On Sunday it was the Gent’s turn to take on the Ierne course. Out in the very first group the Intermediates started their quests for glory with CPM’s Gareth Walsh teeing off alongside David Horan of Glenville and Dave Maloney of the Loughlinstown club. It was a blistering start from Gareth as he lead from the very front and literally blew the field apart with a magnificent -9 round of 45. An amazing turnaround as he was the final qualifier in Lucan! This was to be well clear of playing partner David Horan who was to finish on -1. He would be joined by CPM’s Barry Gorey also on -1 with Paddy Gaynor of RGSC also shooting a 53. Loughlinstowns Trevor Ward to battle to a 52 and put himself into second 7 shots behind our leader. The leader though was not stopping and kept producing birdies at the right times, firing a very respectable -3 round for a total of 96 shots on -12 and leave the chasing pack reeling. David Horan would again post a -1 round of 53 to get to -2 and secure 2nd position as Trevor Ward and Barry Gorey fell back with 2nd rounds over par. David Hayden II (Lucan) & Thomas Brady (Portmarnock) would shoot 2nd round 52’s to get to -1 and finish in 3rd & 4th respectively. The Championship though was only about one man, CPM’s Gareth Walsh as he stromed to an impressive victory and an equally impressive speech followed from the young man as the wise words flowed and full of emotion for his club CPM and their struggles of recent times. A truly brilliant winner and one for the future just like the runner up David Horan who came into the adults from a successful juvenile campaign last year and is starting to find his feet in the adult ranks.
The Junior Gents Championships was next on the Sunday morning agenda as 13 men took part. With no qualifying needed it was difficult to predict a winner but Lucan’s Stephen Needham put paid to the idea of an open Championship with a dominating display. Of the early groups to start Alan Doyle also of Lucan would take the early lead at +3 but he would struggle to maintain his position in the 2nd round. Colm O’Droighneain of Glenville along with Erin’s Isle’s David Roy were the only other’s to break the 60 barrier as they were sitting in 3rd & 4th with a round to go. Stephen Needham though took the lead in the penultimate group with a 56 to lie one shot ahead. Colm also fell away to finish in 3rd spot just ahead of Alan Doyle on a countback but David Roy improved his position into 2nd after another solid score under 60 to finish on 116. Coming to the 35th hole, Stephen was well clear with 7 shots to spare and despite a sloppy finish, he would still go on to take the title by a commanding 4 shots on +4. A very good performance from Stephen who is constantly challenging for these titles year in and year out and it was to be a 2nd title for the Lucan club over the weekend following on from Brenda Purcell’s success on Saturday. As the Junior Championship came to a close, the Senior Gents were only getting going as a long day awaited the winner over the 54 hole challenge. Out in the early groups, Gary Healy of Loughlinstown laid down a marker as he went around in a superb 46 on -8. This was not to be matched until the final group, when Tom Ryan of Portmarnock also followed him with a 46. They would lead a tightly bunched field in behind with 13 players within 4 shots of them. Both Gary & Tom though would struggle to break 50 in their 2nd rounds and would be level with each other on -12, they were joined on that total as Fred McMahon of Lucan fired a 46 2nd round. Another player to shoot a 46 2nd round was Darren O’Reilly also of Lucan who added to his earlier 49 to finish one stroke ahead on -13. He would also be joined on that number by 2016 Champion, Junior Smith of RGSC, who put together rounds of 47 & 48 but that was still to be just shy of the lead as JR Crangle from Loughlinstown took over at the top with matching 47’s and a one stroke lead going into the final play-off. The cut was to be -6 with Andy Lowe, Tom O’Reilly & Karl Murphy of Old County making it through with Lucan Duo Chris Gallagher & Paddy Noonan. Of those in the earlier groups in the play-off, Chris Gallagher was steadily putting together a decent round which would eventually lead him to a 4th spot finish and a total of -15. His playing partner Tom Ryan was flying through his front nine and turned onto the back nine in real contention on -17. He could not keep that momentum going though and a couple of mistakes saw him drop back in behind Chris on the back 18’s. Fred McMahon and Darren O’Reilly would also finish on -15 also behind Chris on their final round performances. Early leader Gary Healy battled his way to 3rd spot on -16 with a 2nd successive 50 going with his earlier 46 and in doing so produced his best Dublin Strokeplay performance. The battle was certainly on in the final group as the heat was turned up on JR Crangle by a charging Junior Smith. Junior took a 1 shot lead to the 15th tee but a slack pitch left an opportunity for JR to take advantage and he done so with aplomb with an ace and shooting himself into the lead. Junior safely negotiated his tricky up and down and we moved onto the final 3 holes. Par’s by both on 16 & 17 left JR in prime position going to the 54th and final hole. A decent pitch to the right hand side of the green and around 10ft, gave Junior a glimmer of hope and he very nearly produced a grandstand finish as his ball pitched within inches of the right hand side of the hole before spinning across ending up to the left of the hole leaving the crowd gasping. Knowing that Junior was nearly guaranteed the putt, JR was left with a long putt to claim a first victory in this competition since 2009 and he duly rolled the putt in to his delight and a final total of -19. A fantastic finale to a great weekend of pitch & putt in Ierne. Congratulations to all the winners and a huge thank you to our Sponsors Eamonn Birchall, Paul Griffin of The Drain Doctor and Payzone Ireland.