Galway and Castlebar seal major double for Connacht
Galway put a third successive AIG Barton Shield disappointment behind them to claim the AIG Senior Cup as Castlebar won the AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield and the first pennant in their 107-year history.
After suffering yet another defeat in the elite foursomes event at the hands of Warrenpoint on Thursday, the Connacht champions hauled themselves off the canvas to convincingly beat Limerick 4-1 in blustery conditions over the O'Meara Course at Carton House on Saturday.
Ronan Mullarney, available again for Galway after playing Senior Cup with Maynooth University last year, got up and down from 60 yards for a half at the par-five 17th to clinch the decisive point with a 2 and 1 win over Michael Reddan.
Liam Power (17) sent a youthful Galway side on their way with a 3 and 1 win over Owen O'Brien and after veteran Joe Lyons (45) beat Seán Poucher 4 and 3 and Liam Nolan (17) halved with Ciarán Vaughan, Mullarney sealed Galway's win in style with Luke O'Neill (16) - two up with two to play against Justin Kehoe - called in.
"We wiped the floor with Portrush (in the semi-finals), and we gave Limerick a good beating again today, so we're absolutely thrilled," said ecstatic Galway captain Kieran O'Mahony. "We have a fantastic group of players."
Rendition As Galway and their supporters prepared to celebrate with a rendition of 'The Fields of Athenry', match-winner Mullarney said: "It hasn't really sunk in yet, but it will sink in soon enough when people start dancing on tables later on."
In a memorable day for Connacht golf, Castlebar claimed their first senior pennant with a heart-stopping 3-2 win over Warrenpoint in the AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield final.
Mark Corrigan and Tom Moylett were two up with two to play against Stanley Weir and Eoin Durkin, but despite losing both holes, Corrigan birdied the par-five 19th from eight feet to make it at 2-2.
That left Senator Paddy Burke and Ray Prendergast, one up with one to go against Raymond Duffin and Eamonn Rooney, to clinch the title for the Mayo men.
And when the Ulster champions opened the door by hooking their tee-shot out of bounds, the Castlebar pair made a safe bogey five to claim a two-hole win and the title, two years after they lost to Ballybunion in the decider.
Team captain Shane Quigley, a son of former FAI president Pat Quigley, said: "We just pull together. We believe in each other. We fight to the bitter end.
"We've been knocking on the door, we've been knocking and knocking and knocking. It's great to just get over the line. It's relief."