The National Gents Strokeplay Championship has never been played before at Navan. However, the Co Meath venue has hosted the National Gents Matchplay and the National Gents Inter-County Championships in the past.
At Navan in 1980, Michael Collins (Shandon) beat holder Kevin McDonnell (Cement) by 5&4 in a final that attracted record crowds. Collins led early before McDonnell jumped into a two-hole advantage. Collins reacted impressively and led by three at halfway before McDonnell birdied the 19th to reduce the deficit. However, there was to be no denying the 21-year-old Dubliner and when both players pitched close on the 32nd green, McDonnell sportingly conceded putt and match.
In the semi-finals, Michael Collins beat Pat Doyle (Athgarvan) by 4&3 while Kevin McDonnell was a 7&6 victor over Tony Brennan (Waterford Crystal).
Tony Brennan piped Jim O’Sullivan (Riverdale) on the last green in the quarter-finals. McDonnell was a one-hole winner over Anthony Carroll (Erins Isle) while Pat Doyle eliminated Royal Meath’s David Hall by 4&3. In the bottom last eight match, Collins had to go all the way to the 39th green to overcome Francis Leech (Cement). Leech had been four down with six to play but aced successive holes to haul himself back into contention.
A bizarre footnote to the championship was the second round disqualification of Donal Long (St Annes) in his second round match with Anthony Carroll.
Halfway leaders Cork faltered in the face of a fierce onslaught from home county Meath and a deluge of torrential rain which started to fall at Navan around 4.15 p.m. on Sunday 6th September, 1998. Thus Meath won the Gents' Inter-County Pitch and Putt Championship for the third time. 1997 Leinster Strokeplay champion, Colin Somers, carded an 18 under par 90, remarkable scoring in the very windy and wet conditions. Colin was well supported by the then four-time national champion Sean Downes on 94. Derek Coogan shot 101 for Meath, Dermot McGregor 102 and Mark Gibney 105.
That gave Meath a 45 under par total of 387, which was three clear of Cork in second place (Cork's fifth runners-up placing in the nineties). National Matchplay champion Ray Murphy top-scored for Cork with 95. Alan Foley and John Walsh added 98s, Chris Scannell was round in 99 and Frank O'Donoghue returned 105. Offaly, for whom William Buckley shot a brilliant 93, were third for the third time in six years. The other Offaly scores were Vincent Murphy 98, Joe McGrath 98, Billy Buckley 103 and Joe Ivers 108.
Cork shot a tremendous opening round 193 (23 under par). 1997 National Strokeplay champion John Walsh was prominent with 47 and Cork led by four with a round to go from Louth and Meath on 19 under with Dublin and Westmeath just another shot back on 18 under. Cork looked to be in the driving seat when Alan Foley aced the third and Ray Murphy shot another hole in one at the eighth but inspired play by Somers and Downes in the rain saw Meath home. The top 10 teams qualified for the top flight in the new two divisional format from 1999 on. Waterford took the last spot by a shot from Kerry.
387 - Meath; 390 - Cork; 392 - Offaly; 395 - Westmeath; 397 - Louth; 400 - Kildare; 401 - Dublin; 404 - Tipperary; 405 - Down; 410 - Waterford.
411 - Kerry; 414 - Armagh, Wexford; 416 - Limerick; 417 - Clare; 431 - Carlow; 440 - Galway; 442 - Longford.
2012 Leinster Strokeplay Championship
The Leinster Gents’ Strokeplay Championships were most recently played at Navan in 2012. John Ross Crangle (Loughlinstown) fired a three-round 141 to take the title by two strokes from Seapoint’s Brian McGinn (who took second on the tiebreaker from Old County’s Stephen Murray). Now a successful golf professional, Brendan Lawlor (Channonrock) scored 97 to be crowned Intermediate Champion while the Junior winner was David Newman (Erry) on 101. Michael Byrne (Tullamore) returned 98 to be Intermediate Runner-Up as 103 secured Junior second spot for Niall Corcoran (Lough Owel).
Previous National Ladies Strokeplays @ Tullamore
The National Ladies Strokeplay championships have been played twice before at Tullamore.
Low scoring was the order of the day in the 2007 Lynch & Manning Ltd. National Ladies Strokeplay Championships at Tullamore, on July 29th.
Geraldine Ward (Portmarnock) breezed round the impeccably prepared course in 46, 47 and 47 to return a 22 under par tally of 140 and capture her fourth title. But how close it was! Four shots behind after 36 holes, runner-up Siobhan Scannell (Collins) produced a phenomenal final round of 44 to miss out by just a single stroke. Two Co Offaly players would finish on 145. Tracey McGrath (Erry) piped Margaret Hogan (Tullamore) for third slot on the Final 18 tie-breaker (46 to 50).
The previous day, Margaret Webster (Larkspur Park) won the Intermediate title with a three-round aggregate of 162, two strokes clear of Annie Galvin (Tullamore), who claimed second spot on the tie-breaker from Bridget Shelly (Lakeside) who also posted 164.
The Junior Championship prompted event much local celebration as Martina Marron (Tullamore) posted 170 to prevail by two shots from runner-up Deirdre O'Donovan (Collins) with Zita Galvin (Tullamore) another five strokes back in the bronze medal position.
Chris O’Shaughnessy (St Annes) waited a long time for national sporting success. She cheered from the sidelines as her brother Tony won three All Ireland medals with Cork hurlers in the 1950’s. She watched from the wings as club colleagues Ann Ginnane and Marie Allen brought the Elvery Cup to Shanakiel. On Sunday June 25th, 1989, Chris O’Shaughnessy moved up to centre stage.
Chris, who at that stage, had played for over two decades her Pitch & Putt at Highfield, Rocklodge and St. Annes, was one of the early starters. An opening 18 of 49 set her up for a good score at Tullamore and she completed her second round in 51, getting up and down from a bunker at the last to preserve her eight under tally. Chris then sat and waited as, one by one; the more fancied contenders fell by the wayside.
Marie Mahony (RGSC) clinched second place with a fine second round of 49, just edging out Eleanor Walsh (Fermoy). Celebrations continued for a long time down Cork way on Barrack Street where Chris ran the family butchery business.
Clare Murphy (ESB) had got the day off to a good start for the Leeside contingent in the Intermediate grade when her superb round of 53 saw her overhaul halfway leaders Peg Lambe (Athgarvan) and Mary Casey (Cement).
Catherine Cronly (Tullamore) was a popular winner of the junior crown. Her two round tally of 126 proved two better than Phyllis Fullam (Athgarvan). Olive Byrne (Navan) finished third, a further three strokes back.
Tomorrow: We preview the National Intermediate and Junior Mens grades this Saturday
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