AN overnight text from his brother, Freddie, coach to the Munster Branch, proved invaluable as Dwayne Twomey fashioned an unlikely win for Bandon over Co Sligo in yesterday’s semi-final of the Bulmers Irish Senior Cup at Castlebar.
Bandon now go through to this morning’s final against Ulster champions Lurgan, conquerors of Kilkenny and another club seeking a first green pennant.
Also celebrating last night were Curragh, the second oldest club in the country after Royal Belfast, who had a comfortable win over Nenagh in the final of the Pierce Purcell. Meanwhile, Tandragee and Clontarf have qualified for today’s final of the Jimmy Bruen Shield after beating Swinford and Carrick-on-Suir respectively.
Two members of the Lurgan Senior Cup team, Steve Kelly and Dave Sutton, are Scots. Kelly arrived in Belfast on a blind date a few years ago, fell in love, took over as greenkeeper at Knock GC and never went back!
Sutton, a plus 3 handicapper, works in the golf business in Belfast and between them they came up with two precious points, Kelly beating Craig Martin at the 17th and Smith accounting for three-time former Irish champion Eddie Power by 4 and 3.
Lurgan’s progress to the final was assured when Francis Tallon, playing his first Senior Cup match, finished off Graham Nugent, by hitting a five iron to 10 feet for a two at the 16th.
It was such a different matter for Bandon against Co Sligo that team captain Denis O’Brien admitted: “I thought we were going home after the 12th hole when we were down in all but Donie O’Donovan’s match. It had been dull and uninspiring up to then but suddenly a few putts began to drop, the crowd got behind the lads, and they put in a storming finish.”
There was no way back for Brian O’Donovan and Ger Tobin but as against that, Donie O’Donovan provided a cushion thanks to his 7 and 6 thrashing of Serryth Heavey in the last match. Kieran Hurley came from two down after 10 to inch ahead at the 15th and finish off Rory McNamara at the difficult 17th with another beautifully-played par four.
Dwayne Twomey might well have panicked when he fell three behind Stephen Brady but he played nicely up to that point and kept brother Freddie’s advice in mind. He had texted the world “Patience” and Dwayne took full advantage of the advice. There was also the need for something a little special as well against a tough opponent and it came with an eight iron to three feet for birdie at the 10th.
The 11th was halved in birdies and battle was really joined when Twomey rattled in a 50-footer for another birdie on the 13th before superbly getting up and down for a winning par four at the 15th to level the match.
Brady displayed steel by following his man in for invaluable halves from six feet or so at 16th and 17 but having found himself stymied by giant oaks to the left of the final fairway, punched a low recovery that ran through the green into the lake at the back.
Twomey went precariously close to following him in from about 50 yards and certainly the many Bandon followers breathed a deep sigh of relief when the ball came to a halt a few yards from the hazard. Twomey chipped back to less than a couple of feet and his side were through to the final, in which Dave McCarthy comes in for Ger Tobin.
The Curragh, founded in 1883, captured their first green pennant by beating Nenagh in the Pierce Purcell Shield decider. The Curragh victory was assured when gardaí Eddie Trant and Sean O’Donnell beat Patsy Farrell and Sean O’Donnell at the 16th. Sullivan blamed himself for losing each of the two previous holes so told himself “I need to cream this five iron tee shot” and duly left it 12 feet from the hole. And that was very much that.
Cup and Shield results
Bulmers Irish Senior Cup semi-finals
Bandon 3, Co Sligo 2 (Bandon names first)
B. O’Donovan lost to B. Anderson 5 and 3; G. Tobin lost to G. McDermott 5 and 4; K. Hurley bt R. McNamara 2 and 1; D. Twomey bt S. Brady 1 hole; D. O’Donovan bt S. Heavey 7 and 6.
Lurgan 4, Kilkenny 1 (Lurgan names first) F. Tallon bt G. Nugent 3 and 2; S. Kelly bt C. Martin 2 and 1; D. Sutton bt E. Power 4 and 3; G. Clarke halved with R. Walsh; J. Horan halved with P. O’Hara.
Today’s final, Bandon v Lurgan (Bandon names first) B. O’Donovan v Tallon; D. McCarthy v Tallon; Hurley v Kelly; Twomey v Clarke; D. O’Donovan v Horan.
Pierce Purcell Shield final
Curragh bt Nenagh 3 ½-1 ½ (Curragh names first) J. Murphy and P. Hogan bt M. O’Gara and T. Finnan 3 and 2; E. Trant and P. Sullivan bt P. Farrell and S. O’Donnell 3 and 2; Brian and Brendan Daly bt P. Peters and N. O’Dwyer 6 and 4; D. Farrell and D. Kelly lost to B. Hackett and P.J. Hogan 6 and 5; P. Hensey and T. Tobin halved with W. Harty and S. McLoughlin
Jimmy Bruen Shield semi-finals
Tandragee bt Swinford 3½-1½ (Tandragee names first) G. Haire and J. Quinn bt S. Geraghty and N. McNicholas 3 and 2; S. Greenberg and M. Bannerman lost to E. Byrne and T. Geraghty 2 and 1; R. Harpur and W. Jardine bt S. Kavanagh and S. Ronane 1 hole; R. Dutton and S. McNeill bt M. Rooney and K. Feeny 2 and 1; E. Nixon and J. Forde halved with D. Ronane and N. O’Neill.
Clontarf bt Carrick-0n-Suir 3½-1½ (Clontarf names first) S. and C. Stone bt L. Daniels and B. Conway 4 and 2; R. Maguire and A. Burke bt P. Cooney and W. O’Brien 2 and 1; F. Kellett and B. Doyle lost to J. Ryan and J. Quinn 6 and 4; P. O’Brien and T. Duffy bt N. Drohan and K. Barry 2 holes. P. McLaughlin and P. Kealy halved with M. Curran and D. Tuohy.
Today’s Jimmy Bruen Shield final, Tandragee v Clontarf, 10.30am. (Tandragee names first): G. Haire and J. Quinn v S and C. Stone; S. Greenberg and M. Bannerman v D. Cameron and M. O’Flynn; R. Harpur and W. Jardine v R. Maguire and A. Burke; R. Dutton and S. McNeill v P. O’Brien and T. Duffy; E. Nixon and J. Forde v P. McLoughlin and P. Kealy.
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