Lifeline for Munster as Dunne’s honesty costs Leinster victory

After some controversial incidents on the professional front in recent times, golf’s reputation as a game of honour and self-regulation has come under a little bit of fire.

However, those present at Lee Valley yesterday saw that truth and honesty were very much alive and well when Leinster’s Paul Dunne called an infringement on himself that cost his side victory over Munster on the second day of the Interprovincial Championship, and as a result, left the home province in with a fighting chance of retaining the title.

Dunne was one down to Munster’s Geoff Lenehan when he tapped in a three-foot putt on the 18th that appeared to have given him a halved match and almost certain overall victory for Leinster.

However, he quickly reported to referee Jim Mooney that a blade of grass in the line of his putt that he believed to have been loose was actually growing and according to rule, that cost him the hole and handed a precious point to the home side.

To rub salt into Leinster wounds, Gary O’Flaherty and Pat Murray went on to win the 18th in their respective matches against Jack Hume and Gavin Moynihan and coming on top of Kevin Phelan’s 2&1 defeat of Rory McNamara and a half point for Gary Hurley in the top game against Brian Casey, Munster snatched a 5½-5½ tie.

“It was one of the most sporting things I’ve ever seen on a golf course and Paul Dunne showed himself to be an absolute gentleman in reporting the matter as he did,” said Munster captain Phil Cooney.

“Nobody knew what had happened except Paul himself. As for the result of the overall match, all I can say is that the Escape from Alcatraz comes second to this and lucky and relieved as we all are, we are now in a great position going into the final day against Ulster.” In actual fact, the situation could hardly be tighter with both provinces having a win over Connacht and a share of the spoils with Leinster going into the final day of a championship that has done a lot of good for the image of amateur golf.

That applies equally to the Boys Championship that has run concurrently with the senior event and last night Munster captain Jim Long was just as happy as his senior colleague Phil Cooney.

In truth, underage golf hasn’t exactly prospered in Munster in recent times even if they did capture the Interpro title at Co. Sligo in 2011. However, the future looks extremely bright if yesterday’s decisive defeat of Leinster proves a reliable yardstick.

Having taken a 2-1 lead in the morning foursomes, the home side sparkled in the afternoon, although to add to the tension, four of the six singles went to the 18th.

The recently crowned Irish Boys champion Robin Dawson (Faithlegg) and his Leinster opponent Paul McBride shared the spoils in the top match before Mallow’s James Sugrue and Pat Tobin (Mahon) got home on the final green.

Much to the delight of his fellow members at Lee Valley, Gavin O’Mahony was a clear winner for the second time in the day while Mark MacGrath (Limerick) rounded off the Munster success, again by a one hole margin.

Munster are now hot favourites to claim the title for the second time in three years after Connacht’s surprise win yesterday over Ulster.


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