Warrenpoint celebrate Barton Shield glory again

Warrenpoint celebrated a second successive AIG Barton Shield title but left Galway needing to quickly banish the demons of a third successive final defeat ahead of today’s Senior Cup semi-finals.

It was the Ulster club’s seventh Barton Shield All-Ireland success, all since 1987, and a third in the last seven years.

Warrenpoint also became the first club since Sligo’s three in a row between 1995-97 to successfully defend the scratch foursomes title, achieved with a four holes win over Galway, who must now rally their downcast players for this morning’s Senior Cup semi against Royal Portrush.

It was the second successive defeat to Warrenpoint having lost the 2015 final to Royal Dublin and the prospect of having to go back out and play a Senior Cup singles semi the following day, with his club drawing on the same panel for both competitions, had filled Galway’s Joe Lyons with trepidation on Wednesday, the eve of the Barton final.

Beating Warrenpoint would have been a real boost, Lyons said, before adding: “The flip side of that is that if we lose another final I’ve no doubt it will take an effect.

“I played Barton Shield/Senior Cup as far back as Rosslare in 2003 and we lost the Barton Shield final in tie holes.

“The flattening effect it had on the mood within the camp was unbelievable and we went out and we played Senior Cup the following morning against North West, they beat us 3-2. We lost the key battles that day and the Barton Shield experience the day before certainly didn’t help.” Galway lost both matches by two holes yesterday, Warrenpoint’s Stephen Coulter and Paul Reavey defeating Lyons and Luke O’Neill before Colm Campbell Jr and Ryan Gribben secured another title for the Co. Down club, much to the delight of team manager Colm Campbell Sr.

“We are delighted to go back to back,” Campbell Sr said. “It was no easier than it was last year, beating the Galway lads. Unfortunately for them, they came up against us and we have an unbelievable team. What turned the game was when Paul (Reavey) holed a super (20ft) putt for birdie on 16, and Junior stood up after him and holed another super (8ft) putt for birdie on 16. That turned the game for us.”

Galway and Royal Portrush kick off the third day of the AIG Cups and Shields Festival this morning, with the second Senior Cup semi featuring host club Carton House against Munster champions Limerick.

The Pierce Purcell Shield final between Thurles and Royal Curragh is next on the agenda with a busy day rounded out with the Jimmy Bruen Shield semis as Warrenpoint bid for another double, their mid-handicap foursomes pairings going up against Leinster champions Mountrath from Laois.

Munster’s Ballykisteen bid for a second All-Ireland title in a week following their GUI Irish Four-Ball success at nearby Millicent last Sunday. The Tipperary club faces Connacht’s Castlebar in the second Bruen semi-final.

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