IT will be a case of contrasting emotions in the two provinces this weekend with the staging of the Provincial Juvenile Matchplays. In Munster it will be a sense of delight that after the event was discontinued for five years after the 2009 staging, that it is back. In Leinster meanwhile, it will be a chance for the eventual victor to create a bit of history by winning what will be the inaugural event in the province. Communications & Press Officer Jason O’Connor takes a closer look at proceedings in both Athgarvan (Leinster) and St Stephens (Munster) this weekend.
IT’S amazing that given the rich history of Pitch & Putt in the province, that there never was a Leinster Juvenile Matchplay and one can only imagine the envy Juveniles looked on the event in Munster with down through the years. Now thankfully with the support of the Civil Service Credit Union the event is off the ground and the first staging takes place in Athgarvan this weekend. 22 players from four counties (Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny and Meath) will compete for this inaugural honour with the formbook very much out the window.
Both Leinster Boys Strokeplay Champions, Ross O’Reilly (Old County, 14-15) and Evan Carry (Castletown, 10-13) are amongst the field along with Lucas McKeen of Bellewstown who was runner-up to Evan in McBride back in August. A good share of the Meath Juvenile Inter-County team are competing this weekend, Conor Doyle who finished third in the National Boys Strokeplay the most notable. Niall Flaherty and Sean Fitzgerald from St Bridgets are the sole Kildare representatives at the weekend. Gowran’s entry of three players, Conor and Dylan Cleere along with Paul O'Neill, is a very encouraging sign and hopefully this is an experience that will be on benefit to all players this weekend no matter if they make it through to Sunday or not.
The fact that all these players will be playing competitive Matchplay for the first time outside of their own clubs and counties will make it all the more interesting and lets hope that this will be something that will be built on for the years ahead.
FIVE years after the event was last held in Deerpark back in 2009, the Juvenile Matchplay returns to the calendar this weekend with St Stephens hosting their second Provincial event this year after the staging of the Graded Inter-Counties back in August. (Interestingly Athgarvan hosted the Graded Gents Inter-Counties in Leinster on the same day). The last two winners of this event were Deerpark players, Daragh O’Keeffe in Hillview in 2008 and Kieran Looney in 2009 on home turf.
That will add the pressure on the club’s representatives in this weekend’s events but it’s the Cork players who have held the upperhand on their Kerry counterparts in this year’s events so far. Charlie Morrissey, the National Boys Strokeplay Champion, along with the Munster Boys 14-15 Strokeplay Champion, Conor Irwin are both taking part this weekend and a good share of the Munster and National Juvenile Inter-County Cork team are involved including Cian Morrision, Edward Walsh, David Howard and Ryan Towler. Parteen are the only club outside of the Cork and Kerry clubs to enter players into this event with Seamus Redden and Conor Fahy their two representatives.
The host club St Stephens have nine entries, Dan Harrington, Glenn Towler, Ian O’Donoghue, Cillian Roche, John Carty, Sean Harrington, Sean Murphy, Aaron Roche and Adam Finn with Deerpark’s entry of eight giving the two clubs well over half of the 33 entries. That won’t mean much in the heat of battle but after waiting so long to see this event return, hopefully it will live up to expectations in St Stephens this weekend.
We wish all involved the very best of luck throughout this weekend. Updates of proceedings will be available on the PPUI Website throughout the weekend along with our social media platforms.
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