It was a case of third-time lucky for Rockmount Golf Club after securing a 4-1 victory over neighbouring Greenacres Golf Club in an All-Ulster affair in the AIG Women’s Minor Cup final at PGA National Slieve Russell.
In the five-match singles format, the County Down club took early leads in four of the five matches, and Patricia McDonnell and Hilda Beamish got points on the board swiftly, but their County Antrim counterparts refused to give in and rallied to take the lead in two of the three remaining matches on course.
Sue McDonagh, playing in the fourth match, had responded brilliantly to an early set-back and jumped into a three-up lead over Rosie Watters, but the Greenacres woman fought back to get within one hole with five to play.
McDonagh extended her lead to two-up on the 15th, and piled on the pressure by landing safely on the green on the par-3 16th which requires a long carry over water. When Watters was unable to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker, McDonagh was able to lag her putt close to secure an emotional victory for her club and for team captain Carol Blythe.
“I don’t really think it’s sunk in yet,” a beaming Blythe said afterwards, “it’s amazing but I think it’ll be another while before it really takes effect. It’s a great experience and I’m really delighted for the girls because they all played exceptional, but the win just tops it all off.”
“It got a bit tight there, but that’s what you’d expect in an All-Ireland Final because there are no pushovers and we knew we’d have a tight match and it would come down to a few shots here and there.”
Rockmount’s semi-final win over Cill Dara Golf Club came down to the final hole of the final match and it was McDonagh – who was being called ‘Sue-perb’ by the many Rockmount fans in attendance – who got the all-important final point in the semi-final as well.
McDonagh – a veteran of two final losses – was emotionally embraced by daughter Heather after making it third time lucky and finally getting her hands on a winner’s medal. “This is my third All-Ireland Final,” she said, “and I’m just so thrilled, not only for myself but for the girls, for the club, for everybody, and to do it here on such a brilliant course and in beautiful weather too.”
Asked about the embrace with her daughter, she replied “It was just so special and I’m so glad she was here. She’s my number one supporter.”
Meanwhile, East Cork Golf Club and Wicklow’s Coollattin Golf Club will contest the AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield final after victories over Clontarf Golf Club and Killymoon Golf Club’s respectively.
That final will take place at 9:20am on Saturday after the day’s schedule had to be revised in anticipation of heavy rainfall on Sunday.
There were also victories for Tipperary, Headfort, Belvoir Park and Greystones in the AIG Challenge Cup over Fintona, Tubbercurry, Adare Manor and Cill Dara respectively.
Tipperary will face Headfort at 10:00 while Belvoir Park will take on Greystones at 10:55 with a final berth at stake.
A minute’s silence was observed all over the course at 12pm as a mark of respect for Queen Elizabeth’s passing.
AIG Women’s Minor Cup Final
Greenacres 1 – 4 Rockmount (Greenacres names first): Amanda Pollock lost to Patricia McDonnell 6&4, Julie Thompson lost to Hilda Beamish 6&5, Astrid Graham halved with Karen Gowdy, Rosie Watters lost to Sue McDonagh 3&2, Vicky Kell halved with Bernadette Traill
AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield Semi-Finals
East Cork 4 – 1 Clontarf (East Cork names first): Eric Cunningham and Daniel Coffey beat Conor Joseph O’Brien and Matt O’Donnell 4&3, Sean Harrigan and Stephen O’Brien beat Philip Duffy and Rowan Considine 5&4, Scott Coyle Garde and Shane Connor Michael halved with Kellett and Dara O’Brien, Christopher Cocking and Hugh Mulcahy halved with Paul Kealy and David Hennessy, Jim O’Keefe and Conor Murray beat Derek D’arcy and John Stone 6&4
Killymoon 1.5 – 3.5 Coolattin (Killymoon names first): Ronan Fowley and Conor McElhone beat Michael Lennon and Padraig Doyle 3&2, Matthew Kempton and Adrian McKenna halved with Tony Egan and Dermot Nolan, Mark Meenan and Ian Hughes lost to Cormac Redmond and Paddy Myers 3&2, Ian Hutchinson and Rory Duffin lost to Timmy Collins and Emmet Wardell 4&3, Ryan Murphy and Paul McElhone lost to Edward Kennedy and Padraig Doran 5&3
AIG Challenge Cup Quarter-Finals
Tipperary 3 – 2 Fintona (Tipperary names first): Mary Devlin beat Carmel Colgan 5&3, Sandra Russell beat Dympna Franey 3&1, Barbara Leahy lost to Bernie McCillen 4&3, Patrice O’Connell lost to Patricia McNabb 3&2, Ann Mooney beat Rosemary O’Hanlon 1UP
Headfort 3 – 2 Tubbercurry (Headfort names first): Mary Farrelly lost to Ann Conlon 4&3, Mary Bowler beat Brigie Clarke 2&1, Elaine Duffy beat Mary Costello 3&2, Pamela Strong lost to Mary K Johnston 2&1, Ellen Castles beat Ann Scanlon 2UP
Adare Manor 0.5 – 4.5 Belvoir Park (Adare Manor names first): Paula Masterson lost to Terry Burns 4&3, Theresa Lillis lost to Mary-Grace Wilson 4&3, Mairead O’Donovan lost to Anne Matthews 3&2, Mary Hogan halved with Christine Lavery, Eileen Treacy lost to Stephanie Rankin 5&4
Greystones 3.5 – 1.5 Cill Dara (Greystones names first): Celine Joyce lost to Deirdre Garrett 5&4, Orla Rush beat Stephanie O’Sullivan 5&4, Regina Connaughton beat Mary Conlan 7&6, Wendy Lee halved with Annette French, Grace Dodd beat Mairead Gray 4&3