, a beaten semi-finalist from the recent Munster event in Cunnigar who earned the spot available to that event due to his performance that weekend.

The next match also has Larkspur Park interest as Michael McGrath will take on McDonagh’s Peter Kearney (a prizewinner at the Leinster Scotch Foursomes) with a third Cashel club player in the top quarter of the draw as Michael Kirby will take on Lucan’s Aaron Brazil. Celly Ryan is in the bottom half of the draw meanwhile as he takes on Collins’ Ryan Walsh, who will be hoping to go some way towards replicating his father’s John many successes in the game.

Saturday and Sunday’s hosts meanwhile, Tipp Hills, have three players amongst the field with Michael Brennan first off here in a battle of two prominent club men with St Patricks Ruairi Fortune his First Round opponent. Michael won the Gross prize in the Munster Mixed Scotch Foursomes with Breda White so will have some confidence heading in. Ray Lyons is next for the club as he faces Collins’ Frank O’Brien who missed out on countback for the third place medal at the National Strokeplay in Riverdale last year. Morty Ahern was another player to win a Provincial Scotch Foursomes prize last weekend as he faces Gowran’s David Holland in Round 1. Another prizewinner Michael Farrell of Bruff’s faces Erry’s Jimmy Scanlon in Round 1.

Mark Cummins is the other plater from the club meanwhile as he faces a former National Strokeplay runner-up in this grade in Michael Herlihy of ESB in the First Round. Although already qualified for the event in advance, Munster Matchplay runner-up John Looney of Collins competes this weekend as he faces Dermot McGregor of Royal Meath in Round 1. Leinster champion Mark Hogan of Tullamore is also in the bottom half of the draw as he will face Paul Shoer Snr from Riverdale in the Round of 64. Leinster runner-up meanwhile Billy Buckley of Collinstown has shown some good form of late with his performances in the Leinster and National Secondary School event with Castlepollard Community College and he will face St Patricks John Tyrell in the First Round.

Meath County Champion Gareth McLoughlin is also amongst the field this weekend as he faces Ryan Sexton of Fermoy as the same quarter also features Mellows’ Donal Tarpey, a regular player in the National Matchplay of recent years as his First Round opponent is Dermot Heffernan of Lucan in Dublin. Daniel Clinton of Killineer is another County/Regional champion in the field having won in LDM back in April with Laytown’s Mark Fay his First Round opponent in the second match of the day. Sean Minogue of Riverdale competed at senior level once upon a time himself as he faces Michael Byrne of Lucan in the First Round.

The final match of the First Round sees one interesting name back at Intermediate level as 2019 National Strokeplay champion in the grade Brian O’Flynn of Ardnacrusha takes on Royal Meath’s Stephen Knight with the possibility there across the board for some excitement in all 32 Round 1 affairs. It promises to be intriguing to see how it pans out, not so much who wins on Day 1 but who can cope with the schedule on Day 2 when the players will have to go through three gruelling matches if they want to make it to Monday for a chance at glory.

Tipp Hills provides some great spectator viewing opportunities on the opening two days as the walk between the 18th green and the 1st tee-box when the first round ends and the second round begins will be something the players will have to contend with in gathering all their thoughts ahead of teeing off again.

For the final four in both competitions there is of course the switch of venue to contend with and that famed moat around the 18th green in Larkspur that has provided many dramatic moments throughout the many famed events it has hosted. The speed of the greens around the course always has the potential to become a factor as well we must point out especially after players getting to grips with those at a different venue over the previous two days.

All players will hope it does not become a factor when it comes down to the crunch but in being the first players event to take part in these expanded events, the Junior and Intermediate Men are entitled to feel like they will be a part of something special this Bank Holiday Weekend.