Bruen glory for ‘nine-hole club on the side of the road’

Lisselan, the picturesque little nine-hole club just outside of Clonakilty, savoured a little piece of national success in 2010 when they reached the final of the Irish Mixed Foursomes Championship at Castlerock.

Bruen glory for ‘nine-hole club on the side of the road’

Defeat on that occasion only spurred them on to greater things which they duly accomplished in a welter of excitement at Faithlegg yesterday when they defeated Tralee in the Munster final of the Jimmy Bruen Shield, They now go on to the All-Ireland finals to be played at Carton House in September.

A superb weekend of golf at the lovely Co. Waterford venue also ended in success for another nine-hole club, Spanish Point from West Clare, who retained the Pierce Purcell Shield — although they went down in yesterday’s semi-final of the Bruen Shield against Lisselan.

The West Cork side demonstrated what they were capable of in holding off such powerful opposition by the narrowest of margins and so they went into the afternoon decider against Tralee full of confidence.

This appeared to be well placed when Leo Hassett and Andrew Whelton won the top match against Kevin Lucey and Michael O’Halloran, before the pendulum swung in Tralee’s favour when Michael J Sheehy and John Daly levelled matters against Pat Coughlan and Barry Hayes.

It was nip and tuck once again when a big Lisselan win at the bottom of the order for Donncha Crowley and Richard Fleming over Tim Leahy and David Sheehy was cancelled out by a 19th-hole success for the Kerry club by Claude O’Connor and Alan Kelly over Paul Corcoran and Richard Fitton.

The outcome was finally decided in Lisselan’s favour in dramatic fashion when Eoin Ryan and Cathal Kirby came through a thrilling encounter against Rory Hill and Alan O’Connor at the third tie hole.

The standard of golf was commendably high throughout with teenager Hill, whose handicap has dropped to two since the campaign began, and O’Connor, finally having to give best at the par-three 21st to a very steady Lisselan partnership.

“You can only imagine how excited we are,” said Lisselan team captain Fergal Keohane.

“For a nine-hole club on the side of the road with less than 200 members to take on some of the biggest clubs in Munster and come out on top is massive for us. But it’s not really a major surprise to those who know what these guys are capable of. We have been working towards this for the past 12 months and we now go forward to represent Munster with a great deal of pride and quiet confidence.”

The weekend got off to the ideal start for Spanish Point on Saturday when they comfortably kept alive their hopes of retaining the Pierce Purcell Shield with facile wins over Killarney and Thurles.

There was an element of competition in the clash with Killarney when Alan Sexton and Mervin Hehir were brought all the way to the 18th by Tom Gallivan and Eamonn Curtin, but otherwise it was a walk in the park for the West Clare club.

Each of the last three matches in the decider against Thurles finished in their favour on the 14th green and on the evidence of this form they look to be well capable of retaining the All-Ireland title they captured for the first time at Royal Tara last year.

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