THE mid-term break provided two wins for the Cork golfers, Doneraile won the Junior Home Nations while Jack Murphy won the Connacht Boys.
There was great excitement in Doneraile last week when the club secured its first international title. The juniors won the Junior Home Nations in England. The team qualified for the competition thanks to the Doneraile U19 Girls team finishing second in the All Ireland finals last August. The girls were joined by the Doneraile Boys Fred Daly team to form the team of eight. Brendan O’Sullivan, chairman of the Doneraile Junior Academy was delighted with the success, “It was an outstanding performance over the four days to win the Junior Home Nations.”
“By combining our U19 Girls team of Muireann O’Sullivan (Captain), Niamh O’Sullivan, Anna O’Brien & Caoimhe O’Shaughnessy (Junior Girls Captain 2023) and the Boys Fred Daly team of Ryan Carleton (Captain), Cian O’Brien, Sean Williams and Ben O’Shea, under the management of Anna Cotter and Liam Carleton, we met the entry criteria to compete in the Home Nations Finals.
"The team’s hopes were to quality for the top flight but to go and win it outright was just sensational. Every young golfer’s dream to play for your club and then represent your country had been realised.”
The competition started with two days of Strokeplay qualifying. Doneraile got off to a great start and were second overall after the opening day. Playing on a new course on day two proved challenging but the team finished the Strokeplay phase in third place and qualified for the top section of the playoffs. Doneraile faced Carrickfergus in the championship semi-final and although most matches went to the 17th or 18th, Doneraile won 4.5 to 1.5. That meant they were into the final, facing English favourites Overstone.
The English side took full advantage of a slow start from Doneraile but by the turn the match was back on a level footing and by the time it was over Doneraile had won four of their seven matches to secure the win. And with that the Nigel Dalton Trophy was presented to captains Muireann O’Sullivan and Ryan Carleton.
The champions received a warm welcome back to the Doneraile clubhouse on Friday morning having travelled overnight from Chester.
The team procession was led by piper Philip Cotter and it was a wonderful opportunity for families, members and friends to congratulate the victorious team.
Jack Murphy got his season off to a flying start with another provincial win last week. The Douglas golfer was in Ballinrobe for the Connacht Boys and he came home with the trophy after two impressive under-par rounds.
Fota’s John Doyle led the event after the opening round with Murphy one behind in second place. Murphy got off to a great start in the second round, he birdied his opening hole and added three more birdies before the turn to put himself into the lead. He dropped a few shots coming back but crucially he kept the big numbers off the card. In the end he won by two shots from Ballinasloe’s Charlie Mooney.
Murphy was delighted to pick up the win: “I was quite happy after round one. I struck it nicely and stayed in contention which is crucial as no one can win a tournament on day one but certainly can put themselves out of it.
I definitely felt like I had the chance to go out and win on the second day with how I was striking the ball and how I managed the bad situations on day one, I knew I’d be there or thereabouts coming down the stretch."
The Rochestown College student liked the course and after a solid first round he went out on Friday to chase down the leader. “The course was lovely considering the rain that fell the few days prior to the event. It held up lovely and the greens were rolling extremely well for the time of year. I played the front nine nicely both days especially the second day. Going into the day two shots back gave me a bit of confidence to be aggressive in places and after two holes I knew I was playing well and chances would arise which I took well on the front nine.”
As it happened Doyle struggled on the second day and signed for a five over par 76. Although it took him out of contention he still finished in third place.
Monkstown’s Ronan O’Keeffe recorded his best championship finish, rounds of 74 and 76 saw him finish in 7th place and he’ll be looking forward to more good performances in 2023. Sean Deasy (Douglas) also finished in the top ten thanks to a second round level par round of 73.
Murphy, along with many others, will head to Lee Valley this weekend for the 20th Lee Valley Scratch Cup.