Cork Golf: Gary O'Flaherty and Kieran McCarthy among the major winners again in 2022

Niall O'Shea reviews the Cork Golf season
Cork Golf: Gary O'Flaherty and Kieran McCarthy among the major winners again in 2022

Gary O'Flaherty (Cork Golf Club) won the Lee Valley Scratch Cup for the fourth time last May. Picture: Niall O'Shea

2022 proved to be another good year for senior cups, with a full schedule of events taking place from April through to September.

There was a familiar winner of the Lee Valley Scratch Cup, Gary O’Flaherty triumphed once again in Lee Valley at the tournament after a great performance of 54 holes. This is O’Flaherty’s fourth title, he has said previously that the course just suited his eye, but to be fair to the Cork Golf Club member he put on a great display of controlled golf over Saturday and Sunday.

O’Flaherty started the opening round with a two-under-par 70, just one shot off the lead which was held by Lee Valley’s Ian Bohane. On Saturday afternoon he followed with a really impressive round of 68 (-4), which left him with an overnight lead of four shots. In the end, he would win by an impressive six strokes as the chasing pack failed to reel him in.

Speaking afterwards, Gary was delighted that the event was back on the calendar after a gap of two years and highlighted how it’s viewed by the players. 

It’s probably one of the premium scratch cups, definitely in Munster and probably in Ireland, and that’s why it gets the great support that it deserves.

While O’Flaherty took his fourth win in Lee Valley, Kieran McCarthy chalked up his fifth win in the Kinsale Scratch Cup, 22 years after his first win. McCarthy has been featuring on the seniors' circuit since 2021 but he proved that he can still beat the young guns.

McCarthy shot a three-under-par round of 69, two shots clear of the chasing field. He got off to a nice start with a birdie on the tricky second hole and he was two under through 8 holes thanks to another birdie on the first par five. The final birdie came on the par three 15th.

On the card it looked like a quiet round of three birdies and 15 pars but McCarthy admitted that there was a bit of scrambling involved in putting together many of the pars. The last happened on the 18th when he knew his playing partner Timmy Broderick was his nearest rival. McCarthy hit the trees short of the green with his second and just about made the putting surface with his third leaving him 25 feet for a birdie.

Kieran made his par and when he saw Broderick’s birdie putt slip by he knew he’d have a good chance of taking home the cup. McCarthy first won the event in 2000, and he also had individual wins in 2014 and in 2020 when he beat John Murphy in a playoff. He also won as part of the Kinsale team in 2007 when it was staged as a four-man team event.

Tim Smyth from sponsors ODG Advisory presents the Kinsale Scratch Cup to Kieran McCarthy who won it for a fifth time. Picture: Niall O'Shea
Tim Smyth from sponsors ODG Advisory presents the Kinsale Scratch Cup to Kieran McCarthy who won it for a fifth time. Picture: Niall O'Shea

There was a first-time winner this year with Cork’s Morgan Cain winning for the first time in the senior ranks. Cain shot a really impressive three under par 67 in the first round to hold a four-shot buffer going into the second round. The afternoon proved a bit tougher for the Cork member and he found himself two over after 11 holes.

He picked up a birdie on the first, his 16th hole of the afternoon. That proved crucial as it meant he finished just one shot ahead of the field which included a fast finishing Peter O’Keeffe. The holder from last year didn’t hand over the title easily. He shot five under in his final nine holes to put the pressure on Cain. The teenager won the Munster Boys last year and his performance in Douglas showed a mature approach to course management, especially around the greens which were very tricky. Clodagh Coughlan won the only ladies scratch cup, she shot level par over 36 holes in Douglas to claim her first title.

NATIONAL TITLE

Peter O’Keeffe missed out on a scratch cup this year, but Douglas man did add a fifth national title to his list of achievements. He won the Irish Mid-Amateur in Blainroe in September. O’Keeffe also had a good run in the British Amateur and reached the final of the South of Ireland. Despite claiming just one win, it was another very impressive season for him.

John Waldron captured the Muskerry Scratch, winning it in dramatic fashion in a play-off that ended on the famous 6th green. After 36 holes there was a tie for the lead with Waldron and Lee Valley’s Jason Galway’s tied on 145 (+3) with the local man winning on the signature hole. Dean O’Riordan was another home course winner, he won the John Whyte Scratch Cup in Fermoy.

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