KIERAN Dunscombe, from St Anne’s club, has been a hugely competitive force on the pitch and putt scene ever since he was a two-time National Juvenile Strokeplay runner-up.
As far back as 2002, John Walsh had this to say after he won the National Matchplay. “Before each match, I reminded myself that just to qualify out of Cork, I’d beaten John Cahill, Kieran Dunscombe, and Liam O’Brien — true champions all. After that, I felt I could beat anyone.”
The Cork 1999 juvenile team (Keith Crowley, Aaron O’Callaghan, Robert O’Donoghue, Kieran Dunscombe, Jerry O’Donovan) earned a civic reception in recognition of their feat of clinching a fourth National Juvenile Inter-County in a row.
That feat was performed at Navan and a year later at Fermoy, Kieran joined Keith Crowley, Michael Quirke, Michael O’Donoghue, and Jerry O’Donovan in a Cork total of 57 under par 375 that clinched a nap hand of titles.
At Navan in 1999, Kieran set a superb clubhouse target of 94 and looked set to clinch the National Boys’ Strokeplay championship, but holder Barry O’Neill (Waterford Crystal), birdied seven of the last nine holes for 93. O’Neill thus took the title for the third successive year.
Joint leader on 43 after the opening round with Jason McNamara of the Hillview in the 2000 National Boys’ Strokeplay at Fermoy, Kieran scored 47 for the second 18 to finish second to McNamara’s 88.
In the Millennium year Cork Juvenile Strokeplay Championship at Pfizer, Dunscombe came out on top with 95, three strokes clear of Aaron O’Callaghan (Douglas).
The double was complete when Dunscombe beat Michael Quirke (Douglas) by one hole in the 2000 Cork Juvenile Matchplay final at Douglas.
Kieran won his Cork Gent’s Strokeplay Championship title at St Anne’s in 2012, beating John Walsh in a play-off after a tie on 91. That made him the first juvenile strokeplay champion to go on to be senior champion.
The supreme St Anne’s pitcher has yet to win the Cork County Matchplay, but he does have three runners–up slots.
His closest shave was a 39th hole loss against the great Ray Murphy at St Anne’s in 2006. He had earlier succumbed to Murphy by 3&2 in the 2004 decider at St Stephen’s.
Most recently, St Anne’s clubmate John O’Sullivan proved too strong in the 2015 showdown at St Anne’s.
Dunscombe played so well on his first foray into the rarefied atmosphere of the adult inter-county. By his own admission, his hands were shaking with nerves as he addressed a long putt across the first green at Glenville in 2004. In it went — the first of an incredible 20 twos the debutant would amass in a never-to-be-forgotten 88.
Dunscombe made eight of those birdies in a row — from the sixth through the 13th in an outstanding second round 43 — as he inspired his more experienced colleagues from the lead-off role.
Cork’s remarkable 36-hole tally of 368 was 64 under par and 10 shots clear of host county Dublin.
That was the first of five National Inter-county titles for Dunscombe. He had to wait until 2010 at St Anne’s for his next success, but he was on board for the 2013-15 three-in-a-row, at Hillview, at Tullamore,e and in the rain-shortened triumph at Douglas.
There have also been eight Munster inter-county titles — at Cunnigar in 2003 and 2006, Lakeside in 2004 and 2009, Tramore (2012), St Anne’s (2013), Tipperary Hills (2014), and Lakewood (2015).
Dunscombe led the way with a score of 100 as Cork captured the 1999 Munster Juvenile Inter-county Championship with 410 at ESB, six clear of Tipperary.
Kieran joined St Anne’s clubmates Monica Murphy and Michael Lyons to win the 2001 Munster team event at St Anne’s. The Shanakiel’s side’s tally of 274 proved eight better than The Ranges.
Kieran Dunscombe beat Ray Murphy by 5&4 in the 2009 Munster Matchplay semi-finals at Castleisland only to lose the final by 3&2 to John Walsh.
A two-time National Inter-club winner with St Anne’s, Kieran scored 135 in the 2012 Munster Gents Strokeplay at Rocklodge, to finish third behind Jonathan Goodall (Tralee).
A formidable Scratch Cup competitor, Dunscombe won his first Cork County Senior League title with St Anne’s in 2005 when the Shanakiel men defeated Majestic in the final at Collins. Having missed St Anne’s victory in 2017 during a brief sabbatical in Australia, he returned in 2018 and 2019 and now holds nine league winners’ medals.
Dunscombe was on the Ireland team that contested the 2010 European Team Championship at Lloret. Unbeaten up to the final, with three and a half points from a possible four, Kieran lost his foursomes (partnered by John Walsh) and singles to then World Strokeplay champion Fernando Cano as the Catalans came from behind to win their first European Championship.