Champions Tramore make light of exits to stay in hunt
Reigning champions Tramore might be without two of last year's All-Ireland winning team but they are not going to give up their AIG Senior Cup crown without a fight.
Irish international Robin Dawson will play with the Maynooth University side this season, where he is a member of the Paddy Harrington Golf Scholarship Programme, while All-Ireland final hero Alan Thomas is with Dungarvan.
Despite those absentees, Tramore got off to a flying start as they eased into the East Area Munster final, where they will face Waterford Castle on Wednesday, July 29.
The champions beat Youghal 4-1 in their opening match and overcame Clonmel by the same margin. A win against Waterford Castle will put them through to their provincial finals weekend, at Dungarvan on August 15/16.
Already through to the Munster semi-finals are last year's beaten finalists Limerick, who edged out Castletroy in the North Munster decider.
Monkstown and Tralee have also booked their places in the last four.
Maynooth University, who have Dawson and East of Ireland champion Stuart Grehan in their ranks, came through the qualifying stages in Leinster, where Rosslare are on course to defend their provincial title.
The Leinster finals weekend is scheduled for The Island on August 15 and Rosslare will meet the Royal Dublin in the quarter-finals.
Portmarnock are up against Edenderry while Co Louth face the students from Maynooth.
Naas, with Jack Hume and Conor O'Rourke in their ranks, will be one of the favourites for the title. They play Dun Laoghaire in the last eight.
The big shock so far in the Senior Cup was Co Sligo's dethroning in Connacht. The four-time All-Ireland champions, who won the Senior Cup as recently as 2013, failed to make it through stroke play qualifying on home turf at Rosses Point.
Galway topped qualifying but it was Athlone who prevailed in the match-play stages as they claimed their first Connacht crown since 2003.
There will be new champions in Ulster as well this year. Banbridge were seven shots outside the qualifying mark at Slieve Russell. The semi-finals take place at Portstewart on August 16, when Knock play Castlerock while Lurgan take on Shandon Park.
AIG Insurance offer GUI/ILGU members exclusive discounted rates on car, home and travel insurance, log on to www.aig.ie/golf or call 1890 405 405 for a quote