Previous Pairs and Team Events at Royal Meath

John Manning looks back to 1991 and 2001 in Clonee

Previous Pairs and Team Events at Royal Meath image

Ahead of the National Scotch Foursomes in Royal Meath this weekend, John Manning takes a look at the time the Clonee course hosted the 1991 National Mixed Foursomes and 2001 National Mixed Team events and how they relate to this weekend’s events.


1991 National Mixed Foursomes

The last national competition of 1991 got underway at Royal Meath, Clonee at 10am on a raw October Sunday.

Included in the first foursome to tramp over the dew-laden fairways was one Andy Dempsey (Irish Ropes). The former Irish international and 1973 National Strokeplay champion provided plenty reminders of his artistry (notably at the 15th where he pitched dead). He and his sister Rose Kelly were two down after 18 but had improved to 2up by the 36th.

Clare Murphy (ESB), prominent at the 1991 National Matchplay in Lakewood, was partnered by John Keogh who generated a lot of backspin with his hard hitting style. The Cork combination scored a promising +5 first round but a couple of loose pitches cost them dear second time round and 5up was also their finishing tally.

Christy Hannon (St Bridgets) recorded the first ace of the final. His tee-shot at the downhill third dived straight into the cup. It didn’t inspire Christy and partner Dina Dillon. They signed for -2.

Gary Fitzpatrick and Stephanie Stapleton (Ierne) were just all square after 18 but a sub-par second eighteen saw them eight up overall.

Dennis and Dolores Monaghan (Shandon) had been developing into quite a formidable foursomes partnership in the late '80s/early '90s. In 1990, they had won Best Gross at both the Dublin and Leinster Mixed Foursomes, the latter notably at Royal Meath.

The omens for the 1991 National Mixed Foursomes looked good from the moment Dennis' pitch at the 3rd crept over the bank and Dolores canned the resulting three-footer for a two and a win.

Royal Meath's 6th, 7th and 8th were an intimidating enough stretch.

The 6th plays to the maximum of 70 metres with a yawning ditch lurking at the back to trap the over-bold. Conversely, the 7th was short at 24 metres but its small raised green foxed many. Even when one had covered the 45 metres of the 8th, there was that viciously sloping green to overcome.

The Monaghan’s went 2, 2, 2 from six through eight to be out in 23 gross. They were back in 26 to post five up for the round (saving par with a chip and putt, after being short, at the tricky 14th).

Joining the Shandon pair on five up were Claire Murphy and John Keogh and another Cork combination, Crosshaven's Bernie O'Connell and Finbarr Sutton, a team that always seemed to do well in this event.

Close behind on +4 were the Cooney’s of Bissell, Best Gross winners at Ierne, 12 months previously, and the Monaghan’s playing partners, Ollie and Peg Lambe (Athgarvan), who were boosted by a chip-in from Ollie at 14.

Amazingly, the Monaghan’s again birdied 5, 7 and 8 in Round Two to pull away from the sporting Lambe’s, who finished a gallant  7up.

A four at the tenth checked the Shandon couple's progress slightly but anther three twos on the run-in (including an excellent putt by Dolores on 14 after Dennis had pitched to four feet) saw them post 12up. They were actually 11up gross, shooting sixteen twos and five fours.

Playing in the group just behind, Bernie O'Connell and Finbarr Sutton fought bravely to match such brilliance. Their second 18 of +4 gave them 9up overall. For quite a while, that looked like holding second place as, one by one, pairings arrived back at the scorer's table without exceeding the Crosshaven total.

Towards the end of the field, Jean and Oliver Cooney (Bissell) made the extra win they needed for 9up with a five up second eighteen, which just edged out the unlucky Cork pair.

Frank Brady and Catherine McCreevy of Navan gave some cheer to the home county when their 4 up return clinched the gross award from Gary Fitzpatrick and Stephanie Stapleton (Ierne) on 1 up and Bernie O'Connell and Finbarr Sutton (Level).

But top honours went to Dublin's north side. The first of Dennis and Dolores Monaghan's two wins in this event was richly deserved.

+12 Denis Monaghan & Dolores Monaghan (Shandon) +5, +7

+9  Oliver Cooney & Jean Cooney (Bissell), +4, +5 (on back 18); Bernie O'Connell &Finbarr Sutton (Crosshaven), +5, +4

+8  Gary Fitzpatrick & Stephanie Stapleton (Ierne), L, +8; Declan Mooney & Tracey Hynes (Lucan), +3, +5

+7  Frank Brady & Catherine McCreevy (Navan), +3, +4; Jim Doyle & Rosaleen Doyle (Navan), +4, +3; Ollle Lambe & Peg Lambe (Athgarvan), +4, +3

+6  Denis McInerney & Jackie Delaney (Ardnacrusha)

+5  John Coleman & Debbie Kavanagh (IGB); Louie Hall & Marjorie Branigan (Royal Meath); Alan Slaughter & Marie Slaughter (Lucan); Claire Murphy & John Keogh (ESB)

+4  Larry Hickey & Betty Hickey (IGB); Gareth Lee & Maura Deering (Tullamore);

+3  Joe McGregor & Teresa Fitzpatrick (Royal Meath); Peter O'Mara &Nuala O'Mara (Campions); Sam Tanner & Noreen Tanner (E.S.B.)

+2  Andy Dempsey & Rose Kelly(Irish Ropes);

L  Frank Penders & Molly Penders (Seapoint); Hubert Kelly & Teresa McInerney (Loughlinstown).



2001 National Mixed Team Event

It was a comfortable victory at Royal Meath for the Erry team in the final of the 2001 PPUI National Mixed Team Event. The Clara, Co. Offaly team came out on top of a field of 40 teams of four with a brilliant aggregate of 172 Stableford points.

In this Mixed Foursomes format, Offaly Inter-County player, Joe McGrath and his sister Tracey, the former two-time National Girls champion, gave Erry the perfect start with a return of 45 points that included no less than eight birdies. Joe Egan and Leinster Ladies Junior Strokeplay champion, Sarah Lee Carroll went one better with 46 points, the pair birdieing four of the last seven holes. That gave Erry a halfway total of 91 points and a five shot lead over home team Royal Meath B. St Bridgets B from Kilcullen were third on 83 ahead of Lucan D, Royal Meath A and Athgarvan on 81.  

In the second round, Erry got off to a slow start (both pairs were over par gross after five holes) but a birdie blitz on the back nine gave Erry 81 points for the second round (Joe McGrath and Sarah Lee Carroll home in 25 points for 41 and Tracey McGrath and Joe Egan back in 21 for 40).  That gave Erry their 172 points total and a nine shot win over runners-up Royal Meath A - a combination of four low handicappers, Colin Somers (+1), who had just beaten in a play-off for the Leinster Strokeplay, former Leinster Strokeplay champion, Thomas Hogan (Scr), Ann Hall (1), the beaten finalist in the 2001 All Ireland Ladies Matchplay and four handicap, Denise Hogan, the former National Girls champion. 

It was extraordinarily close for third place - four teams tied on 159 points - Royal Meath B, Glenville A, Shandon A and Millhouse (Roscrea). Royal Meath B (despite dropping three shots to par on the home hole) got the third slot on the back nines tiebreaker (they carded 83 for this stretch to 79 for Glenville with Shandon and Millhouse both shooting 77).

1. Erry (Joe Egan, Joe McGrath , Tracey McGrath, Sarah Lee Carroll) 172 points

2. Royal Meath A (Colin Somers,Thomas Hogan,Ann Hall,Denise Hogan) 163 points

3. Royal Meath B (Terry Harte, Kieran Gavin, Helen Gavin, Sheila Harte) 159 points

159 points           Glenville A, Shandon A, Millhouse

158 points           RGSC, Rathfeigh

157 points           St Bridgets A

156 points           Bruff A, Lucan D

155 points           Athgarvan

154 points           Glenville C, Lucan C

153 points           IGB B, Shandon B

152 points           IGB A

150 points           Lucan B, Riverdale and Glenville E

Present Day

Seven players in action at the 2023 National Scotch Foursomes finals have previously contested a Pitch & Putt Ireland National handicap tournament showpiece at Royal Meath.

And the septet enjoyed considerable success in those events.

The only survivors from the 1991 National Mixed Foursomes final at Royal Meath are the Shandon pair Dennis Monaghan and Dolores Monaghan.

The Phibsboro husband and wife team went on to win the National Mixed Foursomes again at Athgarvan in 1994. Both have represented Dublin successfully in the Inter-County arena.

Tracey Redmond was playing under her maiden name of McGrath in the 2001 National Mixed Team Event final at Royal Meath.

Colin Somers (Cloghogue) was playing out of Royal Meath at that time.

Christy Sweeney and his wife Anne Sweeney featured on a St Bridgets B team that also included Paul Sweeney and Masie O’Brien. That Kilcullen combination mustered 157 points to take ninth place in a field of 40 teams.

Close behind were a Bruff team, which comprised Phil McNamara, Billy Farrell, Michelle Darcy and Patsy Farrell, that signed for 156 points.

Also playing that day in July 2001 were Ian Dillon and Seamus Gleeson. Alongside Margaret Clear, Catherine Dunne and William J. Gaffney, Seamus delivered 150 points for Riverdale while Ian helped St. Bridget’s A foursome (who also fielded Ian’s sister Tara Dillon, Chrissie Byrne and Frank Ryan) to 148 points.

Best Wishes to all those taking part in Royal Meath this weekend. Score Updates will be available throughout the weekend.