OVER the past two weekend's Limerick Golf Club achieved unprecedented success by being crowned Munster champions in five different, mens’ and ladies’ competitions. First to bring home a trophy was the Barton Shield Foursomes squad. In two extremely tight matches, Limerick's strong nerves and well-honed killer instincts edged out, first Kinsale and then Tralee at Tramore.
In the final, there was just one hole separating the teams with three holes to play. Limerick's second pairing of Justin Kehoe & Owen O’Brien secured a vital half at the 17th to remain 1-down at the same time as Ciaran Vaughan and Michael Reddan, won the 18th to record a three-hole win in their match, leaving Tralee with no way back.
The semi-final was equally tight. Vaughan & Reddan beat Gary Ward & Keith Fitzpatrick by 2 holes; Kehoe & Sean Poucher halved with Cathal Butler & Robbie Walsh.
Limerick's All-Ireland semi-final opponents at Westport on September 20 will be Warrenpoint with Dundalk and Co. Sligo contesting the other semi-final.
In the Senior Cup, team captain Juan Fitzgerald juggled his squad expertly. Seven players contributed points in the four matches played. Limerick's reliable, anchor man, Justin Kehoe, recorded his side's first point early on the 12th green.
Owen O’Brien won a thriller on the 19th, and soon after Ciaran Vaughan was coolness personified when holing a six footer on the 18th green to win his match, giving Limerick their first double at this level for 22-years.
Winning any All-Ireland is a mighty task, let alone a Barton/Senior Cup double but that is what this highly-motivated and tightly-bonded group aims to do. Limerick's next opponent will be Galway, who defeated Limerick in the 2017 All Ireland final. Carton House and Massareene will play in the other semi.
Tramore (Junior Cup), Nenagh (Jimmy Bruen Shield) and Charleville (Pierce Purcell Shield) are the other clubs going forward as Munster champions.
AIG Senior Cup Munster Final: Limerick 4-1 Bandon: Owen O’Brien beat Kieran Hurley at 19th, Ciaran Vaughan beat Dave McCarthy, 1 hole; Patrick Naughton halved with Ger Tobin, called in; Michael O’Kelly halved with Darren O’Donoghue, called in; Justin Kehoe beat Dwayne Twomey, 7&6. Semi-Final: Limerick 3.5-1.5 Thurles: Owen O’Brien lost to Lar Ryan, 2 up, Michael O’Kelly beat Aaron Ryan, 3&1; Ciaran Vaughan beat Evan Long, 3&1, Patrick Naughton beat Paul Ronayne, 2 up; Justin Kehoe halved with Paul Byrne, called in.
Last weekend, at Mitchelstown, Limerick also won the Munster Final of the All-Ireland Fourball Interclub for players of 15-handicap and over (combined limit of 34-strokes) Monkstown provided the opposition.
The Cork club got off to a flyer putting an early point on the board but Limerick were in firm control of three of the other matches, winning them all on the 16th green. Eamonn Grimes and Pat Lee won at No. 1, with Gavin Cross and Gerard Gleeson also winning.
Hugh Conlon and John O’Brien won the fourth match giving Limerick the all-important third point, and the Michael Cashman trophy for the first time. This squad, captained by Paddy Power, will now go on to the All-Ireland finals in Roe Park, County Derry on September 14-15.
Michael Cashman Trophy Results: Eamonn Grimes & Pat Lee beat Ray Barry & Declan Madden, 3&2; Gavin Cross & Gerard Gleeson beat Finbarr Coakley & Stephen Clifford, 3&2: Paul Byrnes & Maurice Hickey halved with Leo Dwyer & Ken Hegarty; Hugh Conlon & John S O’Brien beat Mick McGuire & Martin Stewart, 3&2; Ger Browne & Tom Barry lost to Maurice McGrath & Roy Dennehy, 9&8.
Limerick's ladies teams had an equally productive weekend at Lee Valley by winning the AIG Senior Foursomes (minimum combined handicap of 14, with no shots conceded) and AIG Junior Cup (Handicap range of 9-15; with no shots conceded)
Senior Foursomes Result: Limerick (2½), Killarney (½) - Fiona McGann & Emma Guinane beat Tracey Eakin & M. Geaney, 1-up; Emily Walsh & Heather Fitzgerald halved with D. Prendergast & A. Mulcahy; Orla Barry & Siobhan Conway beat M. Sheehy & C. Carroll, 5 & 4.
Limerick Ladies won the All-Ireland Junior Cup in 2017 at Malone Golf Club and they will be hoping to repeat this success after steam rolling their way through their Munster campaign.
Munster Final Results: Limerick 4, Mitchelstown, 1. Heather Fitzgerald beat Rita O'Brien, 7 & 6; Mary Conlon halved with Siobhan O'Mahony; Siobhan Conway beat Orla Lee, 6 & 5; Ann O'Mahony beat Ann Ladd, 7 & 6; Ailish Dilger halved with Mary Kiely.
The Irish finals of both ladies competitions will be held at Knightsbrook GC in County Meath on September 25-28.
Next Sunday, September 15, Ballykisteen will host its Annual South of Ireland Open Mixed Foursomes. This popular event is the most important of its kind in Munster and it is now in its 22nd year.
Played as an 18-holes strokes competition, it is confined to 64-pairs playing off half the combined handicaps (maximum 18) A shot gun start at midday gives everyone enough time to be at the club prior to 11.30am to sign in.
Those who arrive early will be given complimentary tea or coffee and scones. Entries should be submitted to Marian Riordan (062-32117) before September 13. The entry fee is €50 per pair (including green fees) Ballykisteen is always in pristine condition and is an absolute joy to play.
Nor should we forget to mention that Lahinch ladies retained their Irish Senior Cup title recently by defeating the 2017 champions, Killarney over their home course.