Comeback king Murray faces huge task against in-form Campbell

Limerick’s Pat Murray overcame a sore shoulder and a stiff neck before coming back from the dead twice in one day to reach today’s semi-finals of the AIG Irish Amateur Close Championship at Seapoint.

Comeback king Murray faces huge task against in-form Campbell

The 42-year old former Close and South of Ireland champion loves nothing better than a scrap. But, having holed a 20 footer for birdie at the 18th to beat Knock’s Colin Fairweather by one hole in the morning, he then come back from two down with four to play to beat Eoin Arthurs with a conceded birdie at the 18th.

He faces an even tougher task today. Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell, winner of the East of Ireland title just last week, is on course for a rare double and Murray stands in his way.

After beating Castlebar’s Declan Loftus 6 and 5, the 27-year old Ulsterman was cruising to victory against Cork’s Gary O’Flaherty but saw his three up lead with four to play reduced to just one hole before he sealed his place in the last four by bravely holing a tricky seven-footer on the final green.

“I know Pat has been about for a long time and he’s an experienced player but if I keep playing the way I am playing I will be hard to beat,” said Campbell.

“My energy levels are pretty good again now and while I can’t think too far ahead, the way I am playing, hopefully I will be lifting another trophy tomorrow afternoon.”

Murray, however, is not perturbed. “I am struggling a bit with my shoulder still and have some tightness in my neck,” he said. “It doesn’t affect me but it’s there. But I’m feeling food and the game is solid so while Colm is a great player and playing well, we’ll have a nice rest tonight and go tomorrow.”

Whoever wins the Murray-Campbell match will be the favourite in the final, with 20-year old former Boys international John Ross Galbraith from Whitehead taking on 27-year old Stackstown left-hander Richard Bridges, who produced a Murray-like comeback in coming back from two down after 14 holes to beat leading qualifier Stuart Grehan of Tullamore by one hole.

As for Galbraith — who was two under in beating Rosslare’s Gary Collins 3annd 1 — he had to dig deep to beat Carton House’s David Carey by the same margin, having seen his five holes lead after nine reduced to just one with four to play.

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