Old guard and newcomers do battle at AIG Ladies Cups and Shields
Brian Keogh reports on this year's finalists
Twenty-five clubs - including eight first-timers - will battle it out for the six coveted green pennants in the AIG Ladies Cups and Shields Finals at Knightsbrook Hotel and Golf Resort from September 25-28.
Castlebar, Limerick, Mullingar and Limerick will be going for double success as the bid for joy in multiple events.
But while Kilmashogue, Rathcore, Dromoland, Castlereagh Hills, Castlerock, New Forest, Tulfarris and Moyola Park will all be making their first appearances in the finals, one golfer will tee it up in Co Meath with lots of big-time experience under her belt.
Eleven-year-old Olivia Costello from Roscommon has already represented Connacht in the Girls Interprovincials (winning two matches) and Roscommon in the All Ireland Finals of the Senior Cup, taking the experienced Nicola Coffey to the 14th.
Now she's all set to help Roscommon in their bid for glory in the AIG Senior Foursomes having won a point in the 3-0 win over Portumna in last weekend's Connacht Final at Gort.
She teamed up with Rosemary O'Brien to beat Vera Smyth and Mary Kelly 5&4 and Roscommon now take on Limerick in the All Ireland quarter-finals with the winners to face Courtown in the semis.
East Leinster champions Woodbrook will take on Massereene following their 2.5-0.5 win over Sutton at The K Club where there was a double success for Newlands at the weekend.
The Dublin club beat Naas 3.5-1.5 in the AIG Junior Cup and Forrest Little in the final of the Junior Foursomes,
In the Junior Cup, they now meet Castlebar for the right to meet Limerick in the semis as Enniscorthy face Co. Armagh in the other.
In the AIG Intermediate Cup, Monkstown will face newly crowned East Leinster champions Corrstown or Mid Leinster champions Mullingar in the semi-finals after Liz Whitaker's heroics at Lee Valley.
She beat Lahinch's Anne Vaughan one-up in the decisive match to secure a nerve-shattering win for the Cork club.
The AIG Junior Foursomes will be tightly contested with Newlands drawn against Portumna following the Galway club's 2-1 win over Enniscrone. The winners will be pitted against Ulster champion Castlereagh Hills, who shocked Belvoir Park 2-1.
Mullingar beat New Ross at Bunclody and now take on Dromoland, who were 2-1 winners over East Cork at Lee Valley, in the other semi-final.
The AIG Minor Cup is always entertaining, and it promises much this year with big guns Tralee taking on Mid-Leinster winner Kilmashogue in the semi-finals.
Castlebar await the winners of the clash between Royal Belfast and New Forest in the other.
As for the AIG Challenge Cup, Co Sligo's Siobhan Flanagan (mother of Irish international Sean Flanagan) won on the 19th to give the Rosses Point club a 3-2 win over Galway Bay at Gort and a semi-final showdown with Tulfarris, who beat Woodenbridge 3.5-1.5.
Ulster champions Moyola Park must get past East Cork, who were convincing winners over Kinsale in Munster, for the right to meet Rathcore in the final.
Rathcore claimed the East Leinster title in style at the Liffeyside 16th at The K Club where Noreen Sheridan jumped for joy after holed the winning putt in a 3-2 win over Black Bush.
All the finalists:
AIG Junior Foursomes: Portumna, Newlands, Mullingar, Dromoland, Castlereagh Hills.
AIG Senior Foursomes: Roscommon, Woodbrook, Courtown, Limerick, Massereene.
AIG Junior Cup: Castlebar, Newlands, Enniscorthy, Limerick, Co. Armagh.
AIG Intermediate Cup: Loughrea, Corrstown, Mullingar, Monkstown, Castlerock.
AIG Minor Cup: Castlebar, Kilmashogue, New Forest, Tralee, Royal Belfast
AIG Challenge Cup: Co. Sligo, Rathcore, Tulfarris, East Cork, Moyola Park.
Ladies Cups & Shields Knightsbrook Golf Club 25-28 September
Wednesday 25 September
11.00 Senior Foursomes Quarter-final: Limerick v Roscommon;
11:30 Intermediate Cup Quarter-final: Corrstown v Mullingar;
12:20 Minor Cup Quarter-final: New Forest v Royal Belfast.
Thursday 26 September
08:00 Intermediate Cup Semi-final: Corrstown/Mullingar v Monkstown
08:40 Senior Foursomes Semi-Final: Limerick/Roscommon v Courtown
09:10 Senior Foursomes Semi-final: Woodbrook v Massereene
09:40 Intermediate Cup Semi-final: Castlerock v Loughrea;
10:20 Minor Cup Semi-final: New Forest/Royal Belfast v Castlebar
11:00 Minor Cup Semi-final: Tralee v Kilmashogue
11:40 Challenge Cup Quarter-final: Moyola Park v East Cork
12:20 Junior Cup Quarter-final: Castlebar v Newlands
13:00-13:20 Junior Foursomes Quarter-final: Newlands v Portumna
Friday 27 September
08:00 Junior Cup Semi-final: Castlebar/Newlands v Limerick
08:40Junior Foursomes Semi-final: Dromoland v Mullingar
09:10 Junior Foursomes Semi-final: Newlands/Portumna v Castlereagh Hills
09:40 Junior Cup Semi-final: Enniscorthy v Co. Armagh
10:20 Challenge Cup Semi-final: Moyola Park/East Cork v Rathcore
11:00 Challenge Cup Semi-final: Co. Sligo v Tulfarris
11:50 Minor Cup Final
12:50 Senior Foursomes Final
13:30 Intermediate Cup Final
Saturday 28 September
10:00 Junior Foursomes Final
10:40 Junior Cup Final
11:30 Challenge Cup Final
(Schedule subject to change)