Tullamore Thoughts

Views of the 2014 winning Inter-County Captains on proceedings

Tullamore Thoughts  image

After their respective victories in the Inter-County Championships in Tullamore yesterday, Communications & Press Officer Jason O’Connor got the thoughts of the Cork Gents, Kildare Ladies & Clare Gents Captains.


Paudie O’Sullivan- Cork Gents Captain

“WOW!” The first word that came to mind for Paudie O’Sullivan when he was asked to sum up the extraordinary finish that had just taken place in the battle for the Anchor Cup at Tullamore. He admitted that he didn’t think it would finish the way it did. “After leading for the first three sessions and going 17 shots up after six holes, I thought we were in the clear. You have to give Dublin credit for the way they came back though, they got the birdies when they needed them and we made a few errors that brought us back within their range. I feel sorry for them and JR (Crangle) in particularly because that’s a very tough way to lose but I’m delighted with how our boys came through,” the Cork captain said.


            The finish he was referring to was the bogey JR took on the last hole with Dublin two ahead and the subsequent birdie by National Matchplay Champion John Walsh that saw him finish on a fine total of 13 under par to give Cork a one shot win and their 12th Anchor Cup this Millennium. “I don’t know how much more you can say about John John after the round he produced in the end, it was a phenomenal score. We kept the same order for both doubles formats but Bryan (Delaney) wanted to go back into the pack a bit.  You couldn’t ask for three better players to bring it home than Frank (Dineen), Ray (Murphy) and John. Frank has a proven track record around Tullamore while Ray’s name speaks for itself as well,” he said.


            Overall the Cork Gents Captain felt that the game of Pitch & Putt itself was the big winner in Tullamore. “I think the Gents B Championship was a great success and I’m delighted for Clare that they won because they’ve been coming to the Inter-County year upon year with nothing really to play for. Hopefully this will help the development of the game in the counties that took part and we might see some new ones emerge in the coming years,” Paudie said. Cork’s bid for three-in-a-row will take place on home turf in Douglas next year but the Cork captain feels the hosts should take nothing for granted.


“If you look back to the 2011 National Strokeplay in Douglas, the majority of the players in the playoff were from Leinster so it’s not going to be an easy one to win by any means. I think a lot of counties made progress this weekend and Kerry can be very proud of finishing in third place with the young team they had.”


Chrissie Byrne- Kildare Ladies Captain

SIX years can feel like an eternity sometimes and that’s what Chrissie Byrne said Kildare’s wait to win back the National Ladies Inter-County felt like for the Lilywhite County. “It felt like 100 years in some respects but we’re delighted to have come out on top this weekend,” the team captain said. This victory is a bit different to the other successes between 1997 and 2008 for Kildare in that it is the first time they have won with a doubles format involved but the team captain disagreed with the notion that the introduction of the doubles in 2010 had a negative influence on the Lilywhites fortunes since the turn of the decade. “We enjoyed the doubles as much as the other counties. It makes it feel more like a team game and it has enhanced the Inter-County immensely in my opinion,” she said.


            The foundations for Kildare’s success were laid on Saturday as they led overnight but after what happened at the Leinsters in Collinstown where Dublin overtook them in the closing stages, she said they were never sure of success until the last cards were handed in. “The Leinsters turned against us in the final three holes and we were bitterly disappointed that day. Today the last three holes turned in our favour and we’re just delighted to have won because it was a challenge out there,” Chrissie said. The team captain was delighted for some of her team-mates in particular. “Mary Donnelly has had a great year when you think she won the Leinster and National Intermediate Strokeplay and she also won the Leinster Intermediate Inter-County with the Kildare team in McDonagh. It’s a great reward for her because she’s been very steady and consistent all year. I’m delighted for Tara Dillon as well now that she has a gold medal for the year after losing two playoffs in the National Matchplay and Strokeplay,” she said.


            In terms of the tournament in general, Chrissie felt that the host county can be very proud of the way they performed over the weekend. “I thought it was great to see Margaret Hogan back playing in the Inter-County. Offaly have some nice players coming through and I can see them threatening for the title in future years if they all stick together. Cork have some new faces on the horizon as well and they certainly are going to be a force to be reckoned with down in Douglas next year when they are the hosts,” the Kildare captain said.


            Her final words were for both the Kildare County Board and hosts Tullamore. “The County Board looked after us very well this weekend and we secured great sponsorship this year for our Inter-County teams off Monasterevin Motors which we must thank them for. Tullamore were great hosts this weekend, it’s always a home away from home for us at this stage because we always come down here ever year to play in their Scratch Cups and we get a great welcome. The course was challenging but it was in fantastic condition at the same time.”


Declan Sheedy- Clare Gents Captain

CONSIDERING it’s the 20th year of Clare’s participation in the Inter-County, it’s only fitting that the anniversary was marked with some success. Clare Captain Declan Sheedy spoke of the Banner County’s honour in being the first county to win the Eamon Birchall Cup for the new Gents B grade. “I think the NEC deserves credit for agreeing to the request that was made to run this competition. There was great excitement and a buzz for us in the build-up and we’re honoured to be the first county to win this,” Declan said.


            The Clare Captain felt that the competitiveness of the battle between themselves and Waterford for the title justified its running. “We both had 20 under for the Scotch Foursomes on Saturday which is decent shooting for any county. They came back at us in the Singles and we really had to dig in our heels on the back nine to win. It was great to play with themselves Carlow and Longford over the weekend and it was certainly played in the right spirit,” he said. Declan put Clare’s win down to their strong doubles play and said the dedication shown by the players to the Clare team in recent years. “We’ve often gone home very disappointed in the car from these events but we will certainly try and make the most out of this in trying to promote the game in the county. We’re a small county with a small pick of players but they put in the same effort as other counties do in running trials and hopefully this will be a good springboard to trying to get more players interested in getting onto the team,” the team captain said.


            It was a great year for team member Marty Fawl who had represented Ireland earlier on in the year in the International Challenge with Catalonia and Declan said the team are already contemplating the defence of their title in 2015. “Douglas is a tough course but hopefully the same counties and some more as well will be back next year and we can have as good as a battle as we did here in Tullamore this weekend.”


A selection of photos from the weekend is also now available on the PPUI’s Flickr Page at the following link  https://www.flickr.com/photos/ppui/sets/72157647054508286/ Tomorrow we will have a short statistical analysis of proceedings from John Manning.