Senior National Strokeplay previews 2024

By John Manning

Senior National Strokeplay previews 2024 image


The National Over-55s Strokeplay championships reach their 20th anniversary and will be played in Cork for the fourth time in history. St. Stephen’s will host for the first time.

The intermediates are first into action on Saturday morning with no fewer than six former champions in a field of 49.

2012 champion Weeshie Murphy is joined by his Raffeen Creek clubmate, 2019 kingpin John Tett The Cork pair are accompanied by 2016 winner at Fermoy Charlie Egan (Shandon), John Carton (Kilbeggan) who was 2013 champion at Erry, winner in 2014, the former LeinsterMatchplay champion and multiple Meath County champion William McNally (Stackallen) and Leinster Inter-County runner-up with Down seniors and intermediates, Ronan Hollywood, who triumphed on home turf at Cloghogue in 2017.

Opening teeshot will be struck by Pat Kirwan (Douglas). Pat was Munster Senior Strokeplay champion at Waterford Glass in 1983 and following his recent return to the sport, he came second in the 2023 Cork Intermediate Strokeplay championship.Kirwan’s playing partner will be 2019 Munster Inter-County runner-up with Tipperary and 2022 Eden Scratch Cup winner Celestine Ryan (Larkspur Park).

Ger Forde and Barry Cusack are both three-time Cork Intermediate League winners with E.S.B.

Michael McGrath (Larkspur Park) was a National Inter-County winner with Tipperary in 1995 at Lakewood and Munster Strokeplay runner-up in 1996.

Dean Courtney (Riverdale), twice a runner-up in National Mixed Foursomes, plays with Brian O’Flynn (Ardnacrusha), the2019 Munster and National Intermediate Strokeplay champion.

2016 Munster Junior Inter-County runner-up Eddie Jones (Tipperary Hills) is in the field as is host club Chairman Eddie HoganHogan claimed the Cork Over-55 Intermediate Grade Strokeplay championship in 2009. He has in the past been second In the Munster Intermediate Strokeplay championship and runner-up in the Cork Intermediate Matchplay.

Last year’s runner-up Dominic Kavanagh (Bruff) will try to climb to top spot in 2024.

Munster Gent's Strokeplay Championship 2022 Nett award went to William O'Donovan (Bruff), who was a Munster Mixed Team Event winner in 2011 and runner-up in the 1997 Carrolls Club Tournament.

1997 LeinsterStrokeplay runner-up Dermot McGregor (Royal Meath) was a National Inter-County winner with Meath in 1996 and 1998. He was runner-up in the 1989 National Inter-County and also 1998 Carrolls Club Tournament runner-up.

Kevin O’Donoghue, a former Cork League winner with Templebreedy, now represents Raffeen Creek.

Former Kildare Matchplay champion Martin Delaney (Athgarvan) lines up alongside Billy Griffin (Cill na Móna), Munster Mixed Foursomes runner-up in 2005 and Inter-County Division B silver medallist with Clare in 2015 and 2016.

Ian Leech and Michael Long were the inaugural (2019) National Non-Mixed Scotch Foursomes runners-up.Leech is a multiple Cork County champion while Long was a National Intermediate Matchplay quarterfinalist at Larkspur Park a few weeks ago.

Derek Reynolds (Killineer) is a Leinster Junior Inter-County winner with Louth while 2000 Leinster Matchplay semi-finalist Denny McGuinness (Cloghogue) was third in this championship at Cloghogue in 2017 just as he was in junior at Lakeside in 2010.

Michael Kehoe (Gowran) helped Kilkenny to third place in the Eamonn Birchall Trophy last year while Gerry Ward (Lucan) is a former Dublin Junior Strokeplay champion and 2006 LeinsterStrokeplay runner-up.

Past Dublin Inter-County star Paddy Kelly (Loughlinstown) was a 1988 National Matchplay semi-finalist at Lucan.Kelly won this championship at senior grade level in 2012.

Tom Metcalfe (Rochfortbridge) was runner-up in the 2022 National Over-55s Junior grade Strokeplay championship and Phil Carry (Castletown) is a former Meath Matchplay runner-up.

2022 Munster Junior Matchplay champion and 2024 Cork Junior Matchplay runner-up Eddie Delaney (Bishopstown) will get the 2024 Junior championship underway at 1.00pm.

2023 champion Nicky Byrne (Collins) is an ultra-decorated performer, boasting Cork Mixed Foursomes, Munster Inter-County, Cork County League and Cork Strokeplay successes. He was third in 2018.

Ed Janssen(Lough Owel) has been third in this championship on two occasions – in 2015 at Old County and in 2017 at Cloghogue.

Munster Junior Inter-County winner Gerard Tuite (Riverdale) has been a session prize winner at the National Foursomes.

Donie Field (Raffeen Creek) was a bronze medallist in the Cork Junior Strokeplay championship of 2018 while John Boyle (Loughlinstown)was the 2023 Loughlinstown Junior Scratch Cup victor

2007Cork Junior Strokeplaychampion  Jim Sheridan and Edmond Scott will carry the hopes of the local St. Stephen’s fans. Jim Sheridan contested the 2004 National Gents Junior Strokeplay championship at St. Stephen’s.

Meath Matchplay champion Leo Halpin (Bellewstown) will be hoping to build on his recent county success as will 2024 Kildare Matchplay runner-up and 2023 Kildare Junior Scratch Cup winner Michael Foley (Athgarvan).

2015 provincial Junior Inter-County runner-up Paddy Bird (Bellewstown) was narrowly beaten in a play-off for the first-ever Leinster Junior B Strokeplay championship last year and is a regular contender in Mixed Foursomes events.

Renowned juvenile coach Michael Cunningham (Kilbeggan)was a member of Kilbeggan1991 Carrolls Club Tournament runner-up and 2007 National Mixed Team Event runner-up quartets.

Thos Warren (E.S.B.) won five Cork County Senior League titles with Carrigaline in the 1970s/80s.

Thomas McInerney (Cloghogue) will bid to be the first player to complete the Junior B Junior A double after his success in the lower grade twelve months ago at Glenville. Thomas will be partnered by 1989 National Junior Strokeplay champion Richard Cunningham (St. Anne’s).

2017 Dublin Strokeplay silver medallist and 2018 Dublin Matchplay runner-up John O’Keeffe (Glenville) will bring a wealth of experience to the Junior B proceedings. So will former National Scramble winner and 2023 runner-up Seamus Gleeson (Riverdale), who was third in the second-ever Junior championship at Shandon in 2005.

2007 Cork Junior League winner Liam O’Keeffe and Finbarr Henchion will have home club player’s chances in the Junior B event. John Long (Claycastle) contests the Junior B final for the second successive year.

Sunday’s senior grade field is brimming with players of proven pedigree.

First off the tee will be last year’s third place finisher Declan Freeman (Majestic), 2018 Munster Matchplay champion and 2021 Cork Matchplay kingpin. Declan is partnered by Tralee’s Tony Blake. Blake is a former Munster Inter-County championship winner with Kerry and a two-time winner of the Munster Mixed Foursomes.

Richard Jordan (Raffeen Creek) was Cork Junior Matchplay champion in 1986 and also claimed National Junior Strokeplay honours the same year. He scored 91 to clinch Nett laurels in the 2018 All-Ireland Over-55 Senior Grade Strokeplay Championshipat McDonagh.

Multiple Inter-County winner Chris Scannell (Collins) has achieved much in our sport since he first represented Cork in the adult ranks at Rocklodge four decades ago. Scannell won the National Strokeplay at Collins in 1995 and was National Matchplay champion in 2010.Jimmy O’Neill (Larkspur Park) was Best Nett winner two years ago in Bellewstown.

Another past All-Ireland Matchplay champ is Bishopstown’s Barry Morrissey. Barry took third place in this Over-55s championship at Cloghogue seven years back. Morrissey is paired with 2019 runner-up Pacelli Darcy (Ardnacrusha) and John Fitzgerald (Hillview). Darcy was the 2015 European Over-55s Strokeplay champion and 2018 British Open winner. Fitzgerald has been runner-up in both the National Mixed and Non-Mixed Foursomes.

2019 winner at E.S.B., Patsy Farrell (Bruff) is one of two former champions in the St. Stephen’s senior grade field. Tadgh Harrington (Lucan) won the WPPT Ireland Master Over-55 tournament at Ring Commons last autumn. Tadgh clinched the 2022 bronze medal at Bellewstown.

Liam O’Brien (Douglas) is another past All Ireland Matchplay (1993) and All Ireland Strokeplay (1996) champion on show at St. Stephen’s. Michael Ahern (Lucan) achieved much as a juvenile in his native Cork and was recently leading Dublin qualifier for the LeinsterStrokeplay with an impressive 90 around R.G.S.C.

2011 National Intermediate Strokeplay champion Damien Creevey (Lucan) was the overall winner of that Ireland Master event at Ring Commons last October.

Three-time Over-55s kingpin and holder Anthony Malone is the second of the former winners into action. The charismatic Lucan man, who also claimed the main National Strokeplay title in 1989 and 1991 will be alongside Raffeen Creek’s Richard O’Flaherty, a National Mixed Team event (1994) and National Club Tournament (1997) winner with his former club Templebreedy.

Another two-time All-Ireland Strokeplay champion (1992 and 1998) is Raffeen Creek’s FrankO’Donoghue.  Frank chased Anthony Malone home at Glenville twelve months ago and will be bidding to go one better this time. Dermot Heffernan (Lucan) claimed second spot in intermediate at Glenville.

Anthony Carroll (Royal Meath) was the 2015 intermediate grade winner at Old County. Sean Harkins (Ryston) is a three-time (1986, 1991 and 1999) Irish Matchplay champion who helped Ireland to the 2001 and 2003 European Team championships. Sean was third at McDonagh in 2018.

1985 LeinsterStrokeplay champion Alan Hanlon (Collinstown) was an integral part of Ireland’s 2005 European Team Championship winning sextet at Overbetuwe, Netherlands. Regular international Open winner Hanlon will be in the company of Lucan Club Captain John McDermott, who claimed third place in that 2023 WPPT tourney, behind Tadgh Harrington and Anthony Malone.