Castle's seniors keep club's double cup dream alive
The dream of a national double remains alive for Castle golf club following their thrilling AIG Senior Cup semi-final victory over Ulster champions Shandon Park at Carton House yesterday.
On Friday the Castle's Junior Cup team carved out an historic first win in that competition, and today it's do or die for the Senior Cup side which plays County Sligo in the final.
Leinster interprovincial Daniel Holland, who clinched the 3-2 win by downing Shandon Park's Jonathan Gourley in the last match left out on the course, has featured in GUI championships this year as West of Ireland runner-up and a South of Ireland semi-finalist.
Holland, 26, viewed those performances as a bonus, given that he was completing a masters degree this summer, but left no doubt as to the significance of a Senior Cup win for Castle.
He played on the 2012 team which won the blue riband of Irish golf for the first time, and said; "There's a much bigger dream now. We've got the Junior Cup so we can have one massive day for the club tomorrow. We just have to perform."
Shandon Park, as expected, proved themselves formidable opposition.
Jonny Taylor had a 3&2 win over Castle's Peter McKeever, and veteran Philip Purdy, a member of Shandon's 1991 Senior Cup-winning panel, ground out a one-hole result against Robert Moran.
On the plus side for the Dublin club, Castle stalwart Jim Mulready, who was a reserve when the club broke their Senior Cup hoodoo in 2012, defeated former international Nicky Grant 3&2.
Irish Close title holder Alex Gleeson called on every ounce of his class to dig himself out of the ashes of potential defeat against Stuart Bleakley, the 2014 South of Ireland champion.
Two down after 14, Gleeson won the last four holes, including holing a 35-foot putt for birdie on the 16th, to snatch a crucial point.
County Sligo include Carlow-born Mark Morrissey and Declan Reidy, the only two members of the side who played in their 2013 Senior Cup success, in their team to face Castle today.
The Sligo men looked impressive in seeing off Cork's Monkstown by 3.5 to 1.5.
Morrissey, 27, who will play European Tour Q-School next week, was a 4&3 winner over Eoghan Long.
TJ Ford and David Brady were the other County Sligo point scorers, while Ruairi O'Connor delivered the half point.
Ford, 19, a son of Rosses Point Senior Cup and Barton Shield winner Tom Ford, is enjoying his first Senior Cup campaign.
A Connacht Rugby under-19 performer, Ford is making golf his priority for now. "I'll see how it goes in the future, but I am happy playing the golf at the minute," he said.
Meanwhile, Nenagh GC captured the Pierce Purcell Shield for the fourth time in the club's history. The Tipp club had a comprehensive 4-1 winning result over Castlebar in the final.
Three of the Nenagh pairings - Patrick Kennedy/Padraig Hackett; Bernard Hackett/Pat J Hogan; and David Hickey/Matthew O'Gara - won their matches 5&4, and the other two matches were halved.
Nenagh team captain Tony McCann said: "It's a great honour to win an All-Ireland title. We're very proud of our team and the effort they put in over the last five or six months since we started out in Roscrea."
Athenry and Cill Dara defeated Fortwilliam and Muskerry respectively to reach today's Jimmy Bruen Shield final.