Banbridge are ready to push for Senior glory
Banbridge, combined handicap plus-6, today meet Co Sligo, last year's Barton Shield champions, in a head-to-head shoot-out for the Senior Cup, the showcase prize of Irish club golf.
So far Ulster golfers have celebrated only one gold-medal victory at Shandon Park, courtesy of Warrenpoint, but hopes were high for a Banbridge side with four internationals on board. And Scrabo are only one hurdle shy of a first-time win in the Bruen Shield.
It was mighty Muskerry, the new Junior Cup holders, who stood between Scrabo and a trophy to be presented by Chris Bruen, a son of the former Walker Cup legend and Cork icon, James Bruen.
Like Scrabo, Warrenpoint kept the gallery in suspense. Not Banbridge, however. They had too many aces up their sleeve for Portmarnock, and won in a canter by four games to nil, with one unfinished.
Richard Kilpatrick has been fine-tuning his game at the University of Toledo, but par figures from the East of Ireland champion were good enough for the biggest win of the day (6 and 5).
Richard aims to make the game a career, and heads for St Annes in Lancashire next week with hopes of joining Rory McIlroy on Tour. He has a BSc degree to fall back on, should things not go entirely to plan.
Rory Leonard was at No.1 for Banbridge, and Connor Doran and Jim Carvill good winners, too, in an anchor role.
Warrenpoint's 3-2 defeat of a much-fancied Donabate side was for their first Purcell prize since 1987, the year they won four out of five all-Ireland titles. The Junior Cup is still the only trophy to have eluded them.
This is the centenary year of both Scrabo and Muskerry, and today's Bruen final was an inviting prospect.
Nigel Carson and Regent House lad, Ross Henderson, scrambled the point Scrabo needed to exit Tuam when an exciting match looked like ending in deadlock. Carson's bunker shot to four feet at the last was a peach.
Both clubs are targeting a first-ever Bruen Shield triumph.
Purcell Shield final: Warrenpoint beat Donabate 3-2: Seamus Sands and Damian Flanagan beat M Fearon and C Kirwan 4 and 3; Seamus Colgan and Paul Devlin beat D Robertson and A Kealy one hole; Noel Devine and Anthony Campbell lost to K Bradshaw and B Bowe 5 and 3; Kieran Caldwell and Andrew Ferguson beat D Cullen and P McCrudden 2 and 1; Michael Redmond and M McGivern lost to C Browne and J Dowling 3 and 2.
Senior Cup semi-finals: Banbridge beat Portmarnock 4-nil, with one game unfinished: Rory Leonard beat M Brett 5 and 4; Alastair McCully beat G Lenehan 3 and 2; Richard Kilpatrick beat D Kelleher 6 and 5; Connor Doran beat Adrian Morrow 4 and 3; Jim Carvill two up on Niall Goulding playing 15th. Co Sligo beat Castletroy 3-nil, with two games halved.
Bruen Shield semi-finals: Scrabo beat Tuam 3-nil, with two games unfinished: Tim Bailie and Bill Fulton beat T McHugh and D O'Connor 4 and 3; David Graham and Richard Corry beat J Crisham and O Monaghan 3 and 2; Nigel Carson and Ross Henderson beat S Acton and P Forde one hole; David Thompson and Mark Johnston square with T Farrell and B Flesk playing 18th; Tom Mageean and Glen Thompson all square with P King and T Gohery playing 17th.