The Kerry club will face Leinster pennant holders Grange in today’s final, which gets under way at 10.45am.
They have Adrian Walsh to thank after he saw off Loughrea’s David Byrnes at the second extra hole to secure a 3.5 to 1.5 victory over the Connacht champions.
Walsh, who was a member of Ballybunion’s Jimmy Bruen Shield All-Ireland win at the same Kildare venue two years ago, two-putted for par at the 20th hole to nudge his side into today’s decider.
He is one of four team members to already have All Ireland winners’ medals with Ronan Cross and Brian Slattery among his colleagues to gain 2015 Bruen glory, while Frank Geary Jr is gunning for a second Junior Cup success in five years following the 2013 victory at Royal Tara.
The prospect of winning another one, however, has not lessened the ambition.
“It’d be unreal,” said Walsh. “We won the Bruen two years ago, I don’t think there are too many people in the club with two All-Irelands so it would be nice to bring home one, especially in the Junior Cup because you’re on your own; in Bruen you have a partner with you the whole time.
“It would be a sweet one to bring home the Junior Cup.”
Walsh was one of three winners for Ballybunion in yesterday’s rain, with Philip Byrne getting his team up and running with a 2-up defeat of Padraig Hynes in the opening match.
Evan O’Doherty levelled matters with a 3&1 win over Geary before Cross put the Kerrymen in the drivers’ seat with a 4&3 victory over Paddy McMahon, leaving Walsh to seal the victory and looking forward to today’s final despite the added exertion.
“I’ll be ready to go again, roaring to go. Sure it can only give me confidence when you go down 20th and come out the right side of the match, so I’m raring to go.”
Today’s play at Carton House gets under way at 8am with the first of the AIG Pierce Purcell Shield semi-finals as Kildare’s own Royal Curragh fly the flag for Leinster against Ulster’s Moyola Park before Munster champions Thurles meet Connacht pennant holders Portumna.
Philip Byrne bt Padraig Hynes 2 holes; Frank Geary Jnr. lost to Evan O’Doherty 3/1; Ronan Cross bt Paddy McMahon 4/3; Adrian Walsh bt David Byrnes 20th; Brian Slattery halved with Brendan Dunne.
Kevin O’Meara bt Ben Brennan 2/1; Paul McNiff lost to Luke O’Sullivan 3/2; Graham McDonnell halved with James Millar; Niall McCormick bt David Fleming 2/1; Jack Ward bt Jamie Thompson 7/6.
P Byrne v K O’Meara; F Geary Jnr v P McNiff; R Cross v G McDonnell; A Walsh v N McCormick; B Slattery v J Ward.
Michael Cleary & Brendan Mullins v Seamus Graffin & Timothy Steele; Eddie Trant & Jimmy Murphy v Malachy McKee & Stephen Heaney; Anthony Ryan & Thomas Powell v Bernard O’Kane & Gerald Loughlin; Martin Whitty & Bill Geraghty v Conor McKenna & Tony Johnston; Brenny Murphy & Paul Dempsey v Desmond Cleary & Martin McNabb.
Tommy Quigley & Shane Quigley v Dean Cox & Brian Mooney; Stephen Quigley & Martin Fahy v Padric Cahalan & Alan Hayes; John Looby & Gerard Maguire v Dan Hogan & Padraig Hogan; Pat Coote & Sean Sherlock v Enda Quigley & Alan Page; Johnny Nevin & Adrian O’Keefe v Sean McEntee & David Hughes