Wednesday 16 October 2019

Long wait over for Tandragee

At the heart of it: Jeff Forde sinks the winning putt for Tandragee. Picture by Pat Cashman
At the heart of it: Jeff Forde sinks the winning putt for Tandragee. Picture by Pat Cashman

It went to the first extra hole in the final match but it was worth the wait for Co Armagh club Tandragee as they claimed the AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield and their first green pennant with a 3-2 win over The Island.

The club has enjoyed many proud days as their most famous product, Olivia Mehaffey, has blazed a trail in world golf.

But they were still lacking a coveted All Ireland green pennant and after a few near misses, they clinched it in the shadow of Croagh Patrick on a rainy Mayo afternoon.

In the semi-finals, The Island beat Nenagh 3.5-1.5 as Tandragee ran out 3.5-1.5 winners over Roscommon. And the final was just as close.

After Cillian Hurley chipped in for an eagle two at the 19th to level the scores at 2-2, John Gartland and Conor McGleenon then won the 18th with a gutsy five to take Tandragee's Jeff Forde and Aidan Place into extra holes.

But Place then hit a 74-yard 54-degree wedge to three feet behind the hole and after Gartland's 30 footer finished two inches short, Forde nervelessly slotted home the winning putt for the Ulstermen.

"We are 100 years old next year, and it was fitting that Jeff holed the winning putt," said team captain Brian Fyffe, wiping tears away in the rain. "It was his third All Ireland final, and I played with him in Royal Tara in 2013.

"I had to put the team in quickly last night, and in the back of my mind, I said I think I'll put him out last. He's a good friend and his heart is in Tandragee Golf Club in every way."

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