Clonakilty Golf Club celebrates first Munster Country Clubs victory

The oldest golf competition in Munster is confined to clubs that have fewer than 18 holes.
Clonakilty Golf Club celebrates first Munster Country Clubs victory

Clonakilty Golf Club who won the Munster Country Clubs Cup at Doneraile Golf Club Picture: Niall O'Shea

CLONAKILTY Golf Club captured its first Munster Pennant on Sunday when its team won the final of the Munster Country Clubs.

The oldest gold competition in Munster is confined to clubs that have fewer than 18 holes.

Although the golf course in Clonakilty has been in place since 1994, it was renamed from Lisselan to Clonakilty when the Twomey family bought the estate in 2018. Originally designed as a six-hole course, it was extended to nine holes in 2004. The Twomeys have added another three holes and plans are in place to eventually have a full 18-hole course on the estate.

While Lisselan had won a few Munster titles over the years, it was the first time that the club secured the County Clubs win.

Doneraile was the venue for the finals on Sunday and Clonakilty arrived at the North Cork course having beaten the hosts in their quarter-final match. The nine-hole course was in great condition for the finals and had hosted the Munster West Irish Mixed Foursomes final the previous day. The Sunday-morning semi-finals saw three Cork clubs taking part, but only one would make the final.

Clonakilty had a good win over 2021 finalists Raffeen Creek with Andrew Whelton, Martin Curran, Vinny Foran, Olan Fehily, and Kieran White all winning. In the other semi-final, Glengarriff lost out to a strong Ballyheigue Castle team.

The final was very competitive affair with very little between the two sides after the first loop of nine holes had been completed. Clonakilty secured the first point when Andrew Whelton wrapped up his match on the 13th green.

The final was levelled when Ballyheighue won the third, but club president Kieran While gave Clonakilty the lead soon after that. Denis Harrington added a third point when he closed out his match on 17, but at that point the Kerry side also added two points to level the contest at 3-3.

It all came down to Martin Curran. He had lost the 17th to go one down, but levelled the match on the 18th after a great drive and approach left him with a 25-foot birdie putt.

The putt came up six inches short, but the match was level as Ballyheigue missed the par putt.

It was onto the 19th and the challenging par-four saw both players miss the green. Ballyheigue took four shots to get on the green but missed a seven-footer for birdie.

Curran also took four to get on after a greenside chip didn’t reach the short grass, but crucially he made the bogey putt which sent the title to West Cork for the first time in several years.

Golf Ireland's Dave Prendergast presenting the Munster Country Clubs Cup and Pennant to Clonakilty Captain Vincent Collins and Team Manager Eoin Lyons. Picture: Niall O'Shea
Golf Ireland's Dave Prendergast presenting the Munster Country Clubs Cup and Pennant to Clonakilty Captain Vincent Collins and Team Manager Eoin Lyons. Picture: Niall O'Shea

Team Captain Owen Lyons walked every shot that he could in the semi-final and again in the final. With seven matches on the course it wasn’t easy, but the layout of Doneraile allowed the captain to keep an eye on everyone.

He was delighted with the result, and admitted that with the new handicap limits for the competition the club had a panel of just eight players.

It was a short but positive campaign for the team following a first-round walkover.

“We beat Doneraile here in the quarter-final, the course was in fantastic conditions, for the quarter-final and again here,” he said. “Doneraile were so kind to us the last time, and today they couldn’t have been nicer.

The course played fantastic, it was in great condition.”

Clonakilty club captain Vincent Collins was one of the many supporters following the matches and he was delighted to be presented with the Munster Country Clubs Cup.

“We’ve been competing in this competition for 18 years and it’s the first time winning, so it’s a great honour,” he said.

“I’d like to thank Ballyheighue for giving us a great match, it was touch-and-go all the way around, and I’d like to congratulate our own lads on a fantastic day.”

SENIOR SELECTION

The Irish Men’s Seniors team for the Home Internationals was announced earlier this week and there was no surprise with the inclusion of two Cork golfers.

Castlemartyr’s John O’Brien finished the year in second place on the seniors order of merit after his win in the Connacht Seniors, a second-place finish in the Munster Seniors and he was also a semi-finalist in the Irish Seniors Close.

Karl Bornemann also retains his place on the team. A busy schedule meant that the Douglas golfer competed in just three seniors events, and his semi-final place in the Seniors Close was his best finish.

The Irish team will take on England, Scotland, and Wales in the three-day event. The matches take place from September 13-15 at Pyle & Kenfig Golf Club.

Macroom held their Senior Scratch Cup on Sunday and it was Muskerry’s Ronan Twomey who won. Twomey was the only golfer to break par and finished with a two under par 69.

Cork’s Morgan Cain took second place with 71 and Fermoy’s Dean O’Riordan was third, also shooting a level-par 71. This weekend, Kinsale will host their ladies’ and men’s scratch cups.

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