County Armagh Golf Club enjoyed double delight on the inter-club matchplay front recently, as both the Fred Daly Trophy and Jimmy Bruen Shield squads earned impressive wins in the first rounds of their respective competitions.
The Fred Daly Trophy employs a simple singles format, and an early matchup with Portstewart appeared a tricky proposition for the County Armagh youngsters. However, under the expert guidance of their captain, Jarlath McReynolds, the lads gained a dominant 4-1 advantage over their North Coast counterparts from the home leg on Saturday 12 May. And the boys extended that margin in Portstewart eight days later, when a 3-2 scoreline in their favour put the seal on a convincing 7-3 overall triumph.
The victorious County Armagh panel, who will meet Cairndhu in the second phase, consisted of Calum Connell, Steve Donaghy, Mark Hagan, Simon McGurk, Jamie McKenna, Caolan McReynolds and Joe Rooney.
County Armagh's Fred Daly side set up a meeting with Cairndhu by seeing off Portstewart.
The inability to field a side to compete in the Fred Daly Trophy in each of the last three seasons represented something of a nadir for junior golf at County Armagh. This success is especially poignant, therefore, and owes everything to the enthusiastic approach to junior coaching shown by Will Carey since he took up the reins as Club Professional last year, and the tireless efforts of joint juvenile convenors, Michael Calvert and Jarlath McReynolds. Thankfully, the future now looks bright.
"Twenty-twenty" is a phrase most readily associated with an optician's surgery or the modern-day short form of cricket. However, on 13 May, Gareth Frizell employed a golfing version of the 20/20 formula to scoop top prize in a stableford event at County Armagh Golf Club.
Gareth's winning scorecard showed 20 points on each nine, and his fine 85-stroke offering also ensured a one-shot handicap reduction. Double bogeys at the 3rd and 12th were the only minor blots on Frizell's Sunday copybook, because his steadiness everywhere else enabled him to complete the other 16 holes in 12 bogeys and four pars, the most memorable of which resulted from a chip-in on Oul Coach Road.
County Armagh Golf Club's signature hole: the 11th, par 3, Shambles.
I have decided my charity this year will be the Friends of the Cancer Centre.
Cancer unfortunately touches the lives of many people. Everyone needs friends when times are tough. The Friends of the Cancer Centre is a local charity available when you or your loved ones need it most.
As one of Northern Ireland's leading cancer charities, Friends of the Cancer Centre is dedicated to making a real difference to local cancer patients and their families by providing life – saving and life changing care and support.
The charity's work focuses on three key areas – patient care, patient comfort and research – with each making a direct and positive impact on thousands of lives each year.
Their work in local cancer research allows the charity to fund additional research staff and vital research equipment which allows for the development of new and improved ways to treat cancer.
All their work relies entirely on public support.
On a recent visit to the City Hospital I saw at first hand their good work and decided that they would be my charity.
I hope on my Captain's Day you will be able to make a small donation to this good cause. If you are not playing that day or would like to donate in advance I have set up a just giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/colm-shannon
The Lady Captain will also have her charity and we hope that in some small way you will be able to support both of us.
With the weather showing a belated improvement and the course having dried out considerably as a result, things at County Armagh Golf Club are beginning to look and feel a bit more like one might usually expect for this time of year.
And in the PGA Tankard on Saturday 12 May, Andrew Hayward took full advantage of these more manageable conditions to expertly lead home a field of more than 160 hopefuls.
Hayward was anything but wayward as he kept it very much on the straight and narrow during a front nine that contained a birdie at the second-hardest hole and just 38 strokes. Playing off 15, that gave Andrew a very healthy halfway status and meant that mere solidity coming home should be enough to shoot a decent number; and so it proved.
A double bogey at the 16th was a minor setback that could've led to an irreversible loss of momentum — it's happened to many of us — but Hayward responded in some style, registering two closing pars to crown a terrific 40-point victory in the competition sponsored by Armagh Potato Company Ltd.
PGA Tankard winner, Paul Hayward, receives his prize from County Armagh Golf Club Captain, Colm Shannon. Also pictured are Charlie Johnston from Armagh Potato Company Ltd, competition sponsor, and other prizewinners (L-R): Paul Kelly, Shea Smyth and Eamon Connolly.
A large number of ladies competed on Thursday in warm sunny weather and on a course in magnificent condition with fast greens and run on the ball. At stake were places in the Sinton Cup match play competition which is played annually between the top two competitors in the high and low handicap brackets. In addition to the match play places a selection of prizes, donated by McKinney's Timber, were awarded in a number of categories.
The nett places were secured by Helen Forster, in top spot with a 68, and Alexandra Mawhinney whose 70 secured her the second match play berth.
Helen and Alexandra's opponents in the match play will be Ellen Brady whose gross 84 could not be bettered on the day. Second place will be filled by Paula McCrory who returned a gross 86 .
Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney and sponsor Mrs Cait McKinney with prizewinners in the Sinton Cup qualifiers competition.
The semi-final draw sees Ellen play Helen and Paula play Alexandra. The eventual prize-winner will receive the prestigious Sinton Cup at the annual Ladies Dinner in December. The cup was presented to the club in 1922 by Mr Maynard Sinton.
Cait McKinney, on behalf of McKinney's Timber, presented a selection of gardening related prizes and Lady Captain, Elizabeth thanked Cait and her family for their continued generous support of the Ladies branch.
On Sundays 6 and 13 May, County Armagh's All-Ireland Four-Ball Trophy side secured a comfortable second round conquest over Holywood.
Best of luck to the team for the battles that lie ahead as they aim to emulate last year's run to the tournament's fourth round.
County Armagh Golf Club's Ulster Cup squad have gained passage to the third round of the competition after a thrilling 7.5-6.5 defeat of Portstewart.
Having vanquished Greenisland to bring about this second-round meeting with the North Coast outfit, Marty Daly's charges were greeted on arrival at the Strand Course on Sunday 29 April by delightful sunshine but also a characteristically intimidating coastal breeze that would be sure to play its blowy part.
The County Armagh players were to turn in a sterling first-leg performance, however, as wins for Cormac O'Hare, Paul Corvan and captain Marty ensured that it was a particularly worthwhile seaside jaunt.
That 3-4 halfway scoreline provided the lads with a useful platform on which to complete the job back in the Orchard County a fortnight later, but only a fool would have been counting his Ulster Cup chickens already.
Indeed, in that second leg in Armagh on Sunday 13 May, the visitors got off to the sort of flying start that would have completely banished any complacency even if it had set in. Portstewart put two early points on the board and, given their superior holes advantage and the lead they held in two of the ongoing matches, the bleakness of the County Armagh prospects at this juncture was in stark contrast to the again bright and sunny playing conditions.
Given the arduous scoring conditions in the 2018 qualifying season thus far, any player who beats his handicap by a shot or two has usually had justifiable reason to expect to feature prominently on that tournament's list of prize winners. Although this continued to be true in the Bumblebee Cup on 5 May, there were two significant outliers among the 177 scorecards returned.
In the stroke event sponsored by Victoria Bar Armagh, champion Paul Donnelly and next-placed Paul Pender blitzed the field with exceptional final tallies that made a mockery of the awkward golfing circumstances created by strong winds, tricky pin placements, heavy rough and a course generally playing more than its full length given the lack of run.
Donnelly's nett 61 was as impressive as it was incongruous with the Saturday toils of most of those around him and fully merited the silverware that came along with it.
That said, such glory didn't look to be in the pipeline when Paul struggled to an eight at the opening hole. Indeed, he could also have lived without two more snowmen arriving at the 10th and 12th. However, elsewhere, Donnelly's performance was fantastic, as he left his 1st hole troubles behind him immediately with a level-par six-hole stretch that included birdies at the 3rd and 6th.
Paul Donnelly is presented with the Bumblebee Cup by Nicky Currie from competition sponsor, Victoria Bar Armagh. Also pictured are County Armagh Golf Club Captain, Colm Shannon, and other prizewinners (L-R) Stephen Miller, Dessie Cassidy, Eamon Connolly and Paul Pender.
Four pars would follow for Paul coming home, before a gutsy bogey at the 18th put the seal on a red-letter day that also means a satisfying four-shot handicap reduction.
Long standing and fondly remembered members, Billy and Eedie Parker, whose home bordered the 17 th hole, are honoured annually in the Parker Bowl competition, generously sponsored by their nephew, Arnold Courtney . Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney warmly welcomed Arnold and thanked him for his much appreciated long standing commitment to the Ladies Branch which began in 2007. Following the presentation of prizes including the specially commissioned Parker bowl Arnold explained he was delighted to be able to promote the competition in memory of his aunt and uncle.
Fifty-three ladies competed for the 18-hole competition with a further 10 playing for 9-hole prizes in warm sunshine on the course which has recovered magnificently from the ravages of a long hard winter. The warm dry conditions were reflected in the excellent scoring.
Donna Carolan secured third spot with 36 points, with Ellen Brady taking second place with 40 points. Top spot was secured by the inform Emma Garrigan with a magnificent score of 47 points. Emma joined the club last year via the Get into Golf initiative and has gone from strength to strength during the current season.
Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney, Arnold Courtney sponsor and winner of Parker Bowl Competition Emma Garrigan.
Lila's Fashions were again the loyal sponsors of the first Ladies Open Competition of the year. Eighty-two players including ladies from Aughnacloy, Rossmore, Loughall and two Dublin clubs competed for the much sought-after prize vouchers for use in Lila's. Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney welcomed Pamela Johnston, who represented Lila's Fashions, and reminded the packed club house that this marks the ninth year that the Ladies Branch have been fortunate enough to enjoy the support of the Hawthorne family business
Weather conditions were warm dry and sunny and the course, which has begun to recover from the ravages of prolonged spells of rain and snow in recent months, was in excellent condition. While placing was still in operation, the begginings of a little “run” on the ball and the true roll on the greens may have heralded the arrival of low scores but the punishing rough conditions kept scores in check. No one managed to break par on the day, but 3 players returned 36 points, requiring countback to separate them.
Pamela Johnston, of Lila's, presented the vast array of prizes to the grateful recipients whose details are set out below. The top 5 spaces were secured by Breda Teahon on 34 points in fifth, just behind Teresa McVeigh on the same score but with a better back nine. In third place Ethel Liggett's 36 points was again beaten on countback from Rita Mone who secured second spot . The winner on the day was Cait Hanna who returned 36 points, winning again on countback. The winner is also presented with a cup which was first presented in 1985 by the then Lady Captain Mrs Grace McGowan.
Rita Mone runner up, Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney & Pamela Johnston from Lila's Fashions with prize winners from Spring Open Competition.
Away from the relative glamour and spotlight of tournaments like the Lonsdale Cup, the Captain's Prize and the Gerry Lenagh Open, or any of those with a sponsor's name attached, lies the unheralded competition type that provides the backbone of the County Armagh Golf Club fixture list: the Club Stableford.
Two such bread-and-butter events were held on consecutive Sundays either side of the April-May border yielding victories for Brian McGrady and Dean Chambers, neither of whom will care one jot about the comparatively low-key nature of their triumph. A win's a win.
On 29 April, McGrady prevailed with a splendid 38-point performance that included both birdies at the 2nd and 11th and a spirited back-nine recovery, which was necessitated by a spell of three double bogeys in four holes immediately before the turn that threatened to derail his challenge.
As it was, this pleasing result for Brian brought with it a definite sense of déjà vu given that he last secured a qualifying top spot in another Sunday bout on 23 April 2017. Seemingly, the big 13-handicapper peaks at exactly this time of year.
County Armagh Golf Club's 2nd hole: looking resplendent in sunnier times.
Returning to the present, Stephen Moloney matched the 38-point winning total but finished in the silver-medal placing after losing out on a break of tie, as was always likely due to McGrady's aforementioned homeward heroics.
A strong and bustling 170-man field competed gamely for County Armagh Golf Club's historic Hirsch Cup on 28 April but no one was a match for eventual champion, Patrick Brannigan.
A ragged spell of four dropped shots in as many holes immediately before the turn was Brannigan's only genuine wobble as, elsewhere in the event sponsored by Netstretch Internet Services, he gave his rivals little reason for hope.
A birdie at the 6th was the highlight of a winning round that also featured a streak of four consecutive pars on the way out and another six in a row on the back nine.
The heavy ground and penal rough continues to result in largely conservative scoring across the board, so this was a terrific performance from Patrick.
He would ultimately sign for a terrific nett 66 that, in addition to putting some silverware on the mantelpiece early in the season, returns the Ulster Cup stalwart to single-figure handicap status.
Hirsch Cup winner, Patrick Brannigan, is presented with the trophy by Cormac Knott from Netstretch Internet Services, competition sponsors. Also pictured are County Armagh Golf Club Captain, Colm Shannon, and other prizewinners Shea Smyth, Brian Hughes and Brian Cleland.
The overall runner-up position also had a popular occupant in the shape of Brian Hughes. The former planning officer plotted his way around the course to great effect and finished just one shot back from Brannigan.
Friday 4 th May 2018 2pm shot gun start.
To mark the 125 th anniversary of the founding of Co Armagh Golf Club the Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney in conjunction with the Ladies Committee and Captain Colm Shannon organised a “Vintage” 9-hole Ladies and Gents stableford competition (shotgun start) followed by afternoon tea. The event was kindly sponsored by the Vintage Bar and Lounge Armagh whose generous support covered the cost of the day's festivities.
Competitors were encouraged to dress in “vintage attire” and most Ladies and many Gentlemen went to great lengths to do so. While the vintage hickory shafted clubs donated to the club by Conlon Rice, were taken from their display cabinet, none of the competitors elected to use them. With a little imagination it might have been possible to recall the gentle thwack of persimmon against gutta perchas as the elegantly clad players graced the fairways in bright sunshine.
Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney and Mr Captain Colm Shannon at Vintage 9 hole competition to mark 125th anniversary of CAGC.
Very soon, the wisdom of wearing tweeds, petticoats and elaborate bonnets was called into question as the afternoon warmed up. Enough of the men.
CAGC Ladies branch members competed for the MacMillan Charity Stableford Competition on the 3rd May. The course was in magnificent condition for the annual competition which was again sponsored by Vincent Mone and Son who have been generous sponsors of the competition, and in turn, the charity for many years. Miserable weather conditions in the morning with incessant rain dissuaded many from playing including the sponsor. Those who were in the afternoon draw avoided the showers but did not enjoy the elusive sunshine predicted in the forecast.
Lady Captain Elizabeth welcomed Ann Mone who was Lady Captain in 1984 and thanked her for the spectacular display of Newbridge giftware which the lucky winners would receive. Elizabeth described Ann as someone with a great sense of humour and fun who has been great friend of CAGC.
A full list of category prize-winners is set out below, but the top places were contested between Teresa McVeigh in third place with 32 points, Emma Garrigan in second on 33 and Paula McCrory who secured top spot with 35 points and a one-shot handicap cut for her efforts. Ann in her speech indicated it was a pleasure for her to sponsor the competition as the Mac Millian charity is one particularly close to her heart. She also thanked Elizabeth for the excellent Lady Captain's outing to Roe Park and wished her every success with the Vintage Competition which has been organised by Elizabeth to mark the 125 th anniversary of the founding of the club.
Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney and sponsor Mrs Ann Mone with the prize winners of the MAcMillan Charity Stableford Competition.
Our season is now well and truly underway. The white marker competitions have started, the first Friday evening mixed competition is next week and the weather is starting to improve. No excuse not to be out on the course enjoying your golf.
It has been a challenging winter for the Greens Convenor and his staff. Last weekend there was a noticeable improvement in the speed of the greens. As the weather improves the course and the rough should start to dry out. This weekend the 16 th green will be open and we would ask that you keep buggies and trolleys away from roped off areas.
With all 18 holes now in play the focus over the next few weeks will be on the presentation of the course to ensure it is presented at its best over the summer months.
The first Sunday qualifier of County Armagh Golf Club's 2018 campaign yielded a deserving winner in the shape of stormin' Norman Mallon.
Playing on 22 April, Mallon reached the turn in 44 blows before three pars on the way home enabled him to complete the back nine in the same number.
This was a day when, underfoot, the soft ground was offering little run, and, overhead, there was the customary stiff breeze. So, any decent return would necessarily be hard-earned. Norman's marvellous nett 67 was especially pleasing, therefore, and also seals for him a satisfying one-stroke handicap cut.
County Armagh's 17th Hole: par 4, Fairy Thorn
A single shot back and closest to Mallon in the overall standings was Stephen Catterall on nett 68. Catterall reeled off no fewer than 11 pars amid his high-quality gross 78, and this prolific prize-gatherer has been rendered a single-figure handicapper by virtue of his latest skilful display.
The April Medal is always a much-anticipated item on the County Armagh Golf Club fixture list, signifying as it does the beginning of the fully competitive season.
With the white markers in place for the first time, handicaps subject to fluctuation once more as a result, and the format stroke rather than stableford (the staple of winter golfing exchanges), it was all systems go on Saturday 21 April. Indeed, even the sun made a rare appearance to provide extra gloss to the tournament sponsored by S Millar & Son Painters and Decorators.
And all of the aforementioned conditions seemed to galvanize Adam Cromwell, who clinched the first Medal of 2018. The towering youngster did so in some style too, firing a superb level-par gross 70 on a day when a blustery wind made scoring far from straightforward.
Four birdies, including a purple patch of three in five holes from the 2nd to the 6th, helped Adam to the dominant position of two under par with three to play before a couple of shots were ceded over the notorious closing stretch. It all added up to a peerless nett 65, which means a no doubt welcome handicap clip from five to four and represents an accomplished launch of Cromwell's qualifying campaign.
Adam Cromwell is presented with County Armagh Golf Club's April Medal by Club Captain, Colm Shannon. Also pictured are Andrew Millar (second from left) representing competition sponsors, S Millar & Son Painters and Decorators, and other prizewinners (L-R) Kevin McElvanna, Shea Smyth and Stephen Nugent.
Kevin McElvanna enjoyed a highly promising maiden year at County Armagh Golf Club in 2017, and he looks eager to carry on that good form this term.
While early April usually marks the start of the golfing season with the Augusta Masters, the Ladies of County Armagh Golf Club begin their golfing endeavours in earnest on the last Thursday of April with competition for the Millennium Bowl for golfers in the handicap range of 0-24, and the McCall Shield for golfers in the 25 to 36 handicap bracket.
The Millennium Bowl was donated by the Lady Captain in 2000, Mrs. Cecelia Woods while the McCall Shield was donated by Flo McCall during her captaincy in 2009.
Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney and Anne O'Reilly sponsor with prize winners of the Millennium Bowl and McCall Shield stroke competition
Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney warmly welcomed Anne O'Reilly who presented the prizes on behalf of the sponsors for the event O'Reilly and Fee, Veterinary Surgery and thanked her most sincerely for their extremely generous support. Elizabeth was also delighted to welcome Cecilia Woods and Flo McCall who were the original donors of the trophy and shield.
Forty four ladies from County Armagh Golf Club participated in a most enjoyable Lady Captain's outing to Roe Park Resort and Country Club on Sunday 22 nd and Monday 23 rd of April. The parkland course proved a stern test of golf and the mixed weather conditions added to competition. The Roe Park hotel proved an excellent choice of venue with beautiful food, excellent service and luxurious spa facilities.
Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney had meticulously planned the event and provided a beautiful array of prizes purchased from DevinebyDonna. The winner of first prize Siobhan Donnelly was also the recipient of the inaugural “Green jacket” which was designed and produced by Ita Devenney who unfortunately had been unable to attend the outing
Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney and the prize winners from the LC outing to Roe Park.
Roe Cup -Competition Results:-