McNamara keeps dual quest alive
FAMILY fortunes was the real name of the game on day one of the Bulmers GUI Cups and Shields finals at Castlebar Golf Club yesterday.
Brothers, brothers-in-law, fathers and sons and young and old were threaded through the tale of an intriguing day’s action.
And the unique bid by Rory McNamara to win two different competitions with two different clubs is also still alive.
Quite a mix, indeed, and plenty of talking points on a day when Headfort defeated Galway by seven holes and Dunmurry edged out Bandon by one hole in the Barton Shield semi-finals.
Naas and Portumna came through the Irish Junior cup semi-finals at the expense of East Cork and Banbridge respectively, each by 3.5 to 1.5.
Now the stage is set for the Crowe brothers, Darren and Stephen, to feature for Dunmurry in the Barton Shield final today.
Another set of brothers, Ray and Ger Lynch, looked all set to clash in the Junior Cup decider – Ray for Naas and Ger for Portumna – but Ray was omitted for today’s final.
Portumna native Ray is a bank official based in Naas, and he and Ger caddied for each other in their respective Provincial finals. Both lost their matches in the semi-finals yesterday, although their teams got through.
Portumna have another family connection in their team, with John Cleary and his 19-year-old son Sean all set for action today.
For the O’Donovans of Bandon, it was a day of disappointment. Dad Donie (52), who was a member of the club’s only previous Barton Shield Munster win back in 1978, finished on the losing side against Dunmurry.
Son Brendan (22) was due back from The Belfry last night to travel to Castlebar for Bandon’s Senior Cup team, which will play County Sligo in tomorrow’s semi-final. The younger O’Donovan is turning pro as an assistant at Douglas Golf Club and had to attend PGA headquarters for interviews yesterday.
Meanwhile, win or lose today with Headfort in the Barton Shield final, 21- year-old Rory McNamara will be ready to play with County Sligo against Bandon in that Senior Cup semi-final tomorrow.
A dual member of Headfort and the Rosses Point club, McNamara meets GUI criteria for this unusual situation.
The Irish international put the double idea aside to focus on representing Headfort against Galway, and was delighted with the outcome.
Aggregate scores from the two foursomes count towards the result, and both ties ended early once the Meath team had taken a seven-hole lead.
McNamara and 19-year-old Brian Casey were five holes up on Irish international Eddie McCormack and Damien Glynn, while two 18-year-olds, Joe Dillon and Brian Mungovan, contributed a two-hole advantage to the Headfort cause.
“We just got the breaks today and it worked out. We’re a very young team and the lads have no fear. It was great,” said McNamara.
Bandon made Dunmurry fight all the way to the last green before the Ulster champs clinched a one-hole victory. Former South of Ireland champion Darren Crowe and rookie partner, 19-year-old Paddy McGlone, who was playing his first competitive foursomes at this level, halved with Irish seniors international John Carroll and Dwayne Twomey. Then it was up to Stephen Crowe and his brother-in-law Glenn McAuley to do or die against gallant Donie O’Donovan and Kieran Hurley.
The Cork men were in trouble off the tee and all the way to the green while Crowe and McAuley played it text-book – drive to the middle of the fairway by Crowe, rescue club to the edge of the green by McAuley, and then Crowe left his putt dead for the win.