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Leona still on course but sister Lisa crashes

Leona Maguire hopes to win her second Lancome Irish Women's Close golf title when she takes on Mary Dowling of New Ross in the final at Portstewart today.

A fascinating day's golf yesterday featured hard fought quarter-final and semi-final matches, but the prospect of an all-Maguire final evaporated when defending champion Lisa was beaten in the morning by Maura Diamond in a tight affair.

Diamond, from the Royal Portrush club, won the 15th and 16th holes, and then eagled the 17th to eliminate Lisa in a shock result.

The chance of a Royal Portrush double KO of the feared Maguires evaporated when Leona Maguire, champion in 2008, ousted Charlene Reid by one hole in their last-eight match.

Former champion Karen Delaney (Carlow) lost to Malone's Louise Coffey 4 and 3, while Mary Dowling defeated Co Louth's Jenny Gannon, also by 4 and 3.

In the semi-finals, Leona Maguire beat Coffey 3 and 1, while Dowling gained a 2 and 1 verdict over Maura Diamond.

Now the stage is set for a big test for both players in the decider today.

Dowling, 32, is a current international, and lost in the Close final to Lisa Maguire last year.

Already this year she has won the Cork Scratch Cup, and was runner-up in the Munster championship. The New Ross/Kilkenny player has every incentive to go one better this time, but 16-year-old Leona's track record makes her the favourite to keep the Close title in the Maguire household for another year.

In the Ita Wallace Trophy final, Jessica Carty (Holywood) beat Sarah Helly (Enniscrone) 2up.

Belfast Telegraph