Sponsored by Chartis Europe, the national finals get underway at the Cork club, which celebrates its centenary this year, with NUI Maynooth, representing Leinster in the foursomes, taking on Munster champions Doneraile, followed by Ulster’s Banbridge against Connacht champions Galway.
Banbridge will be slight favourites to keep the shield in Ulster after Warrenpoint’s victory last year at Castlerock, but NUI Maynooth, coached by the GUI’s national coach Neil Manchip, have serious ambitions.
Paddy Harrington scholar Conor O’Rourke & NUIM development player Jonathan Yates get their bid up and running against Doneraile’s David Finn and John Hickey before Harrington scholars’ Barry Anderson and Gary Hurley meet Tim O’Mahony and Adam Carey, Doneraile having won the Munster title by beating Shannon and Lee Valley at Kinsale last month.
The second semi-final sees 2003 winners Banbridge face 2007 and 1999 winners Galway. The Ulster men send out 2010 West of Ireland champion Rory Leonard and Colin Wilton against Galway’s Ronan Mullarney and former international Joe Lyons before Banbridge’s Conor Doran and former pro Jim Carvill, who has a previous title with Warrenpoint play Damien Glynn and Eddie McCormack.
Following the Barton Shield semis will be the Junior Cup semi-finals with Munster champions Castletroy facing Ulster winners Donaghadee in best of five singles. The other semi-final pits Connacht’s Athenry against Milltown.
Castletroy’s quintet of David Charlton, JJ McDonnell, Keith Birmingham, Colm Geary and Ronan Murphy will be slight underdogs against Donaghdee’s Andrew Clegg, Stewart Boal, Mark Rea, William McCutcheon and Alan Neill while Athenry are favoured to overcome Dubliners Milltown.
Athenry’s Ian Dunican, Thomas Reaney, Matthew Fahy and Brian Mooney are all retained from the Connacht final victory over Co. Sligo with Sean Glynn added to the team for today’s match with Milltown. The Dubliners lead off with Noel Patterson against Dunican, followed by Dylan O’Reilly, Luke Conlon, Rory O’Gorman and Andrew Stokes.
Tomorrow will see the Pierce Purcell Shield semi-finals get underway with Gort taking on Foyle and Newcastle West facing Royal Dublin, followed by the Jimmy Bruen semis, which have drawn Killymoon against Gold Coast and Waterford against Roscommon.
Friday morning sees the Senior Cup semi-finals tee off with Tramore facing Warrenpoint and Castle meeting 2007 champions Co. Sligo for a place in Saturday’s final, all looking to succeed last year’s champions Portmarnock.