TALENTED youngster Matthew Kelleher was the hero as Fota Island came through a tough battle with Clonakilty to win the Cork final in the AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield.
The final took place in Lee Valley in Sunday and despite the sunshine and fine weather the sun was long gone by the time the match concluded.
It was after 8pm before the match was decided, and although there was failing light and a suggestion from the referee to suspend play, the players in the final match persisted.
It came to 14 year old Matthew Kelleher to tap in for a match winning par on the final green.
With no supporters on site, the texts and whatsapps were flying around to let everyone know that Fota had prevailed to the dismay of the Clonakilty team.
The first match went to Clonakilty with Paul Foley & John Tanner beating Fota’s Evan O’Connell & John Doyle on the 17th.
Soon after the match was levelled when Sam Hogan & Ben O’Connell won for Fota. They also closed out on the 17th, beating Eoin Ryan & Andrew Whelton. Adam Luddy & Paul Hayes had a good outing, they reeled off five birdies in a row at one stage on the way to claiming Fota’s second point with a 5&4 win over James Cullinane & Eoin Ryan.
Soon enough the score was levelled when Jack Cullinane & Paul Corcoran won on the 16th, beating Michael O’Driscoll & Jack Singleton. With the overall score balanced at 2-2, the players and subs focused on the last match.
Fota’s John Howard & Matthew Kelleher were leading against Clonakilty’s Pat Maguire & Richie Fleming, but the West Cork lads made and exciting match of it.
Fota had a chance to win out on the 15th but a putt slipped by, that was followed by a great par from the Clon pair on the 16th and they extended the match to the final hole with a winning par on the 17th.
With Fota one up playing the last, the pressure was on both pairs. 14 year old Matthew Kelleher led the way with a textbook drive and approach that left his ball ten feet from the pin, and crucially it was below the hole.
A solid first putt gave the five handicapper a tap in par and when Clon failed to birdie the hole the match was over.
Fota Island now advance to Killarney to the Munster finals, they face Shannon in less than two weeks time.
This weekend attention turns to Fermoy for the finals of the AIG Junior Cup and Pierce Purcell Shield. East Cork repeated their 2019 win over Bandon in the Cork area final recently and they now face Shannon.
Berehaven are also through from West Munster and they are playing Dungarvan in the second semi-final. East Cork also feature in the Pierce Purcell Shield.
They will take on Kenmare who have come through in West Munster for the first time. Next Sunday Killarney’s Killeen course will host the AIG Senior Cup provincial finals.
Douglas came through their Cork campaign in impressive style and they now face Limerick who qualified from North Munster. Faithlegg and Tralee play in the second semi-final.
The following week Mahony’s Point will host the Jimmy Bruen Shield finals. Fota Island face Shannon and Berehaven are also in action, they will take on 2019 winners Tramore.
There was no joy for Cork golfers in Portumna over the weekend at the Connacht Strokeplay. Paul Buckley and Peter O’Keeffe were placed in the top ten at the halfway stage but they were six strokes off the overnight leader Rowan Lester.
The Cork challenge faded on the second day with none of the five Cork players breaking par. Next up on the calendar is the Irish Mid Am (over 30) which takes place in Nenagh on 3/4 October.
Holder Peter O’Keeffe leads the field as the lowest golfer on a handicap of +4, while Gary O’Flaherty will be hoping to add a third Mid Am title.
Meanwhile a bit further north, James Sugrue starts his Irish Open campaign today.
A late call up for the event, the Mallow amateur returned from the US on Monday morning and headed straight for Ballymena and the Galgorm Castle Resort.
Sugrue’s late call up following comment from former world number one Lee Westwood at the US open. It was after his opening round on Thursday that the issue of the Irish Open came up.
Sugrue’s playing partner expressed surprise the Sugrue was not heading to Galgorm Castle near Ballymena for the rescheduled event.
"He's obviously got a very bright future. Really surprised that nobody's given him an invite for the Irish Open next week. He's the British amateur champion from Ireland, and he's not got an invite to the Irish Open.
"Little bit shocked at that. Maybe should be a late one in there.”
Although it was a quick turn-around for Sugrue and his caddie Conor Dowling, he was delighted to take up the invitation to the Dubai Duty Free sponsored event.
Sugrue has been playing a very limited calendar due to the cancellation of many GUI and European events.
Access to top class tournament golf is exactly what he needs as he continues his preparation for the Masters in November.
The Masters invite is the third major that Sugrue will feature in following his win at the Amateur Championship in Portmarnock last year.