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Cups and Shields Final results
22nd September 2013

Play finished yesterday in the Irish Cups and Shields finals - Probably the largest field of amateur golfers in Europe - in fact in the world!

All pictures in this article are courtesy ofg the GUI

Senior Cup - The Castle

The Castle Golf Club captured the Chartis Europe Senior Cup at Kinsale Golf Club and in doing so ended a 99 year run of failing to win the most coveted team prize in Irish golf.

With the mantra of "give it everything you've got", Harry Gleeson's team left it to the last match where 21 year old landscape architect graduate Daniel Holland saw off the challenge of Warrenpoint's Ryan Gribben to seal the victory.

Holland, who has won the nine matches he has played in the Senior Cup this year, maintained his 100% record in beating Gribben, and was ready for the challenge of being the one to see out the victory.

"These matches are always tight. I had a feeling it was going to come down to me, I really did. I knew it was going to be either four or five. There's no way that matches are won straight out one, two, three in Senior Cup finals, it never happens. I knew I had to be ready for it".

With two time All Ireland Senior Football winner Conor Deegan on the team, Holland explained the influence of the county Down legend at the team meeting before the final.

"He said to us before going out, just give it everything guys. We're now at the final, don't hold back, give it everything you have, don't hold back."

Deegan, who beat David Barron to put Castle's first point on the board, holds the lowest handicap of any golfer in Ireland (plus 5) and was beaming afterwards.

"To say ecstatic is not even close. I've been very lucky to have been in all Ireland finals playing football but it's very different. You have a very tight-knit club here and we've had tremendous support all week."

The preparations put in by the Castle included a session with the GUI National Golf Academy's 'mind coach' Karl Morris and Deegan revealed what the team got from that.

"We talk more, we understand the game a wee bit better. We're talking about process, keeping in the game, staying in your bubble, all those good things"

Team Captain Harry Gleeson, who also captained the Castle's 2003 Jimmy Bruen Shield team that won the shield in Lisburn, was visibly shaking after the win and paid tribute to Holland for seeing out the win for the team.

"He's definitely the hardest worker on our squad, he puts the hours in, the other lads slag him because he puts so much work in. We've always played him number five, he seems to thrive under pressure. He knows he's going to be called on when the posse start watching him. He has always delivered. We've had nine matches and he's the only person to play in all nine"

Junior Cup - Donaghadee

Inspiration comes in many forms, but for the Donaghadee Junior Cup team it was in the form of two of Ulster's brightest golfing talents as the north Down club triumphed at the Chartis Europe sponsored Cups and Shields in Kinsale.

Leading by example, it was 16 year old Andrew Clegg and 15 year old Mark Rea that helped inspire the rest of Gareth Stranaghan's team, with both youngsters notching up impressive 3/2 wins against their Athenry opponents.

Rea, who was part of the Ulster Under 15 Interprovincial team that won at City of Derry last month was in control of his match from the start, never falling behind in his encounter with Sean Glynn.

"I was in control of my game. I had every part of my game, I didn't really feel like I couldn't hit a good shot. I played well and I was confident enough" he beamed afterwards, beside an emotional Stranaghan who was visibly emotional about the win.

"I'm absolutely gobsmacked. It means so much, it really means so much for this golf club. A major All Ireland pennant for the first time in our history and that group of guys I don't have words to describe them anymore. They got control of that match today from the first tee and I was just waiting for them to get over the line and eventually they did it. For me, it's just fairy tale stuff, a dream come true."

The inspiration from having two young stars helped him guide his team to victory.

"Those two guys are a credit to their parents. The work they have put into their golf game this year has seen them just get better and better as the year goes on and they have no fear and the golf they played around this golf course was just sublime and they inspired the other guys, they inspired them so much and the closeness and the bond and the unity between them all was there and I could see it over the last three or four months and I knew we had a chance."

William McCutcheon won the crucial third match for Donaghadee to get them across the line, while the other two matches were called in.

Barton Shield - NUI Maynooth

NUI Maynooth's success came with surprising ease against the favorites, a Banbridge team which included Irish internationals Jim Carvill, Rory Leonard and Connor Doran, as well as the talented Colin Wilton.

O'Rourke and Yates had a tough match against Leonard and Wilton, but the Maynooth pair were called in after 14 holes when they were leading by one hole. At that point, Maynooth were champions as the second match turned out to be a rout.

Barry Anderson and Gary Hurley were in devastating form, smashing Carvill and Doran by seven holes, to give their team an eight-hole aggregate victory

Yates explained "We were two down after three and got off to a slow start and to be honest we settled it down, hit fairways, hit greens, just tried to get our heads back on and the holes came back to us. The lads just had a couple of mistakes but we played solid, all pars until 14 when we were called in".

O'Rourke wasn't upset with the way the match panned out. "We've always had a slow start in matches, it seems to be something that happens us. When it happened we weren't too phased by it. We tried to hit some fairways and greens and steady it up a little. We had a great match with the boys, very nice to play against, a lot of good golf, it was trickier today with the conditions, a bit more windy and tougher pins. We have played a lot of golf together, grew up playing golf for last 10 years."

The students enjoy full use of the GUI National Golf Academy at Carton House in Maynooth as part of the scholarship programme, and Barry Fennelly who manages the scheme was understandably delighted.

"I'm delighted, it's a great achievement for us and the college. We started playing in Cups and Shields three years ago and having the likes of Kelan (McDonagh) here today, myself and Kelan played together and we got to a few Leinster finals but we've really been pushing it the last number of years and fair play to the guys, they really took it on this year to go far in the tournament and they've done what we asked. The coaches have been super, we have been working hard since January and it's great with the likes of Gary Hurley and these guys to go on and have great individual performances during the year which has really spurred on the other guys. We really had a great camaraderie this week. I'm very proud of them, some super golf today."

Pierce Purcell Shield - Newcastle West

Newcastle West took the Pierce Purcell Shield at Kinsale Golf Club in a convincing 4-1 win over the Connacht champions Gort.

Wins by Patrick Magner and Noel Harnett and Liam Keane and Gerard Foley set the scene for the final pair of David Murphy and Eoin Duggan who ran out 4/2 winners over Ray Quinn and Andreas Edler.

Keane, who played for Limerick in the 1991 Munster Championship final against Kerry, was delighted with the team's win.

"I've played a lot of sports down through the years and I don't think anything compares to this. The emotion shown out there by some of the older members of the club was second to none.

"We've had a lot of trials, a lot of training sessions and we've become very good friends and I suppose at the heel of the hunt this is the culmination of all the work we put in and all I can say is I'm over the moon, I'm delighted".

Brought into the sport by his late father, he was understandably happy for his father's friends who were on hand to witness the victory.

"My father introduced me to golf, there are some of the older members that played with him here today. All of those older members I'm absolutely delighted for them".

Michael O'Connor, Team Captain for Newcastle West was almost stuck for words as the magnitude of the team's success started to hit him.

"When we think about it this evening and over the next few weeks it will probably sink in. It's a great honour because they are the first team to ever do it for Newcastle West and I'm proud and honoured to be a part of the team, such a wonderful group of people. It's been the best day of my sporting career and I've had a lot games played".

Club Captain John Devine explained that preparation was key for the team.

"We prepared very well for this. We've been preparing for this since last February and these lads are a fantastic bunch of golfers. We have a small squad, we kept to that squad. Every member of that panel played for Newcastle West Golf Club and it's our first time (to win). We're forty years playing in the Pierce Purcell and this is the our first Munster title and our first national title"

Jimmy Bruen Shield - Killymoon

The Ulster champions, from Cookstown in County Tyrone, lifted the Jimmy Bruen Shield at Kinsale Golf Club on Saturday.

Killymoon, a founder member of the Golfing Union of Ireland in 1891, had never won any title or championship until they got to the Ulster final, running out easy qualifiers for the National Finals.

Brian Gogarty, the playing team captain, was delighted with the team's performance.

"When we kicked off in May, I never thought we would be all Ireland champions, it's surreal. This means everything for the club. This is the first time we ever had any sort of glory or victory ever at the club. I've captained the team for the past three years and the last two years we didn't even qualify so we qualified big time this year, by 15 shots from the second place team. We came down here with great hopes but no expectations. Roscommon, to be fair, gave us a tremendous match."

Club President, Tom Doonan, played on the team, and with an age spread of over 50 years, there was a good mix of youth and experience.

"They are all great lads, they are all great golfers" beamed Gogarty after the win.

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