National Scotch Foursomes Build-Up: Day 2

Previous Finals held in the Premier County

In his second piece in the build-up to the National Scotch Foursomes this weekend, John Manning looks at previous finals held in Tipperary.


National Mixed Foursomes 2004

Limerick Inter-County Mary Dore player Mary Dore lifted her second National Mixed Foursomes title when she and Colum O'Driscoll fired 12 up for the 36 holes versus par at Larkspur Park to triumph by a single stroke over the Fermoy couple Eleanor Walsh and Joe Flood.  Mary Dore was playing out of Bruff when she partnered Ger Wallace to victory at Castlelyons six years previously and now combined with Parteen club-mate Colum O'Driscoll to compile rounds of +8 and +4 in dry, windy conditions at a wonderfully prepared Cashel course. Colum and Mary became the third Shannonside county couple to take the National Mixed Foursomes.

Mary (4) and Colum (3) started relatively slowly, bogeying the second hole to waste their first 'shot' hole.  A birdie at the downhill third kick started the round and two more twos at the 7th and at the difficult 8th had them out in 2 up.  Par wins at 10 and 18 sandwiched three threes and four spectacular birdies in a row from 14 to bring the Parteen players back in 6up.  That wrested the halfway lead from 1999 champions Brid Ryan and Noel Joyce (who dyked four of the last six) from neighbouring Hillview in Clonmel.  2002 winners Joe Flood and Eleanor Walsh (Fermoy) made four twos in the last seven holes to join Brid Ryan and Noel Joyce on the 7up mark with a round to go.   

Cashel native Noel Joyce and Brid Ryan were first into second round action.  For a long time, it looked as if they would repeat their Cloghogue success of five years before.  Brid Ryan pitched close at the nineteenth for birdie and the Tipperary team moved nine up overall with a two putt par at the long uphill second.  Joyce, who captained Tipperary to the 1993 Inter-County championship, holed a four footer downhill for birdie at the 23rd and then pitched to two feet at the next to set up another. When Brid Ryan holed a two-footer for a deuce at the short 30th, the Hillview aggregate for the day was 12 up.  They missed a couple of short putts at the 33rd and 34th but still looked like posting an intimidating clubhouse target with a second 'shot' to come on the 36th.  However, a fluffed chip from beyond the seventeenth green and a teeshot into the water surrounding the last led to a couple of costly losses.  

A fine Mary Dore pitch set up a Parteen birdie at the nineteenth but three fours in six holes mixed with two birdies meant they had improved by just one after 27.  Neither did they take advantage of their handicap stroke at the tenth, which was playing difficult in the wind. Birdies at thirteen and sixteen moved them to +11. They secured a chip and putt par at 17.  Colum O'Driscoll's teeshot to the treacherous 18th found the heart of the island green. Two putts later, a 12up aggregate had been posted.  

Try as they might, Eleanor Walsh and Joe Flood couldn't quite match this pace.  Birdies at the 19th and 22nd aligned to a four at the 23rd positioned them at +9 after 27.  A couple of twos at 29 and 30 compensated for another four at the 28th.  No further birdies were forthcoming coming in and the event specialists came up just one short.  As well as their Douglas win in 2002, Eleanor and Joe had also twice won the Best Gross.  The 2004 Gross was the reward for Noel Joyce and Brid Ryan.

2004 National Junior Ladies Strokeplay Championship runner-up Bridge Logan and her husband Paddy Logan carded eighteens of +5 and +3 to win the Best Age O55 category.  Holders Ian Farrelly and Catherine McCreevy got off to a sluggish start. Ten straight pars were followed by bogeys at 11 and 16.  Just a single birdie at 13 salvaged a one up opening round. A blemish free second round of 50 (+6) gross was a whole lot better.  Mary O'Reilly and Bill Harte could have made it even more interesting for their Parteen club-mates.  Just one up at halfway, Bill and Mary were six under without a bogey for the second round playing the last.  Par would have given them a +11 second round and a total of 12 up.  The tee-shot splashed in the water and their chance had gone.

Home club pair Brian Webster and Margaret O'Neill, who got married the following Thursday, finished fifth on +9.  Brian could be very proud of his superb greens.

1. Mary Dore & Colum O'Driscoll (Parteen) +12
 Eleanor Walsh & Joe Flood (Fermoy) +11
Best Gross
: Brid Ryan & Noel Joyce (Hillview) +9

Other leading scores: +10 Mary O'Reilly & Bill Harte (Parteen)
+ 9 Margaret O'Neill & Brian Webster (Larkspur Park)
+8 Kathleen Carton & John Carton (Kilbeggan), Chrissie Byrne & Paul Byrne (St. Bridget's), Bridge Logan & Paddy Logan (St. Bridget's), Best Over 55 winners.
+7 Catherine McCreevy (Navan) & Ian Farrelly (Duleek), Linda Murphy (Collins) & Ray Murphy (Templebreedy), Niamh O'Donovan & Jerry O'Donovan (Collins)
+6 Phil Downey & Pat Desmond (Collins), Mary Daly & Alan Daly (St. Stephen's), Kathleen Heary& Shay Edwards (Navan)


National Mixed Foursomes 1995

A cool, blustery day in the shadow of the Devil’s Bit Mountain greeted the 38 pairs that contested the 1995 National Mixed Foursomes.

Tournament Director Liam Houlihan sent the first group on their way as the clock struck ten.

The Ierne partnership of Dan and Dolores Horan made productive use of their fourteen stroke allowance to end the opening round on +6.

 The Munster Mixed Foursomes runners-up, JJ O’Sullivan and Majella Hayes from the Castlelyons club in north-east Cork, quickly joined the Horans on 6up, having recorded 5up to the turn.

1994 Leinster Juvenile Strokeplay champion and the 1995 Intermediate Matchplay runner-up, Alan Weston and his Seapoint club-mate, Wendy Leech played alongside the Castlelyons pair and matched their +6 return. 6 up proved to be a popular score.

One of the four Navan combinations on view, Gerry Allen (4) and Bernie McCann (17) safely parred the last for their 6up score.

Fellow Co. Meath players, Dara (11) and Veronica O’Neill (16) of Ratoath didn’t lose a hole until the 14th. They struck back immediately by birdieing the 15th and while another hole got away on 17, a safe par down the last got them into the six-way first round lead on +6.

Completing the sextet of couples were Tony Killoran and Pauline Moran (Glenville), who boasted the lowest combined handicap among the half dozen. Tony and Pauline were just two over par Gross in compiling 6up, having birdied the 3rd, 5th and 18th.

With another two pairs on 5up and half a dozen more on +4, the field could hardly have been more tightly bunched as they braved the wind for the second time after a brief mid-round break.

First to make a significant move were the Templebreedy combination of Richard O’Flaherty and Lynda Venner, who had posted a +5 opener.

Four straight pars to start had them 2up for the round. They birdied the 5th (with a ‘shot’ having made bogey in the first round). Par at the 6th secured another win and it was 5up for the outward after another par at the 61 metre 9th. They had failed to make par, like so many more, at the Index 1 70 metre 8th, which was playing so difficult in the high wind.

After plusses at 12 and 13, the first loss was recorded on 14. However, a grandstand finish of three wins on the bounce, including a birdie on 17 after a vintage pitch from Richard, gave them 14up, which appeared to have secured another national title for Templebreedy.

Conventional wisdom suggested that Richard and Lynda’s 14 up effort (equal to the average winning score for the previous decade) would not be overtaken on such a trying day weather-wise.

But conventional wisdom is sometimes wrong! Bearded Dara O’Neill and his wife Veronica last qualified for the National Mixed Foursomes final three years previously in Tullamore. They hadn’t been playing the sport all that long at that point and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. They shot +7 to finish down the field.

In 1995, they played in the inspiring company of Ray Murphy and his then regular Foursomes partner Susanne Venner, at that stage the reigning National Intermediate Strokeplay champion.

The Ratoath pair got off to an inauspicious start with a four at the first to lose the hole. Four pars in a row with shots steadied the ship and, after a bogey at the 7th for another loss, they made a great par up the long 8th for an encouraging win.

That plus laid the platform for the most telling phase of play of the day. A birdie on 10 kick-started a two under par six wins in a row blitz (the other birdie coming at the 14th). A bogey at 16 was a half and now they just had to negotiate the last two to take the lead.

They made no mistake. The 17th was safely halved in par and another cast-iron three at the 36th gave them a marvellous +10 second 18 and 16up for the tournament. This ultimately gave Dara and Veronica O’Neill (Ratoath) a two stroke win and they became, at that stage, the first Co. Meath pair to win the National Mixed Foursomes.

The primary target of Ray Murphy and Susanne Venner was Best Gross. The Templebreedy twosome tallied +1 on both eighteens for a 2 up Gross return. This represented good scoring in the conditions but, in the end, was eclipsed by their fellow Corkonians, Eleanor Walsh, the 1988 National Strokeplay champion, playing with her Fermoy clubmate Joe Flood. -1 after nine holes, Eleanor and Joe got down towork with a +4 inward nine. Having again struggled going to the turn second time, Eleanor and Joe produced a bogey-free last nine of 24, to sign for 4 up Gross overall and a two stroke win.

The last threat to Ratoath supremacy was another one of the opening 18 six up performers. Tony Killoran and Pauline Moran played in the group immediately behind Dara and Veronica O’Neill. The Glenville grouping produced an excellent level par Gross +8 but rued a bogey on 16 for a loss, which denied them second place.

1. Veronica O’Neill and Dara O’Neill (Ratoath) +16
2.Lynda Venner and Richard O’Flaherty (Templebreedy) +14 (on back 18)
Best Gross: Eleanor WalshandJoe Flood (Fermoy) +4

Other leading scores: Pauline Moran and Tony Killoran (Glenville) +14, Wendy Leech and Alan Weston (Seapoint) +14; Tommy Heaney and Kathleen Collier (Lakeside) +13; Kathleen Hewitt and Michael Connolly (Athgarvan) +12, Dan Horan and Dolores Horan (Ierne) +12, Bernie McCann and Gerry Allen (Navan) +12.


National Mixed Foursomes 2018

In contrast to 1995, 70 pairs were in action at Lakeside on Saturday September 15th with shotgun starts at 9am and 12pm.

For the second time in four years, the Sean Coyne Memorial trophy went to the St. Stephen’s club after Mairead Manning (10) and Dave Towler(9) matched the 15up total posted by Mary and Alan Daly when they were the victors in Collins back in 2015. Rounds of 8up and 7up at Lakeside gave Mairead and Dave their winning total as their lead from the first session lasted through until the competition’s end.

The win earned a third National title for Mairead in the space of three years and a second in a single year as a National Junior Ladies Strokeplay win in 2016 on home turf was now followed by an Intermediate title in Collins in July 2018 along with this latest success. Dave also followed in the footsteps of his sons Ryan (National U16 Strokeplay) and Glenn (National U16 Matchplay) in winning a national honour. Of course, Ryan and Glenn captured those titles in St. Annes colours.

Mairead and Dave’s score was one ahead of Riverdale duo Margaret (13) and Dean Courtney (6) who finished as runners-up for the second time in three years after posting a score of 14up including a strong second round of 9up. Margaret (an Inter-County winner with Tipperary in 2013) and Dean were also category prize winners at the Munster Mixed Foursomes of 2014 and 2016.

The other prize-winner from the morning session was the session award itself as Veronica Anglim 21) and David Cahill (4) from Hillview had rounds of 8up and 4up in posting +12 overall to finish one ahead of the host club combination comprising Sive Shelley (14) and Conor Keating (12).

The afternoon session meanwhile saw the Best Gross prizewinners emerge as 2016 Overall winner (with Derek O’Toole) Chrissie Byrne once again teamed-up with Ryston club-mate Darren Keogh to win the 2018 Gross category with a score of 9up. Chrissie and Darren got off to a slow start and were one down after eighteen. However, a brilliant second eighteen of 10 under par 44 Gross saw them top the gross leaderboard (for the second of their trio of victories so far in the event) with +9.

That was just one ahead of Linda Murphy (Collins) and Ray Murphy (St. Anne’s) on 8up as the 2001 overall runners-up posted matching 4up eighteens.

The second session prize would go to Marie (17) and Richard Brennan (11) of Bellewstown who signed for two rounds of 5up in posting a +10 total as the Murphy’s (previous three times Best Gross victors)narrowly missed out on another prize with a +9 Nett score.


1. Mairead Manning and Dave Towler (St. Stephen's) +15

2. Margaret Courtney and Dean Courtney (Riverdale) +14

Best Gross: Chrissie Byrne and Darren Keogh (Ryston) +9

1st Session: Veronica Anglim and David Cahill (Hillview) +12

2nd Session: Marie and Richard Brennan (Bellewstown) +10


Other leading scores: Sive Shelley and Conor Keating (Lakeside) + 11; Kathleen O’Lone and Michael Kenny (Ferbane) +10, Martha O’Brien and Paddy Murray (Lakeside) +10; Kathleen Carton and John Carton (Kilbeggan) +9, Bridget Shelly and Patrick Quinn (Lakeside) +9.


National Mixed Foursomes 2016

Two holes-in-one were a big feature of a two-shot win for St. Bridget’s duo Chrissie Byrne and Derek O’Toole in their victory in the National Mixed Foursomes at Riverdale, Nenagh on September 17th as they combined for a 36-hole total of 17up. Out in the second session of play, Chrissie and Derek shot rounds of 8up and 9up to win from local combo Margaret and Dean Courtney who had led after the first session with 15up.

Although Chrissie and Derek had the best Gross score of 11up, the actual gross prize went to 2014 overall winners Catherine McCreevy of Navan and William Sheridan of Bellewstown who scored 10up. The First Session prize went to Munster Mixed Foursomes winners Elaine Quinn and Mick Fennell from Lakeside with a score of 11up as Munster Mixed Foursomes runners-up Lisa O’Connor and Tony Blake of Tralee claimed the second session prize with 10up.

Chrissie had already won the Gross prize with Ryston’s Darren Keogh in the 2016 Leinster event in Lucan to complete a provincial and national prize double in this format in 2016.

1. Chrissie Byrne & Derek O’Toole (St Bridgets) 17up
2. Margaret Courtney & Dean Courtney 15up
Gross: Catherine McCreevy (Navan) & William Sheridan (Bellewstown) 10up

First Session: Michael Fennell & Elaine Quinn (Lakeside) 11up

Second Session: Lisa O’Connor & Tony Blake (Tralee) 10up

Other leading scores: Catherine Gleeson & Seamus Gleeson (Riverdale) +8 Frances Ryan & Martin McCormack (Lakeside) +8


National Mixed Foursomes 1977

This delightful and popular competition at Hillview on October 9th was marred somewhat by unpleasant weather conditions, for it never ceased raining throughout on a very windy day. While most competitors appeared to fall short of their best form that was not so with the young Douglas couple Mary Quinn (11) and Finbarr O’Donnell (5) who returned an excellent winning total of 14 up. A brilliant 7up for the first eighteen holes, followed by yet another fine 7up in the second round gave the winners a superb 14up and the prestigious tournament title. In second place were Jack Dwyer and Nellie Forde of Fermoy who carded an excellent 11up, a first-class 9up on the back eighteen holes making them worthy runners up. Teresa Dilworth and Paul Sullivan of Rocklodge won the best gross prize with a steady 2 up.

Mary and Finbarr had qualified in Cork in Collins with a score of 5up (by no means the leading regional score) and by winning nationally kept the John Player title in Munster for the seventh successive year (six of those were Cork wins).

The new champions of the John Player sponsored event enjoyed the company of Campions pair Val Brooks and Marie Dignam (Campions) midway through the field, which didn’t start play until 2pm.

Jack Dwyer and Nellie Forde played in the last group of the day as they chased the clubhouse target set by the Douglas couple.

1. Finbarr O'Donnell & Marie Quinn (Douglas) +14         
2. Nellie Forde & Jack Dwyer (Fermoy)   +11        
Best Gross: Teresa Dilworth & Paul O'Sullivan (Rocklodge) +2

Best Tipperary pairing: Donie and Madge O’Callaghan (Tipperary Hills) +2

Other leading scores: Peter Fenlon and Marie Murphy (Collins) +9

In total 30 pairs competed from an original entry of 648 pairs (the highest up to then since inception of the event in 1971) for the tournament, which was a big success, helped enormously by the generosity of the sponsors, combined with the first-class social and playing facilities of the host club.