Of the 15 Kerry players who started out at the Munster Matchplay Finals in both Bishopstown and St Annes in Cork last Saturday only one player made it through to Sunday’s semi-final stage, that being Listowel’s Ger Guerin in the Intermediate Men’s grade.
On Saturday in St Annes, Guerin defeated Tipperary’s Ken Hayes in Round 1 3&2, Limerick’s Mike O’Donnell 6&5 in the last 16 while he was a 5&4 winner over another Tipperary player, Bobby O’Donnell, in the quarter-finals to make it through to Sunday’s semi-finals, which switched to the Bishopstown course.
Guerin faced Darren O’Leary from St Annes, who had defeated Deerpark’s Erin Moloney in the quarter-finals the previous day by 5&4. The Listowel man was within one hole after the first 18 and two down with nine to play, but O’Leary grew stronger in the closing stages to go on and record a 5&3 win before going on to win the title outright afterwards. Guerin and Moloney were two of only four Kerry players to make it through to the quarter-finals as Deerpark’s Damien Fleming and Tralee’s Michael Conway were defeated at that stage in the senior grade.
Fleming had won an all Kerry last 16 encounter with Tralee’s Alan Hobbart 2&1 before he was defeated at the last hole by eventual tournament runner-up Declan Freeman of Fermoy. Conway had claimed a narrow win over Eoin Keating from Douglas in the last 16 but he lost out to Keating’s club-mate Rob O’Donoghue in the quarter-finals by 4&2.
The two ‘Tralee v Listowel’ encounters in the Men’s Senior Round 1 ended in a 1-1 draw between the clubs in terms of match winners. Jamie Blake defeated Jake Shine 1 up while it went to the third play-off hole between Ryan Allman and Tony Blake before Allman won at the 39th hole. Both Blake and Allman bowed out in the last 16.
All three of Kerry’s Junior players failed to make it past the first round. Listowel’s Dylan Sweeney conceded a walkover to Hillview’s Sean O’Connor, Michael Creagh was defeated by eventual runner-up Dean Lonergan from Cork while Listowel’s Tom Kelly was defeated by Bishopstown’s Steve Austin.
Next Sunday sees Deerpark host their Scratch Cup events as the club are reverting back to 54 holes for the three men’s grades for the first time since 2017. Anyone still looking to enter is asked to contact Sean Kelly from the club in regards to their timesheet for the day.