Monkstown Golf Club created history last Friday when they won the AIG Minor Cup, claiming the club’s first ever ladies national title.
The Cork side beat Ulster’s Malone GC 3½-1½ to seal the title, an “incredibly emotional” victory according to Monkstown’s Captain of the Ladies Club, Brenda O’Riain.
“I don’t know whether there was more laughing, cheering, or crying after we won. It was that feeling you get when you come to the end of a long journey with the players and caddies. All the work came together that day in Knightsbrook.”
Nina Kearney won the 18th hole at Knightsbrook Golf Club, Meath to ensure she and her teammates Jane O’Hagan, Sieglinde Murphy, Martina McCarthy, Catherine Rice, and Mary O’Sullivan were crowned champions. To O’Riain, the victory came as no surprise.
We had prepared for this. At the start of the season we got in a nutritionist, sports psychologist, and club professional, Cian McNamara to talk to our teams to outline what you needed to do to get to where we are.
“When our players showed up that night I knew we had the commitment this year. An example of that is three of our players ended up cancelling or shortening their holidays to play during the summer.
“At the start of the season, our manager Geraldine O’Keeffe injured her leg badly but still came out to the matches in her crutches. It was great to have that team spirit and camaraderie within the team.”
With O’Keeffe at the helm, their season began at Skibbereen in April in a match against Fota, the side turned around a huge deficit to win two matches on the 19th hole, a near loss that kept the squad on their toes for the rest of the season.
“We kept referring back to that day, even before the All-Ireland we were reminding ourselves of the belief we showed that day.”
Seven matches and a Munster pennant later, Monkstown faced Gort in the All-Ireland semi-final, a completely different experience to what they faced in the final.
Before the final there was an air of confidence in the side, the prickly nerves from the semi-final were gone and we all had complete belief that we could do it.
Solid 3½-1½ wins in both the semi-final and the final sent Monkstown home with the trophy, a moment O’Riain has been waiting for a long time. “We were working hard at this for four years, since we hosted the ILGU All-Irelands in 2014. Since then, myself, Ada O’Sullivan and our committee strived for our ladies teams to get to All-Ireland standard. And to see our Junior Cup side get to the Munster finals and our minor side to win was truly incredible.
“When we arrived back to the club late Friday night everyone was there to congratulate us and that meant a lot to us. There were huge celebrations and everyone involved was delighted to be a part of our first national title.”