County Armagh Golf Club have reached the third round of the Senior Cowdy Cup after overcoming the challenge of Downpatrick in what turned out to be a tense encounter.
It hadn't looked like becoming a close-run affair when, on Friday 22 June, a dominant display in Armagh earned Paul Kelly's charges a hefty 27.5-4.5 lead to take into a return leg from which they would need to amass only a further five points to be sure of progression.
County Armagh Golf Club's Senior Cowdy Cup side saw off Downpatrick to reach the third round.
However, given the importance of home advantage in inter-club golf, no team can rest on their laurels after a first leg. And indeed, on a nervy afternoon in Downpatrick two days later, a spirited comeback from the home side was thwarted only when County Armagh eventually gathered up six points to prevail by a scoreline of 33.5-30.5.
As the globe's leading footballing nations fight it out for World Cup pre-eminence in the sprawling stadia of St Petersburg and Rostov, County Armagh's hopefuls took to the battlefields of St Brigid's Well and Rokeby Green in their quest for golfing glory in the Woods, Webster and Connolly Cups.
These events, which were held on Saturday 16 June, give players a rare opportunity to test their scratch mettle against rivals from the same handicap bracket and, once again, all three were kindly sponsored by Abbey Bond Lovis Insurance.
The Woods Silver Salver, which is competed for by 6-9 handicappers, was lifted by Rónan O'Reilly after his two-over-par gross 72. O'Reilly's excellent outing, which comes hot on the heels of his podium placing in the Lonsdale Cup earlier in the month, looked unlikely given a somewhat listless opening, but peaked with three birdies in five holes either side of the turn before a pleasingly par-heavy homeward dander.
Five shots adrift of the winner was another man in form, Neil Linton. A gross 77 of a dozen pars but no birdies perhaps lacked Linton's usual spark, but its admirable steadiness was sufficient to take second spot and maintain his good run.
Woods Cup winner, Rónan O'Reilly, receives his prize from Ken Alderdice of competition sponsor, Abbey Bond Lovis Insurance, and County Armagh Golf Club Captain, Colm Shannon. Also pictured (far left) is runner-up, Neil Linton.
Those in the 10-18 handicap category contest the Webster Cup, and prevailing here was Conor McAneney by virtue of a terrific 78-stroke display. Conor was just four over par on each nine during an accomplished showing that featured nine pars and a birdie at the 4th. The resultant nett 64 means that the Webster Cup champion has taken receipt of a new handicap of 12 in addition to the coveted silverware.
Results - Club Stroke - Sunday 24th June 2018
Sponsored by: Hugh McElvanna - Drapery & Footwear
1st Tommy Mackin nett 65
2nd Robert Patterson nett 66
1st Calum Connell nett 67
2nd Lee Campbell nett 68
1st Winston Rhodie nett 67
2nd Johnny McSorley nett 69 (back 9)
1st Dermot O'Neill nett 73
2nd Fergal McKinney nett 74
Best Gross Shea Smyth gross 71
2nd Gross Philip Kelly gross 73
Prize giving Sunday 1st July @ 6:00pm. All prize winners are requested to attend
Competition Convenor 2018
County Armagh Golf Club's encouraging season on the team matchplay front was enhanced on Sunday 17 June when both our Jimmy Bruen Shield and Barton Shield sides extended their stays in those competitions.
Declan McReynolds named a Jimmy Bruen line-up that was unaltered from their first round defeat of Cloverhill in May and, this time, they made the trip to the neutral venue of Killymoon for a one-off clash with Kilrea.
A rather cagey set of opening exchanges meant that each of the first three matches left the 8th green at all square. However, the County Armagh foursomes pairings of Jonathan McKnight/Stephen Catterall, Shea Brady/Nigel McMahon and John Vernon/Gary McCourt would soon turn up the heat on their opposite numbers.
After their 4-1 defeat of Kilrea, County Armagh's Jimmy Bruen Shield hopefuls will now meet Lurgan in the quarter-final.
Brady/McMahon capped a fine day's work when Nigel sunk a point-notching birdie putt on the 15th, before Vernon/McCourt responded to the disappointment of surrendering an early lead by ripping through their opponents once again and ultimately sealing a 4&2 win. Then, with McKnight/Catterall taking a slender one-hole advantage up the last, Catterall drained a 30-foot raker to finally dispense with their Derry adversaries.
1st Tom Hopper 41 points. (back nine)
2nd James Kelly 41 points.
3rd Kieran Grimley 38 points(back nine)
1st David Spratt (j) 41 points
2nd Philip Devlin 39 points (back nine)
3rd Shea Brady 39 points (back nine)
Prize vouchers will be left for collection in Pro. shop
Few members are more familiar with the surroundings of the County Armagh Golf Club winners' enclosure than Paul Doyle, and the big man added another victory to his collection on 10 June.
In the Sunday Stroke tournament, Paul was firing on all cylinders during a flawless back nine of eight pars and one birdie that backed up his highly respectable 36-shot outward journey. The consequential gross 71 and nett 65 clipped Doyle's handicap back to five and edged out runner-up Paul Donnelly on a break of tie.
Donnelly is enjoying a successful season of his own, and this latest prize-winning display comes hot on the heels of his triumph in last month's Bumblebee Cup. Donnelly has clearly been entirely comfortable with the lower handicap that that red-letter day granted him, and he reduced it still further here with a terrific outing that included six pars.
The 14th Hole at County Armagh: par 4, index 9, Sequoias.
Having bagged fourth position in the Lonsdale Cup eight days previously, Tom Fox was competing at the upper echelons of the leaderboard once again this time out. A tremendous one-over-par front nine culminated in back-to-back birdies and sent Fox to a nett 66 that, although marred by a seven at the 15th, was sufficient to see off all comers in category 1. The best of his challengers was Darren Wilson, who haemorrhaged five shots at the 7th and 8th but was simply superb elsewhere in recording 11 pars, a birdie and, ultimately, a nett 67.
Sunshine. Golf. Beers. Burgers. Saturday 9 June was just about the perfect day for all of the 180 competitors at County Armagh Golf Club, but it was an extra special one for Kevin Ward.
In the Professional's Competition kindly sponsored by full-time club professional and part-time barbecue maestro, Will Carey, a virtuoso performance from Ward saw him carry off the big prize.
Will Carey, sponsor of the recent Professional's Competition at County Armagh Golf Club, is pictured alongside Club Captain, Colm Shannon, and prizewinners (L-R) Lee Campbell, Martin Murphy, Ian Ritchie and Lee Kirrane.
Kevin reached the turn at just five over par having been helped along by pars at the 2nd, 4th and 9th and a bonus birdie at the 6th. And even better would follow on a back nine consisting of another birdie up on Rokeby Green, a handful of momentum-maintaining bogeys and a particularly meritorious run of three pars on the trot from the 15th to 17th. That all added up to a magnificent nett 63 that earned Ward a new handicap of 14 as well as the highest accolade in Will's showpiece event.
June Medal Results - Sunday 17th June 2018
Sponsored by: Johnston's Bakery
1st Keith Stewart nett 63
2nd David Leeman nett 65
1st John Lavery nett 66
2nd Noel Murtagh nett 67
1st Sean McAnenly nett 68
2nd Peter McBride nett 69 (back nine)
1st Peter McParland nett 68
2nd Paul Donnelly nett 69
Best Gross: Shea Smyth gross 71
Presentation of June Medal and prizes will take place on Friday 22nd June @ 6:00pm. All prize winners are requested to attend
Competition Convenor 2018
Woods/Webster/Connolly Results - Saturday 16th June
Sponsored by Abbey Bond Lovis
Woods Cup - 6-9
1st Ronan O'Reilly gross 72
2nd Neil Linton gross 77
Webster Cup - 10-18
1st Conor McAneney gross 78
2nd Kieran Grimley gross 79
Best Nett Conlon Rice nett 67
Connolly Cup - 19 - 28
1st Paul McKeown gross 90
2nd Eamon McCaffrey gross 92
Best Nett Kevin Smyth nett 70
1st Adam Cromwell gross 69
Prize giving is on Friday 22nd June @ 6:00pm. Prize winners are requested to attend
Competition Convenor 2018
1st Kenny Gordon & Sheila Stinson nett 61
2nd Denis Hughes & Sheila Hughes nett 62
3rd John White & Valerie Gordon nett 67
Gross Prize Paul Doyle & Paula McCrory Gross 73
Competitions Committee 2018
County Armagh Golf Club's increasingly impressive Ulster Cup crew recently extended their stay in this year's tournament with what turned out to be a routine third-round dismissal of South Armagh outfit Ashfield.
Marty Daly's charges adopted a no-nonsense approach to the first leg on Sunday 3 June, and the home team were on red-hot form in the searing Cathedral City sunshine. In the construction of a surely insurmountable 6-1 and 24-hole lead, there were home wins for Patrick Brannigan, Paul Corvan, Paul McCurry, Batty McGurgan, Nigel McMahon and Cormac O'Hare, while only a last-hole defeat for skipper Daly prevented a clean sweep.