Connacht Cups and Shields

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Connacht GUI Inter-Club Matches

All seven National Inter-Club Competitions have completed their Zone sections in Connacht with the National 4-Ball event already decided with Portumna being crowned Provincial Champions after defeating Ballinrobe on a 6.5 / 3.5 scoreline. It’s been some year for Portumna having reached 6 out of the 7 Provincial Semi-Finals with the Pierce Purcell being their only non-qualifier.

Senior Cup

Portumna led the Qualifiers at the Senior Cup at a beautifully presented Athenry when their combined best 4 cards were just + 8. Galway Bay were second on + 9 and surprisingly last years All Ireland winners Galway and hot favourites to win out Connacht could only manage third on + 12. Co Sligo will take on Portumna in the first Semi-Final having completed the qualifying on + 15. The major surprise here was the non-qualification of the host club who missed the cut by just two shots. Galway Bay and Galway GC semi-final will be a repeat of last year’s epic Connacht Final when Galway only prevailed on the third extra tie hole with young Liam Power getting the better of the unfortunate Jack Touhy. No doubt Eddie McCormack and his charges will be looking for revenge in Roscommon.

Below are a few images of Athenry Golf Club in all it’s splendour.

Barton Shield

In the Barton Shield, last years All Ireland Runners Up Galway finished second by two shots to Co Sligo who led the Qualifying in Westport on a scoreline of 149. Portumna finished third on 155 and will now take on Galway. The fourth qualifier was Athenry on 158 and they will now take on Co. Sligo for a place in the Connacht Final. The Major upset here was the failure of last year’s runners-up Galway Bay to progress. Many will remember the brilliant battle they had with their neighbours Galway GC only losing out on the 19th to a birdie by Galway pairing Ronan Mullarney & Liam Power. Galway will be going for a
fourth in a row BS but not no doubt Portumna, Sligo, and Athenry will not make it easy for the Tribesmen.

Like Athenry, Westport was presented beautifully for the the Barton Shield qualifiers. I stunning location that really deserves to more exposure. Well done to all concerned.

 

Junior Cup

The Junior Cup again features Portumna and they are by a distance the hot favourites to advance to the All Irelands in Thurles in October. They play Carrick on Shannon in the first semi-final who surprisingly got past Co Sligo but this writer feels that Portumna will have too much in hand. Portumna best 4 cards in qualifying were 302, their Leitrim opponents were 339!!!! Roscommon (310) will likewise be fancied to get past Ballinrobe (334) in the other semi-final. Some
interesting names in the Roscommon line up in Greally Jnr, Connaughton, O’Connor, and the ageless Brian Feely. Expect to see a great final here between Portumna and Roscommon.

Jimmy Bruen

The Jimmy Bruen throws up a repeat of the Junior Cup with the again fancied Portumna, taking on Carrick on Shannon in the first semi-final. The victors will face the winners of last years All Ireland Castlebar and the Damien Coyne led Tuam side that took out the fancied Galway Bay team in their Zone Final. Castlebar will be “gung ho” to put back to back wins here but my information tells me that Tuam are ready and waiting!!! Should be a great battle between 4 very well prepared teams.

Pierce Purcell

Pierce Purcell always generates the most excitement and this year will be no different. Cregmore Park will contest a Connacht Final for the first time and they are looking forward with great anticipation to their duel with Ballinrobe. Declan McGrath has the lads on rations and last man leaving Cregmore on August 11th is to turn off the lights!!!! Surprisingly Athlone’s only appearance in the Connacht Finals is in the other Semi-Final where they will take on Tubbercurry.

Mixed Foursomes

The Mixed Foursomes takes place the weekend after next in Claremorris where previous All Ireland winners Oughterard will take on Westport and Tubbercurry will have to match up to the in-form Portumna. Under the guidance of Jerry Gore, I expect Oughterard to advance to the National Finals where they have succeeded in the past.

That’s it for this week but spare a thought for all the Branch and GUI officials who make all these events happen and run so smoothly. They are doing a thankless job and it’s always done with courtesy and a smile. I had the good fortune recently to have competed at the Connacht Seniors at the magnificent Strandhill Links. It was a brilliantly run event under the direction of Jim Mooney and his great team. Spotters on the course included Past President of the GUI and one of life’s true gentlemen, Tommy
Basquille. What commitment!!!

PS Play Strandhill. It’s the most fun you will have on a Golf Course !!!
Thanks to all concerned.

Till next week, Kieran O’Mahony

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