Provincial Scotch foursomes preview

In our run up to the weekends Provincial Scotch Foursomes in Trim and Bishopstown, John Manning takes a look at the pairings across both provinces in the mixed and non mixed. With numerous previous champions lining out in both provinces, its anyone's guess who will come to the fore as new pairings will be hoping to get their names in the history books as Provincial champions in 2024. 


Bishopstown hosts the Munster Scotch Foursomes for the first time ever.

The host club is well-represented with five all-Bishopstown pairs in the Mixed on Saturday and another couple of teams that feature Murphy’s Farm members linking with players from other clubs. That latter set includes 2022 National Matchplay kingpin Barry Morrissey combining with Fermoy’s former Irish Girls’ champion Sarah Byrne. That’s an arrangement that secured Best Gross at Hillview six years ago. Sarah took second slot alongside James Devonshire in 2014.

Two of the all-host club pairings see Munster Junior Matchplay finalists, champion Linda Griffin and runner-up Angela Royer, teaming-up with Seán Looney and Joe O’Mahony respectively.

No fewer than seven past winners of the Munster Mixed Scotch Foursomes line out on Saturday. Tralee’s Lisa O’Connor and Tony Blake would love to mark the tenth anniversary of their success at Fermoy with a second victory. They were Best Gross winners just two years ago and runners-up in 2016 and 2017.

Holders Lorraine Creed and John Fitzgerald (Hillview) will have something to say about that, following their record-equalling victory on 91 points in Bruff twelve months ago.

Mary Murray and John Treacy (Rocklodge) set that record with their 91 points stableford haulat Tralee in 2022. This very able Cork combination captured the Grossin 2015, 2017 and 2019.

Morty and Nicola Ahern (Collins) were the first champs of the stableford era – that was at St. Stephen’s in 2019.

The previous versus par format pertained during the victory marches of Jim Aherne and Vera McCarthy (Collins) in 2017 and of Lakeside partnerships Michael Fennell and Elaine Quinn in 2016 and Frances Ryan and Martin McCormack three years earlier. Michael and Elaine were also 2022 runners-up. As holders, Frances and Martin came second at Lakeside in 2014. Jim and Vera clinched the 2011 Gross prize at Lakewood.

2015 champion Bridget Shelley will contend again with a new partner this time in the shape of Lakeside clubmate Thomas Roberts, with whom she claimed Best 2nd 18 at Bruff.

A partnership worth watching will be that of Michelle O’Connell and Michael Aherne who starred for Cunnigar in 2016 National Mixed Team Event win at Lakeside.

Garrett O’Mahony and Paula Nolan (Rocklodge) were Best Gross winners at national level at Larkspur Park in 2022, an event that was won by host club partnership Grainne Shelly and Derek Shelly. Gillian Morrissey (St. Anne’s) and Cork Junior Matchplay champion Dylan Ahern (Collins) were on the podium that day as well. Paula Nolan has previously won the Munster Best Gross alongside Hugh Cooney.

Last year’s Best Gross winners Breda White & Michael Brennan (Tipperary Hills) are back again as are the 2023 runners-up, Tralee’s Bernadette and Jason O’Regan. Breda and Michael previously secured the Gross at Crosshaven in 2012.

Hillview’s Veronica and Adrian Anglim renew their partnership at Bishopstown, having picked-up the Best First 18 award last May. Both have enjoyed other significant Mixed Foursomes success in the past. Adrian and Pauline Lucey were second provincially at Hillview six years ago. The same season saw Veronica claim a session prize nationally alongside David Cahill at Lakeside.

Josie McCormack and Anthony Maher (Lakeside) and Seamus Gleeson and Catherine Dunne (Riverdale) were both pipped for second place (on the back eighteen tiebreaker) at St. Stephen’s in 2019. Josie and Anthony were Best First 18 winners at Hillview the previous year.

Six Bishopstown pairs will face the starter in the 2024 Non-Mixed event on Sunday. Unusually, the holders will not be present to defend their title nor will the event record holders, Paul O’Shea and Keith O’Brien (Tralee) who compiled 98 points in their 2022 success. GerO’Connor and Declan Kelly (Deerpark), who triumphed five years ago, are not competing either, so entirely new names will be inscribed on this trophy, which has only been in existence since 2019 (and wasn’t played in 2020 or 2021 due to Covid).

A formidable looking partnership sees 2008 National Strokeplay champion Frank Dineen (St. Anne’s) unite with Cork Inter-County colleague John Walsh (Collins), the multiple county, provincial, national, European and world titleholder.

Having scooped Mixed second spot in 2023, Tralee’s Jason O’Reganis the only prizewinner in both provincial Mixed and Non-Mixed in the relatively short history of the Munster Non-Mixed Scotch Foursomes having dovetailed with son Mark to Best 2nd 18 at Tralee.

Another Kerry father and son combination is Tony Blake and Jamie Blake (Tralee). Jamie partnered Dan O’Leary to second place at Tralee in 2022.

Ian Leech links with his St. Anne’s clubmate Charlie O’Sullivan. Ian was inaugural National Non-Mixed Scotch Foursomes runner-up with fellow Shanakiel club member Michael Long. Ian and Michael shot 46 points to earn 1st 18 Munster laurels the same year.

Bruff’s Tommy Hanley and Kieran Earlshave seen success internationally as a pair and were All Ireland Scotch Foursomes Best Gross winners at Royal Meath in 2023, having garnered the same award in the Munster event at Tralee.

As well as his Mixed heroics last year, John Fitzgerald was National Mixed and Non-Mixed runner-up in 2022 with Kathleen Shanley and Matthew Buckley respectively.

Riverdale’s Ge rTuite and Matt Corrigan dominated the National Non-Mixed Scotch Foursomes 1st session at Larkspur Park in


Roger Guthrie plays with fellow Tralee man Gerard Lee, having won Best First 18 at Tralee two years ago in the company of Darren Goodall.

Peadar McCarthy and Aidan O’Sullivan will seek to build on their 51 point top 2nd 18 performancelast year.

Of the all-ladies pairings expect to see strong showings from Munster Junior Matchplay semi-finalist Lesley Gilmore (Bishopstown) playing with Mary Murray (Rocklodge), Riverdale’s Margaret Forde (former All Ireland Seniors champion) and Liz Forde (Best 2nd 18 winner at the 2022 Munster Mixed Scotch Foursomes with Michael Abbott), Ladies social tournament specialist Georgina Harte(St. Stephen’s) with Cork Strokeplay and Matchplay double winner Eileen Hanley (Ranges), former Munster Intermediate Matchplay champion Kathleen Shanleyand VeronicaAnglim(Hillview) along with Collins duo Nicola Ahern and Vera McCarthy.


Similar to Bishopstown down south, Trim will play host to the provincial Foursomes for the first time as the first-class layout on the banks of the River Boyne will be the scene of this weekend’s Leinster Scotch Foursomes.

Tullamore’s Gary Pyke and Claire Curtin will defend their title after their superb performance at Kilbeggan last year, when they set the all-time record total of 98 points for the stableford age of the event.

Two-time champions(2017 and 2018) Catherine Dillon and Ian Dillon of St. Bridget’s are back for another tilt at the title. Ian is something of an event specialist having also triumphed twice with Marian Byrne (in 1997 and 1999) and secured the Gross with the same partner in millennium year.

Cloghogue’s Bernie Somers teams-up with her husband Colin. Bernie is twice a previous winner, in 1994 with Michael Concannon and in 1996 with Conor O’Hare.Colin won 2002 Best Gross: alongside Ann Hall (Royal Meath).

Another husband and wife team is Tracey Redmond and Keith Redmond (Erry). Tracey is a four-time winner (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011) together with her brother Joe,with whom she also claimed second and Best Gross. Tracey and Joe hold the scoring record for the old versus par format, having accumulated a staggering +24 at Ryston fifteen years ago. Keith is a former Dublin Matchplay champion.

Ian Farrelly(Bellewstown) and Kathleen Geraghty (Skryne) were Best Gross winners at the 2012 National Mixed Foursomes in Seapoint.

Tullamore’sJohn Fleming (the 2018 National Over-55 intermediate Grade Strokeplay runner-up) links up with Margaret Hogan who won Best Gross in 2013, partnered by Darren O’Connell.

2023 Best 1st 18 winners were Mairead O'Toole and Tony Barry (St. Bridget's). Mairead captured runners-up medals with David Coogan at Erry back in 2012.

Ursula Dowd and Eamonn Dowd (Navan), who topped the 2022 2nd 18 listat Collinstown, are in the field as is Bridie Cummins (Trim), Best 1st 18 winner the same year with Trevor Cummins. Bridie’s 2024 partner is Paddy Kelly.

Darren Keogh and Chrissie Sheedy (Ryston) have twice been Gross victors, in 2017at Erry and in 2015 (at The Acres, Longford). Darren previously took the Gross withTara Dillon (in 2011) while Chrissie scooped the same award in 2009 with Paul Byrne.

Theresa Fagan and Sean Kelly (Royal Meath) can point to a brace of category prizes - Best 1st 18 in 2013 and Best 2nd 18 in 2017, both at Royal Meath

Audrey Donnelly and Padraic Sarsfield(MacBride) are the reigning National Mixed Foursomes champions. Audrey and Padraic placed second in the 2016 Leinster Mixed at Lucan.

Lucan’s Tracey Smith earned Best 1st 18 honours in 2016 with Anthony Malone and now teams-up with Danny KiIduff.

At Old County in 2014,Best 1st 18 went to Ann Sweeney and Christy Sweeney (St. Bridget's) while Marie Brennan and Richard Brennan (Bellewstown) clinched Best 2nd 18 at Erry in 2009. 

The Oldcastle/Rathfeigh combo of Paula Lynch and Kevin Carolan were National Mixed Foursomes champions at Bellewstown five years ago when Marie and Richard Brennan filled second spot. Marie and Richard posted +10 to win Best 2nd 18 at Lakeside in the 2018 National Mixed Foursomes.

The best scoring aggregate in the history of the Leinster Non-Mixed Scotch Foursomes was set at Kilbeggan last year by Jim Kirwan and Mark Kirwan and the St. Patrick’s pair will be back at Trim to seek a second successive win. And maybe break the 100 Stableford points barrier after shooting 99 in 2023?

Gerry Breen (Seapoint) and Jack Buckley (Collinstown) duelled for the Best Gross at Kilbeggan with the Louth man prevailing on the tiebreaker. They return in 2024, having changed partners in the meantime. Gerry will now play with Darren Fagan while Jack teams with Kevin Flanagan.

The Collinstown champions of two years ago, Raymond Fay and Benny Fay, will be strong contenders again, having nabbed a 2nd 18 prize twelve months ago.

Erry pair Jimmy Taylor and Aengus Coughlan are proven performers, at home and abroad,and will seek to improve on their Best 2nd Session achievement at Collinstown

2019 winner (with Navan’s Jimmy Burke) Jonathan McCabe (Rathfeigh) will surely contend again, this time alongside Richie Walsh(Rathfeigh). The McCabe/Walsh duo claimed the first session prize at Royal Meath in the 2023 National Non-Mixed Scotch Foursomes.  Joe Redmond (St. Patrick's) was the second session prize winner on that occasion (with Thomas O’Brien) and now plays with Jack Kirwan.

Local hopes will be high with half-a-dozen all-Trim pairs.

John Gilsenan won the 2019 Leinster Mixed Foursomes with Margaret Conneelyat Collonand will bid to be the first player to win both provincial Scotch Foursomes titles. He will do that in the company of 2022 Leinster Intermediate Matchplay finalist Paddy Kelly.

Michael Conneely was runner-up in the 2012 National Mixed Foursomes at Seapoint with Margaret Conneely. He is partnered at the weekend by Poulaphouca Senior Scratch Cup winner Shaun Mulryan.

Paula Weldon and Annette Dowling of the host club headline the six all-female pairings. Annette was a bronze medallist in the 2022 Leinster Ladies Junior Strokeplay championship while Paula has been a prize winner at the popular provincial Ladies Social events.

The other five all-ladies combinations will make the journey from Cloghogue.

The Castletown combination of Evan Carry (the most decorated juvenile in Pitch and Putt history) and recently-crowned Leinster Matchplay champion EamonGibney will be strongly fancied to win Best Gross although Tullamore twosome Paddy Kelly and Patrick Murphy along with St. Patrick’s pair Dylan Hudson and John Hudson will be quietly confident also.

Joe McGrath Junior (Erry) who enjoyed such success with his sister Tracey in the provincial Mixed Foursomes contests the Non-Mixed tournament beside his father Joe Senior.