Tuesday 16 January 2018

Youth policy bearing fruit as Douglas gun for glory

AIG Rioad to carton logo
AIG Rioad to carton logo
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Munster champions Douglas will lead the race to succeed Castletroy as All-Ireland champions when the AIG Insurance Junior Cup semi-finals get underway at Carton House next Wednesday.

The Cork club face Ulster's Greenisland in the last four while Connacht's junior cup specialists Westport take on Leinster champions Dundalk.

Douglas have put their faith in youth this season and, on the back of last season's Munster success in the Fred Daly (U-18) Championship, they added another provincial pennant in the Junior Cup.

In the Munster final against Mitchelstown at Dungarvan, Barry O'Sullivan-Geaney was the hero of the hour. The Douglas teenager calmly rolled in a four-foot putt to claim the decisive point.

This year's success is the club's first Munster pennant since 1999, when they went all the way and captured their third All-Ireland title at Royal Portrush.

Although their county footballers failed again in their quest to land that elusive Sam Maguire trophy, Westport Golf Club are still on the quest of an All-Ireland title in 2015.

Two years after a heartbreaking defeat to Ballybunion in the AIG Insurance Junior Cup final at Royal Tara, the Mayo men return to the finals with three of the team from 2013.

Dundalk stand in their way of a return to the All-Ireland final.

Dundalk bridged a 21-year gap when they beat Clontarf to seal the Leinster title. There was an agonising wait in the final for the Louth men as Richard Newell went down 19 in the decisive match.

Newell kept his composure on the first extra hole, finding the green in regulation with a superb approach shot as his opponent faltered at the death.

Newell's 19th-hole victory in the decider was his third win of the weekend as Dundalk came through to take the provincial pennant.

If recent history is anything to go by, the odds are stacked against Dundalk in their quest for an All-Ireland title.

It is more than 10 years since a Leinster club took the green pennant. Not since Lucan in 2004 has the All-Ireland gone east.

Antrim's Greenisland will be hoping to emulate Donaghadee, who were the last side from Ulster to win the Junior Cup in 2012.

Greenisland beat Lurgan in the Ulster final, making amends for their defeat to Warrenpoint in the provincial decider last year.

For Jonathon Grier and his team, success was all the sweeter considering their near-miss in 2014.

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