All-Ireland pennants are very hard to come by so Charleville were overjoyed when they claimed their second win in the AIG Pierce Purcell Shield since 2006 with a heart-stopping 3-2 over Castlebar at a wet and windy Westport.
It all came down to the match three where Paddy O’Kelly and Ciaran Herlihy beat John Quigley and Carl Rose on the 19th to seal a hard-fought victory.
“It’s not good for the heart, I swear to God,” gasped Charleville manager Anthony Fitzgerald after the Cork club made it a ninth successive success for Munster clubs in the event. It was a very tough match, a very tight match — commiserations to Castlebar. For my own team and supporters, I’m thrilled. We’re just absolutely over the moon.”
While Ollie Kennedy and Stephen Twomey fell in the top match, Danny Deady and Trevor Barry won 3&1 in the second. Defeat for John Collins and Donal Deady was not definitive, and when John O’Keeffe and Ger Mullane won by one hole, O’Kelly and Herlihy sealed the deal in extra time.
We’re a small club. We’re a club that was going very well a few years ago, but the recession hit us. We’re coming back bit by bit and days like today make everything a little bit easier.
Green pennants are cherished, especially by smaller clubs, so tears were shed after Tandragee won the AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield and their first All Ireland title in sensational fashion when they nipped The Island’s comeback in the bud with a birdie three at the 19th.
The Island’s Cillian Hurley made it 2-2 when he chipped in for an eagle two at the 19th to give him and his brother Conor a nail-biting win over Johnny Quinn and Dean Acheson. John Gartland and Conor McGleenon then won the 18th with a gutsy five to take Tandragee’s Jeff Forde and Aidan Place into extra holes in the decisive fifth match.
But Place hit a 74-yard, 54-degree wedge to three feet behind the hole and after Gartland’s 30-foot birdie chance finished inches short, Forde nervelessly slotted home the winning putt.
“It was one of those ones,” Forde said of his testing putt. “I had a couple in the build up to the tournament and got a little bit of practice. Then I had a few lessons, and it all paid off in the end.
“This means absolutely everything to the club. We have never won a green pennant before. Hopefully next weekend in Castle Dargan, our Juniors can go on and win the second one for us.”
Team captain Brian Fyffe said: “We are 100 years old next year and it was fitting that Jeff holed the winning putt. It was his third All Ireland final, and I played with him in Royal Tara in 2013.
“I had to put the team in quickly last night, and in the back of my mind, I said I think I’ll put him out last. He’s a good friend and his heart is in Tandragee Golf Club in every way.”