“THIS is absolutely massive for the club, I can’t put into words what it means to win.”
That was the emotional reaction of Joe O’Neill, Berehaven’s Jimmy Bruen team captain after they won the Munster Final in Killarney.
The win was Berehaven’s first Cups and Shields win and they now hold a coveted Munster Pennant. The small West Cork club would have been considered an outside chance before the semi-finals, but they came through in style with wins over Tramore and Shannon.
Berehaven, having never won a blue pennant were determined to make the most of their opportunity. Having won already in Killarney in an earlier round, when the West Cork club beat the host club on the final green, they came back to Killarney with confidence.
A good semi-final performance saw the beat a fancied Tramore side and that meant that team captain Joe O’Neill stuck with the semi-final pairings. There was no joy for Fota Island who lost out to Shannon in the second semi-final.
Berehaven got the better of the early exchanges and led through the front nine. As the matches reached the final few holes Brendan O’Driscoll and Seamus Spicer in the third match brought home the first point with a 4&3 win, but Shannon quickly levelled it with a win on the 18th.
David Kelly and Chris Downey added a second point for the Cork side but again Shannon levelled winning the fourth match on the 17th green. With the match at 2-2 all eyes turned to the 15th where Berehaven were four up.
Shannon weren’t prepared to roll over and a birdie on the short par four extended the match. Shannon finally ran out of holes when Lorcan Harrington rolled his eagle putt to less than two feet. That meant a certain birdie for a half and the match was sportingly conceded.
After the unusual sight of fist and elbow bumps replacing the normal celebrations, Berehaven were delighted to take the AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield and the Munster pennant back to West Cork for the first time.
“We had a tight match here in Killarney in an earlier round and we took great experience from it. We definitely had a bit of grit when it came to it,” added O’Neill.
"You can only name 14 in the panel and being honest there was 22 or 23 of us realistically, and it was all nip and tuck. There was nobody there who shouldn’t have been there, we had a very strong panel.
"It’s one of the best teams in the club. I have been playing goes here for 20 years and it’s the best team they are seen. We’re going to take advantage of this and hopefully so something in the All-Irelands.”