Spanish Point seek Munster double

Two years ago, the little nine-hole Spanish Point links in West Clare didn’t have a pennant of any kind.

However, after back-to-back wins in the Munster Towns Cup and victory in the Munster and All-Ireland Pierce Purcell Shields in 2013, they now have four to adorn the clubhouse walls. Now they have now set their sights on a Munster double in the Pierce Purcell and Jimmy Bruen Shields when the provincial finals take place at Faithlegg, Waterford, next weekend.

Having already emerged from the North Munster section, Spanish Point continue their defence of the Purcell Shield against Killarney in Saturday’s semi-final while on Sunday the Bruen Shield panel face a semi-final encounter with West Cork club Lisselan.

Club captain Fergal Hehir, who will be playing at Faithlegg, is understandably proud of Spanish Point’s achievements, all the more so because they have fewer than 200 members.

“It cost us the best part of €10, 000 to fund last year’s Pierce Purcell Shield campaign and, just like then, we are running all sorts of projects to keep costs to a minimum,” he said. “Twelve years ago, we ran a poker classic that raised more than €4,000 and this time we have had quizzes, darts nights, golf scrambles etc while the members man the bar in an attempt to keep overheads as low as possible. There was a major debate at our AGM as to whether we should put out a team in the Jimmy Bruen Shield and it was a very tight vote and now here we are in the Munster finals.”

While Hehir admits “it has been tough going, winning the Pierce Purcell Shield last year was a great experience and a massive shot in the arm for the club”.

And Spanish Point have moved on, with Conor O’Loughlin, Anthony Garrihy, Michael Hehir, Aidan Sexton and Michael Talty among the heroes now firming up the challenge for Bruen Shield honours.

Even then, Hehir, Aidan Sexton, Stephen Guilfoyle and Kevin Hynes are members of both panels at Faithlegg but unsure of being directly involved as they await the decisions of the respective managers, Eoghan O’Loughlin (Bruen) and Mervyn Hehir (Purcell).

Their Bruen semi-finals clash with Lisselan on Sunday promises to be a particularly interesting contest. Lisselan, another nine-hole club located in an especially beautiful part of Clonakilty, was founded in 2004 and is blessed with an enthusiastic membership who have delighted in their team’s Purcell Shields successes over Blarney, Skibbereen, Fernhill and East Cork.

The other semi-final involves Tralee and Waterford Castle while Saturday’s Purcell programme sees Spanish Point defend their crown against Killarney and Thurles take on East Cork.

Faithlegg programme

Saturday: Pierce Purcell Shield semi-finals: Spanish Point v Killarney, 8am; Thurles v East Cork, 8.40am. Final approximately 2pm.

Sunday: Jimmy Bruen Shield semi-finals: Tralee v Waterford Castle, 8am; Spanish Point v Lisselan, 8.40am. Final 2pm.

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