It was a weekend of surprises in the Jimmy Bruen Shield as Killlorglin and Kanturk won through to meet in the West Munster Area final, and as I write this, I ask myself how could I get one section so right and the other so wrong in my predictions?
I was spot on at Kanturk where I opted for the hosts to win a final between themselves and Bantry Bay and that is exactly how it turned out but with all due respect to Killorglin, I don't think anybody saw them qualifying from the other section at Ceann Sibeal where there were a number of surprise results.
Beginning in Kanturk on Saturday morning, Killarney beat Ring of Kerry by the odd match in five and Bantry Bay beat Ross by the same margin as I predicted.
In the afternoon I had opted for a Killarney win over Doneraile but the Cork team emerged by four matches to one, as the hosts beat Newcastlewest (3.5 to 1.5) , Waterville beat Glengarriff also by 3.5 to 1.5 and Bantry Bay beat Kenmare 3-2 all again as predicted.
Sunday morning saw Kanturk beat Donerail 3-2 and Bantry Bay beat Waterville 3.5 to 1.5 with Kanturk going on to win the section final by 3.5 to 1.5 thus qualifying them for the area final.
So, I had one result wrong out of nine at Kanturk but what happened at Ceann Sibeal baffled me. Beginning on Saturday morning, Castlegregory beat Beaufort (3.5 to 1.5) as predicted but I had fancied Ballyheigue against Killorglin and the men from the banks of the Laune proved me wrong by winning 3.5 to 1.5.
In the afternoon Tralee beat Castlegregory (4-1) and the host club beat Ardfert (3.5 to 1.5) as predicted, so I was going well with three out of four.
My home club Ballybunion however upset my apple cart and lost to Castleisland (3-2) and Dooks fell to Killorglin (3.5 to 1.5) where had predicted them for a semi-final spot.
On Sunday morning Tralee again scuttled my predictions beating Ceann Sibeal (4-1) on their home turf and Killorglin beat Castleisland (4-1) for an unlikely final pairing and Killorglin emerged victorious from the afternoon's final as unlikely 3-2 winners.
Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely thrilled to see Killorglin coming through as it's usually one of a group of four or five clubs who tend to dominate the Cups & Shields each year. It has to be good for the game of golf in Kerry to see this happening and as a Kerry man, I hope that Killorglin can now go forward and beat Kanturk in the area final which is on either Wednesday or Thursday of next week at a venue yet to be decided at the time of writing.
Just a quick word on "home advantage" before I finish with the Jimmy Bruen Shield. This past weekend there were eight venues used to host the various sections around Munster and from those eight venues four of the host clubs got through with Shannon, Kanturk, Tipperary and Charleville all qualifying on their home courses, so it definitely is a huge advantage but how do you prevent it from happening? It's pointless sending a host club to the other qualifying venue because you could be incurring all kinds of expense, so I guess we'll have to grin and bear it!
The Pierce Purcell Shield get underway on the weekend after next, so I'll have a look at that and bring you my predictions in next week's issue.