SIX Cork golfers have been named on the national training panels for 2020.
Three golfers have made the national panel while Fionn Hickey and Robbie Walsh made the U18 panel and Zak Collins was named on the U16 panel.
Places on the national senior panel were hard fought with none of the key players from the past 12 months opting to turn professional in advance of the European Tour qualifying school. One of the first on the list must have been James Sugrue, the Amateur champion from Mallow.
Although Sugrue has indicate that he will turn pro during 2020, he remains a central part of the panel and will likely feature in the early season majors including the South African and Spanish Amateur Opens.
Sugrue of course also has the Masters and the US Open to look forward to in 2020, invitations to both events are courtesy of his historic Amateur Championship win in Portmarnock in June.
Peter O’Keeffe retains his place on the panel for the third year on the 16 man squad. O’Keeffe was desperately unlucky not to be selected on the Irish team for the Home Internationals.
Given his form over the summer, and his record in Lahinch it was seen to be a strange omission by many. After opening the season with a win in the Muskerry Scratch Cup in April, he book-ended it nicely by winning the Irish Mid Amateur Championship.
John Murphy is named on the national senior panel for the second year.
Although he had a quiet and often frustrating season, he closed out with an impressive win before returning to college. Murphy along with Kilkenny’s Mark Power will both spend the next six months in the US in their college golf programmes and will be unavailable for selection in the early season 2020 events.
Both have showed great form in the fall series events. Murphy is now in his third year in Louisville and he recorded his first win in the Bearcat invitational in early October.
That saw him rise to 110 in the world rankings, and it was a continuation of his good form that saw him five top tens since he returned to Kentucky after his Mullingar Scratch Cup win in August.
Power too has been in sparkling form for Wake Forest. Power joined the Deacons in August after completing his Leaving Cert in June and the Freshman had a great start with a in at the East Lake Invitational a few weeks ago. Working with coach Aaron O’Callaghan, Power along with Alex Fitzpatrick have helped Wake Forest to move into the top five in the NCAA College rankings.
Muskerry’s Fionn Hickey makes his second appearance on the panel, having being added to the original last from late 2018.
The 17-year-old from Muskerry had a very impressive season in 2019, gaining his first international cap at the Home Internationals in Ashburnham in Wales in August. Along the way in 2019 he clocked up a few wins including the East Cork Senior Scratch Cup and he also won the U17 section at the Irish Boys. He also featured on the Muskerry team that won the Fred Daly Trophy Munster Final in Clonmel in August.
Robbie Walsh from Kinsale is the second Cork member on the U18 panel. He won the Connacht Boys in July and followed that will several notable performances. Mel Deasy misses out on selection for the panel at this stage.
He has been named on the Munster Provincial panel and hopes will be high that he will force his way into contention for and Irish Boys cap in 2020. Zak Collins is named on the U16 panel, another winning Fred Daly Trophy team from Muskerry, this is his f irst time to be named on the panel and he’ll be hoping to capitalise on his selection.
Nine more Cork golfers were named on the provincial coaching panels while a total twenty young golfers were named on the regional panels.
Munster Provincial U18 Panel – Mel Deasy (Lee Valley). Munster Provincial U18 Panel – Eoghan Cassidy (Kinsale), Charlie Flavin (Youghal), James Walsh (Kinsale).
Munster Provincial U14 Panel – Sean Deasy (Lee Valley), John Doyle (Fota Island), Jack Murphy (Douglas), Ronan O’Keeffe (Monkstown), Sean Reddy (Douglas).
Munster U16 Regional Coaching Panel - Christopher Buckley (Youghal), Cuan Deasy (Kinsale), Louis Galvin O’Carroll (Kinsale), Adam Harrington (Cork), Sean Healy (Kinsale), Ciaran Rice (Doneraile).
Munster U14 Regional Coaching Panel - Ayrtan Burke (Kanturk), Shane Collins (Douglas), David Conroy (Mitchelstown), Justin Dennehy (Douglas), Stephen Flynn (Mitchelstown), Jack Hooper (Kanturk), Matthew Kelleher (Fota Island), Ronan Kiely (Kanturk), Tristan Nolan (Mitchelstown), Barry O’Connell (Douglas), Oisin O’Leary (Kanturk), Mark O’Leary (Muskerry), Cormac O’Shea (Newmarket), Gerard Ryan (Kanturk).