National Matchplay Build-Up Day Two

A look at the Ladies event in Tipperary Hills

National Matchplay Build-Up Day Two image

AS we get set for the 2017 staging of the Ladies Matchplay, Communications & Press Officer Jason O’Connor takes a closer look at the field ahead of this Saturday in Tipperary Hills.


WITH her 10th National Matchplay title in the bag from last year in Seapoint, Ger Ward looks to add a further milestone to her already glittering career when she travels to Tipperary Hills at the weekend to defend her title. Collins’ Nicola Ahern will be her first obstacle but many will expect the Portmarnock player to go deep again in the 2017 staging. Making it to Monday will be a minimum expectation a lot of people will have about the defending champion but the first quarter of the draw that she will placed in features her club-mate Sheelagh Elmes who will play Poulaphouca’s Mairead O’Toole in the First Round. A novel all-Hillview tie between club-mates Kathleen Shanley and Pauline Lucey is also a feature of this section as is the meeting of Trim’s Margaret Connelly and Lakeside’s Lily O’Brien.


            The next quarter features Lily’s daughter Martha as she begins her campaign against Royal Meath’s Margaret Delahunty as an interesting encounter between one of last year’s beaten semi-finalists Ger Holland of RGSC and 2016 National Intermediate Strokeplay Champion Mary Murray of Rocklodge follows. Both had good years last year and will no doubt want to continue 2017 in a similar vein. The meeting of Glenda Hoey (RGSC) and Mary Donnelly of Ryston will be an interesting match-up but a lot of attention will be on local favourite Breda White when she takes to the tee-box. The current National Strokeplay Champion will be keenly followed on her home course as she bids for a third Matchplay title but she first has to concentrate on facing Fermoy’s Sarah Byrne in the First Round.


            Section Three starts off with 2015 winner Chrissie Byrne beginning her campaign against Fermoy’s Ailish Sexton as it could well turn out to be a sisterly affair in this quarter of the draw with the winner to either Chrissie’s sister Marian Courtney or Shandon’s Maree O’Toole in the Second Round. Margaret Keogh might also get into the mix but she will have to focus on Lucan’s Barbara Furlong first with the winner of the Helen Greagsbey (Fairview CY) and Veronica Anglim (Hillview) match to meet the winner of the former in the Second Round. The final quarter will see 2008 winner and runner-up in 2014 and 2015 Tara Dillon begin her weekend against Siobhan Keely of RGSC, captain of the Dublin Ladies National Inter-County winning team from last year.


Either Patsy O’Donovan of Collins or Lorraine Creed of Hillview will await the winner of that encounter as last year’s runner-up Eleanor Walsh will begin her campaign against Margaret O’Donovan of Bruff as the Second Round will pit the winner of the aforementioned match against either former National Strokeplay winner Rose Kelly of Ryston or Pauline Balfe of Old County come Sunday.


So there you have the 32 Ladies who will compete in Tipperary Hills this weekend. Will local knowledge be the deciding factor or will the established order hold true? Can someone break through the glass ceiling and spring a surprise or two over the weekend? Only the three days of play will give us the definitive answer.


For more on this year’s Ladies Matchplay Championship why not check out an interview with the defending champion on the draw of the draw itself at Sports HQ:


Ger Ward Interview 2017 National Matchplay


We also have a video with PPUI President Mervyn Cooney and National Competition Co-Ordinator Myles McMorrow talking about not just the National Matchplay but also the 2017 season ahead:


Interview with President and National Competition Co-Ordinator on 2017


Tomorrow: We will preview the Gents competition and also hear from our defending champion Shane Murphy about the defence of his title.