ONE thing is for certain ahead of the National U-16 Strokeplay Championships on Saturday in Glenville, we are guaranteed a new winner of the Eugene McCarthy Cup following Evan Carry’s elevation to the adult ranks while for the first time a National U-13 Boys Strokeplay Champion will be crowned with the Helen McMorrow Cup on offer to the Boys 10-13 prize-winner for the first time on Saturday. Communications & Press Officer Jason O’Connor assesses both the Boys & Girls fields ahead of Saturday’s event.
AFTER Evan Carry’s three-in-a-row dominance of the latter part of the decade, a new era will dawn in Glenville on Saturday as 63 entrants will bid to replace the Castletown clubman as the new National Boys Strokeplay Champion. Glenn Towler of St Annes will be hotly fancied in advance to bookend Evan’s three-in-a-row back to his brother Ryan’s own success in Tipperary Hills back in 2015.
Glenn enters in strong form after a Munster double in defeating Patrick Mitchell in the Matchplay in St Annes itself while he was a convincing winner of the Strokeplay two weeks later in Hillview. Winning a second National Matchplay title after a tight battle with Shea Fennell in the decider in Deerpark puts him on the verge of a unique quadruple as he tees off alongside Deerpark’s Fintan Martin and Fermoy’s Cian McGirr around 12.45pm on Saturday. Jack Buckley of Collinstown (Matchplay) and Dylan Hudson of St Patricks (Strokeplay) are the Leinster Champions from this year’s U-16 events as both reached the Championship Semi-Finals in Deerpark.
Dylan tees off in the last three-ball with Glenville’s Josh Casey and St Bridgets Thomas Costello while not long before that in the third last group, Jack will tee-off with Bishopstown’s Eoghan Hallahan and Glenville’s Luke Kilpatrick. The host club have over 10 entries in the field with Luke Devlin in the first Boys Three-Ball to tee-off alongside Hillview’s Alan Quigley and Seapoint’s Eoin Murphy. Deerpark of Killarney have 16 entries amongst the field as Munster Boys Strokeplay Runner-Up Cillian Courtney will be hoping for a good showing in teeing off alongside Jamie Palmer from the host club and Oldcastle’s Mark Cadden.
Club-mate Robbie Harnett won the 10-13 grade in Munster as he tees-off with Collins’ Cian Mulcahy and Shane Murphy from the hosts approaching 12.55pm. Another Deerpark player Eoghan O’Riordan Looney put in a stunning performance to win the Plate competition at the National Matchplay and he plays Munster Matchplay Runner-Up Patrick Mitchell and Athgarvan’s Jack Fogarty in the fourth last group. National Matchplay Championship Runner-Up Shea Fennell meanwhile plays with Seapoint’s Alan Keane and Deerpark’s Tom Cronin in his group as Poulaphouca’s Andrew Curran will be another to watch out for on Saturday playing alongside Deerpark’s Cathal Kelly and Collinstown’s Brian Bray.
Leinster 10-13 winner Conor Mullins of Kilbeggan plays with fellow Westmeath player Billy Buckley of Collinstown with Glenville’s Thomas Egan making up their three-ball. His brother Jack was Runner-Up to Evan Carry last year in Fermoy as he is out in the fourth Group on Saturday alongside Deerpark’s Nathan Cronin and Shaun Mulryan of Trim. One three-ball to look out for could be the combination of Trim’s Padraig Mallon, Lucan’s Alex Keegan and Listowel’s Jake Shine with Jake’s Listowel club-mate Bobby McCarron the Munster Plate Winner playing alongside Conaill Barnes from the hosts and TJ O’Sullivan from Deerpark.
Leinster Plate Matchplay winner Feidhlem Behan of St Bridgets meanwhile, plays with Irish International Luke Murphy of Seapoint and Jamie Ryan of Hillview as there is the added consolation for those in the 10-13 category who miss out on the main prizes to win the Helen McMorrow Cup. National Plate Matchplay Runner-Up David Murray of Bishopstown tees-off with Deerpark’s Joey McCarthy and Prosperous’ Michael Behan meanwhile.
There are a lot of players who can spring through the field and cause a surprise in the final shake-up and there should be a good sense of excitement on Saturday with a new winner guaranteed in advance.
SOPHIE Farnan returns to defend the Girls title and does so in good form after winning both Leinster Singles events as well as being a part of the winning Meath side in the U-16 Inter-County last week. She will play alongside Athgarvan’s Katie Fogarty on Saturday morning with an all Leinster field consisting of six players in total.
Lucan’s Eimear and Maebh Ahern will hope for a good challenge in their native county as Eimear plays with Seapoint’s Sarah Cooney and Maebh plays with Aoife Horan from the host club. Sophie will be bidding to become the fourth girl in the last 10 stagings of the competition to win it twice after Old County’s Claire Keating (2009 and 2011), Tullamore’s Amy Galvin (2012 and 2014) and Lucan’s Aoife Mahon (2015 and 2016).
Glenville should provide an interesting challenge for both Boys and Girls alike on Saturday in determining our 2019 Champions.
Tomorrow: We preview Sunday’s U-20 Singles and National U-16 Inter-County events.