Tramore win caps week for Munster

Tramore crowned a remarkable week for Munster golf clubs at the AIG Cups and Shields national finals when they claimed the Senior Cup at Carton House.

Tramore win caps week for Munster

The success, dethroning defending champions Co Sligo 3-2 in Saturday’s final, gave the province four of the five Golfing Union of Ireland All-Ireland trophies on offer in their annual festival showpiece and a good shout for a clean sweep after Leinster champions Waterford GC took the Jimmy Bruen Shield with a 3½-1½ victory over West Cork’s Lisselan.

None of that will matter to Tramore, though, as they celebrate a first Senior Cup victory since 1992 following an hard-fought final with the men from Rosses Point, just 24 hours after an equally gripping semi-final encounter with Rosslare.

Alan Thomas certainly felt it was a title thoroughly deserved. For the second day in succession he had got Tramore over the line by the winning the fourth singles match of the day, both of them at the 19th hole.

He had defeated Rosslare’s Paul Murphy on Friday and a day later his extra-hole victim was Steffan O’Hara, the man who had sank the winning point for Co Sligo 12 months earlier at Royal Tara.

“Unbelievable, the proudest moment in my golfing career, without a doubt,” Thomas said.

“It’s brilliant. It’s for us, we’re all good friends. John Mitchell is captain this year and was on the team when we started four or five years ago to try and win an All-Ireland title, so delighted for him and all the lads.”

Ireland international Robin Dawson made amends for his heavy semi-final defeat by getting Tramore up and running with a 2&1 win over Sean Flanagan, then Chris Butler claimed his second win of the finals with a 5&4 defeat of David Brady.

But Sligo responded with wins for Declan Reidy over Paul Flynn and Mark Morrissey over David Kiely, leaving Thomas’s battle with O’Hara as the decisive match.

“I don’t know why it had to come down to me but I’m delighted,” Thomas said. “At 18 we both had five footers and I said to Steffan ‘let’s pick them up and go up 19.

“I missed a putt from 10 feet to go up 19 three years ago against Warrenpoint [in the Barton Shield final] and it’s not nice when you miss a putt and people roar.

“So I didn’t want it to happen to me or him and as it turned out it worked out great for me because I holed a putt on 19 to win.

“I thought I was in trouble to be honest, when I was in the bunker. It’s a nasty yardage, 67 yards out of a bunker, and it was just sitting down a bit.

“But I had been practising the shot with David Kiely two weeks ago in Tramore... so I said to myself, this is what we’ve been doing, let’s get out and do it and luckily enough it just stopped up 10 feet from the hole.”

There was still work to do but Thomas was confident from the moment he read the putt.

“There was a bit of grass halfway to the hole and I said ‘we’ve got to keep right of that and it’s going to be good’. It went past that just right and a foot short of the hole I dropped the putter because I knew it was going in. I actually didn’t even see it go in because I was running away.”

There were further celebrations on both sides of the river Suir on Saturday night as Waterford, a club situated on the Kilkenny side of the river and therefore competing out of Leinster, toasted their first GUI pennant, winners of the Jimmy Bruen Shield.

Cathal Kirby and Eoin Ryan had drawn first blood for Lisselan with their 5&3 defeat of John Phelan and Michael P Wall in the third match before Waterford levelled as Pat Murphy and Gary Dunphy scored a 2&1 win over Leo Hassett and Andrew Whelton.

Lisselan’s Paul Corcoran and Richard Fitton gave hope by fighting back from two holes down after 16 to halve their tie with John Hale and Paul Mackey but it would not be enough to turn the tide.

Chris Hoban and Barry Griffin won 4&2 over Donnchadh Crowley and Richard Fleming, leaving Val Carey to putt for victory, he and Richard Gaule beating Raymond Hayes and Paschal Hayes 2&1.

“Marvellous,” said Waterford GC club captain Michael Dollard. “We’ve been trying for a long time, got close a number of occasions, semi-finals, this is fabulous.”

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