Young Kinsale golf star Walsh can build on breakthrough Connacht title

Young Kinsale golf star Walsh can build on breakthrough Connacht title
Kinsale's Robbie Walsh who won the Connacht Boys in Oughterard last week. Picture: Niall O'Shea

ROBBIE Walsh claimed his first provincial title last week, overturning a three-shot deficit to win the Connacht Boys in Oughterard.

It was a long three days for the Kinsale golfer, he was in contention from the start and held a share of the lead with Galgorm Castle’s Joshua Hill after an opening round of 68. He fell back to second place after round two though when he shot a level par 72 and Hill shot a 69.

With a three-shot lead going into the final round, Hill was favourite to win the title, and after the opening nine it still looked like that. The Kinsale teenager was still three behind at the turn but two mistakes from Hill and a birdie from Walsh on the par five 14th saw the pair tied for the lead on the 16th tee.

Hill went one ahead with a birdie on the 16th, but he closed with two bogies that would put him into second place. Walsh’s birdie on the par three 17th was crucial, it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the 18th tee. Although both golfers bogied the last, Walsh knew he had a cushion and claimed his first provincial title.

Muskerry’s Fionn Hickey carded a final round 69 (-2) to move up to fourth place, that’s another good result after he won the U17 trophy at the Irish Boys last week. Jack Egan (Muskerry) and Keelan McCarthy (Lee Valley) both finished inside the top 20, and Ronan Feerick (Mallow) dropped a few places after a disappointing final round.

This is the first individual win for Walsh, last year he was part of Kinsale’s Jimmy Bruen Shield team who won the Munster and All-Ireland title.

Walsh becomes the latest Cork winner in Connacht.

In 2012 James Sugrue claimed the Connacht Boys while in 2009 it was won by Kieran Lynch. Before that Morgan O’Donovan was successful in 1992.

Next stop for Cork’s top juniors is the Leinster Boys which takes place in Waterford this week.

Several Cork golfers are also in action in the North of Ireland which takes place in Portstewart this week. Normally hosted by Royal Portrush, the venue change came about with the staging of the Open Championship in Portrush next week.

One player who’s not involved this week is James Sugrue, although he will be in Northern Ireland next week.

The Open Championship will be the first of three majors that his will compete in over the next ten months, courtesy of his win at the Amateur Championship in Portmarnock a few weeks ago.

Bandon were the victors in the AIG Senior Cup area final on Sunday, taking advantage of local knowledge on their way to beating Lee Valley.

The weather-delayed event saw the semi-finals deferred from the original weekend to last week, and Bandon and Lee Valley advanced at the expense of Kinsale and Fermoy.

The host were always fancied, with an experienced team that featured several previous winners. Lee Valley had a team that was mixed with experienced campaigners and promising juniors, Keelan McCarthy and Mel Deasy both impressed in earlier rounds and deserved their place in the lineup.

Darren O’Donoghue put the first point on the board for Bandon, he had built up a lead over Mel Deasy by the 12th hole and he closed out the match on the 15th green.

Bandon’s Ger Tobin had a thrilling battle with Jason Galway but the Bandon man prevailed on the 18th, winning a key point for the home side.

The winning point came from Dave McCarthy when he closed out his match with a 4&3 win over Lee Valley’s John O’Neill. Bandon were in a strong position in the other matches, Kieran Hurley was two up on Keelan McCarthy and Dwayne Twomey was all square with Ian Bohane. The West Cork club has a chance to add a second team to the roster for Tramore this evening.

Their Junior Cup team are in action in Muskerry where they take on East Cork in the area final. Bandon came trough from 12 teams in their Lee Valley qualifier while East Cork won their three matches in Castlemartyr to reach the area final.

The final Cups and Shields competition to be decided is the AIG Barton Shield, and sixteen teams will be hoping to book their place for Tramore.

The Senior Cup, Junior Cup and Barton Shield finals all take place in Tramore next month.

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