Warrenpoint golfers bounce back in Barton Shield Ulster final
Warrenpoint softened the blow of losing in the Ulster deciders of the AIG All-Ireland Senior Cup by bouncing back strongly to win the Ulster pennant in the men's Senior foursomes and now move on to the national semi-finals, at Carton House, next month.
There the northern province representatives will be defending the title and seeking their seventh All-Ireland victory in the top foursomes championship, having retained the Barton Shield in 1988 after their first victory the previous year.
At Moyola Park, the new Ulster winners overcame Belvoir Park in the semi-finals by six holes with Paul Revie and Stephen Coulter posting a four holes win over David Shaw and Scott Jones while Colm Campbell, junior, and Ryan Gribben overcame Marc Norton and Barry Cashman by two holes.
In the other semi-final, Rosapenna squeezed past St Patrick's by the minimum margin as Donal Boyle and Frank Casey, junior, the club's secretary-manager, defeated Barry Fitzsimons and Sean McMahon by five holes. Playing with St Patrick's, a new name at this level of senior golf, was former All-Ireland Senior Football Championship medallist Conor Deegan but even his experience alongside Jack McMahon failed to take the Downpatrick team through. The St Patrick's combination won by four holes but that was just short of forcing a play-off.
Deegan won an All-Ireland Senior Cup medal with Dublin club Castle in 2012 but his chance of a third gold medal is now stalled for, at least, another year.
The final was a much more clearcut match as the Warrenpoint pairs made their point clearly, running out easy six holes Ulster winners. Reavey and Coulter led the way with a four holes victory, while Campbell and Gribben followed up with two holes result against Strabane man Enda Kennedy and Martin McDermott.
It was a big weekend for Warrenpoint as Jamie Fletcher came out of the blue to win the Irish Close Championship, at Galway, which adds problems for Colm Campbell, senior, the non-playing captain of the foursomes Ulster winning side.
“It sure does. It was great for Jamie to win the Close and he now comes back into the reckoning for the Barton Shield but I have told him, Close champion or not, that he will have to fight for his place in the team,” cracks Colm Campbell, senior, the Barton Shield non-playing captain.
“Winning the All-Ireland Shield Ulster final does soften the blow of losing the Senior Cup pennant but we were really after the Senior Cup this year.
“Anyhow, it is great to be back in the nationals finals. Not too many clubs successfully defend a title. We managed that before in this competition and we hope that we can do that again. In the meantime, I will have to sort out the team problem but it is good to have an embarrassment of riches.”
Meanwhile Galgorm Castle has announced a brand-new coaching structure that includes former European Tour player Gareth Maybin.
The headline news is Ballyclare man Gareth Maybin joining the Galgorm coaching staff to coach players of all levels. He will work from his new teaching studio, fitted out with the latest technology.
In Derry, Michael McGeady cruised to a five shots victory in the two-day PGA €15,000 Walled City of Derry and Foyle Pro-Am.
The 39-year-old dropped just one shot over 36 holes at the two clubs, finishing at 12-under-par 129.
David Higgins and Damien McGrane, vying for the 2017 Order of Merit award, finished joint second on seven-under, with Steven Quinlan and Irish PGA Champion, Tim Rice, a shot further back.
Ex-PGA Irish Region champion and Irish amateur championship runner-up McGeady laid the groundwork for this latest win with a stunning eight-under-par 62 opening round at City of Derry.