59-year-old Kevin Byrne was the hero of East Cork’s first ever junior provincial pennant but it was no fault of 14 year-old Gabriel Leacy that Dungarvan went down 3-2 in an exciting contest.
East Cork team captain Francis Maher was loud in his praise for Byrne who won a crunch tie in the semi-final against Doneraile’s Phelim Cotter before he was again involved in the fifth match in the decider against Brian Morrissey of Dungarvan. Eric Walsh also played a major part in the Midleton club’s triumph that now sends them into national semi-final action in Castlebar from September 14-17. Leading the way at number one, Walsh prevailed at the 18th in both his matches as he accounted for Peter Duane of Doneraile in the morning before again getting home on the final green in the decider against Dungarvan’s Paddy Kennedy.
Meanwhile, Kieran O’Brien required only 25 holes to win his two matches. Significantly, East Cork boast a very strong panel of players with Francis Maher in the enviable position of being able to make two changes for the final.
Dungarvan’s outstanding of 14-year-old Gabriel Leacy won all his six matches over the weekend.
Irish Junior Cup semi-finals Munster section Dungarvan 3½ Nenagh 1½ (Dungarvan names first): P. Kennedy bt M. Conway 4&3; G. Leacy bt C. Heffernan 5&3; E. Stack lost to J. Cahill 3&2; B. Morrissey bt M. Corrigan 4&3; M. McGrath halved with T. Scroope.
East Cork 3 Doneraile 2 (East Cork names first): E. Walsh bt P. Duane 1 hole; J. O’Keeffe lost to F. Carey 3&2; S. Burkley lost to T. Deady 5&3; K. Byrne bt P. Cotter 1 hole; K. O’Brien bt J. O’Keeffe 7&6.
Final: East Cork 3 Dungarvan 2 (East Cork names first): Walsh bt Kennedy 1 hole; P. Drake lost to Leacy 4&3; R. Williams lost to Stack 3&2; Byrne bt Morrissey 2&1; O’Brien bt McGrath 6&5.