National Seniors Strokeplay previews 2024

By John Manning

National Seniors Strokeplay previews 2024 image

St Stephen's Pitch and Putt club in Glanmire in Cork is the venue this weekend for the Senior Ladies and Gents National Strokeplay.  John Manning previews the Ladies and Gents contesting the Championships this year.  

Five current and former champions face the starter in a star-studded Ladies senior championship on Sunday. Ger Holland, Mary Murray, Breda White, Geraldine Ward and Margaret Hogan have shared seven of the last eight stagings between them.

Senior Ladies

2015 winner and 2023 runner-up Ger Holland (R.G.S.C.) is the first of the five into combat in partnership with Mary Quinn (Lakeside) and Helen Greagsbey (Ierne). Former National Intermediate and Junior Strokeplay champion Mary Quinn is seeking a quick double having been crowned Over-55s Intermediate champion at Glenville last July. Inter-County winner Helen Greagsbey claimed Best Nett honours in the 2020 National Strokeplay championship. Mary Quinn was 2016 National Intermediate Strokeplay runner-up at St. Stephen’s.

2018 Over-55s champion Mary Murray (Rocklodge) features in the same threeball as her 2016 and 2022 counterpart Breda White (Tipperary Hills). This pair will be joined on the first tee by 2021 National Junior Strokeplay champion and reigning National Intermediate Strokeplay champ Margaret Hennessy (Riverdale). St. Stephen’s will evoke happy memories for Mary and Breda who won the main National Intermediate and Senior championships respectively at the Glanmire venue in 2016.

Holder Geraldine Ward’s fellow competitor will again be her long-time rival Margaret Hogan (Tullamore). The much-decorated Portmarnock lady finally got her hands on the Catherine Bell Trophy in 2023 at Glenville after taking second behind Breda White at Bellewstown a year earlier. In addition to her many other successes, Margaret Hogan has twice won the Over-55s championship, at Gaeil Colmcille in 2014 and at E.S.B. in 2019 when Mary Murray was runner-up. Margaret was also second to Ger Holland at Old County in 2017.

Intermediate Ladies

2019 champion Frances Ryan (Lakeside) and her 2010 equivalent Kathleen Shanley (Hillview) headline the intermediate championship.

2023 National Intermediate Strokeplay bronze medallist, Frances (who was third in the 2018 renewal of this championship) plays with Paula Nolan (Rocklodge), an impressive campaigner in the Inter-County and Mixed Foursomes arenas and Mary Fullam (Shandon), the 2006 National Junior Strokeplay champion.

Lakeside’s Bridget Bridget Shelley and Patricia McLoughlin (Shandon) are no strangers to the national podium. Bridget is a two-time National Intermediate Strokeplay champion (2012 and 2019) having been presented with the junior gold medal at Douglas in 1992. Patricia lifted the National Intermediate Strokeplay cup at Portmarnock in 2006. Bridget and Patricia actually shared the same podium at Ierne in 2012 with the Shandon lady third behind her Co. Tipperary rival. Mary Fullam was runner-up in intermediate the same day.

Cork pair Vera McCarthy (Collins) and Siobhan Foy (Rocklodge) are two others to watch at St. Stephen’s. In a just a couple of highlights from a stellar resumé, Vera has three national Inter-County wins in the red of Cork, in 2015, 2012 and 2010 and a 1995 Skoda National Mixed Team Event victory with Collins. Siobhan was a Munster Mixed Foursomes winner in 1987 and provincial Intermediate Strokeplay champion the following year. She was runner-up in the 1988 National Intermediate Strokeplay at Hillview.

2023 runner-up Joyce Keane (Glenville) is bracketed with Hillview’s Shula McCarthy and Margaret Forde (Riverdale). 2020 National Matchplay semi-finalist Shula has seen much success in the Tipperary colours, including that memorable national Inter-County success alongside her daughters, Michelle and Gemma, at McDonagh in 2019. Three-times a National Intermediate Strokeplay podium finisher (one silver and two bronze), Margaret will seek the Over-55s double, having triumphed in the Junior grade at Collins in 2012. She won 2018 Intermediate Nett at McDonagh.

1999 Cork Matchplay champion Joan O’Callaghan (Collins) tees up opposite last year’s third place finisher Liz Forde (Riverdale), who was also third in junior seven years ago, and 2010 winner Kathleen Shanley.  Kathleen was National Mixed Foursomes runner-up in 2022.

Patsy O’Donovan (Collins), a two-time (2015 and 2019) runner-up and 2017 bronze medallist, shares the same grouping as Pauline Lucey (Hillview),who contested a play-off for the 2013 championship at Erry before ultimately setting for the silver medal. That threeball also includes 2018 National Junior Strokeplay champion Phil Downey (Collins).

Kathleen Carton (Kilbeggan) has two third places and one second spot in the National Ladies Intermediate Strokeplay championship and took Best Nett in the 2017 Over-55s event at Cloghogue while Margaret Courtney (Riverdale) has twice been runner-up in the National Mixed Foursomes.

Junior Ladies

Reigning Cork Junior Strokeplay champion Nuala McNamara (Collins) is the first player off in the Over-55s junior grade. Nuala is another player for whom St. Stephen’s will hold happy memories. Nuala picked-up a National Junior bronze medal there in 2016. She was also third in the first National Over-55s Intermediate championship back in 2004 and again in 2019.

2021 All Ireland Ladies Matchplay Nett Cup quarter-finalist Margaret O’Donovan (Bruff) won the Over-55s junior championship at E.S.B. in 2019.

2023 All-Ireland Ladies Matchplay Nett Cup runner-up Christina Foley (Athgarvan) plays with 2021 Cork Strokeplay runner-up and 2022 Munster Matchplay semi-finalist Georgina Harte who will carry host club hopes.

2022 and 2024 Munster Junior Matchplay finalist Angela Royer (Bishopstown) will play in the company of 2022 third place finisher Anne Flynn (Glenville)

2023 Cork Ladies Junior Matchplay and Strokeplay champion Eileen Hanley (The Ranges) is drawn in the final group of the day as is 2020 All Ireland Ladies Matchplay Nett Cup finalist Lorraine Creed (Hillview).