Royal Portrush Captain Colin McElderry says it was unbelievable to reach the semi-final of the AIG Men’s Senior Cup as the club look to make history at Dun Laoghaire.
With Royal Portrush also advancing to the semi-finals in the AIG Women’s Senior Cup it sets up an opportunity to replicate their heroics from 1979 when both teams were victorious in the decider. Having won the Fred Daly in Castletroy last week, Royal Portrush can become the first team to win all three of those trophies in one year as well.
County Sligo can also do the double, their men were winners as recently as 2016 while their women’s team have never been champions in this, and on Sunday they will have a massive opportunity to claim glory while their men’s captain, Gary Reynolds, has two daughters on the women’s team.
Royal Portrush will face Naas in tomorrow morning’s semi-final of the AIG Men’s Senior Cup with Castle taking on County Sligo in the other match. In the women’s it will be Royal Portrush up against Kilkenny and Cork against County Sligo.
“It’s unbelievable, we haven’t won the final since 1979 so it’s good to get into the semi-final and keep it all going,” said McElderry.
“Plus the fact that the Ladies are here and they are through to the semis as well, great atmosphere, great course, the weather was superb. The boys pulled it out of the bag.
“We have got good support down here. The fact that we are both still going, we are going to try and keep it going as long as possible.
“It would be a dream come true to reach the final, even make it a triple after the Fred Daly.”
Royal Portrush were the first team across the line in the AIG Women’s Senior Cup on Saturday afternoon. County Louth’s Kate Dwyer won the opening match against Lucy Simpson but Royal Portrush bounced back and 14-year-old Gemma McMeekin sealed the 3.5 to 1.5 win on the 20th hole.
Then it was the turn of Kilkenny to join them in the semi-finals, Jan Browne and Eileen Rose Power both won their matches 2up and Mary Dowling’s comprehensive win secured a 4 to 1 victory against holders Lahinch.
Cork also had to fight hard to secure their place in the semi-finals with Claire Coughlan Ryan beating Lauren Murray on the 19th hole of the decisive match for a 3 to 2 win over Woodbrook.
They advanced to play County Sligo who beat Clandeboye 4 to 1 with Maebh McLoughlin, Sophie Reynolds and Ellen Lonergan all winning their matches.
Royal Portrush were the first of the men’s teams through to the semi-finals after a 3 to 2 win over Royal Dublin. The victors had wins were courtesy of Paul Cutler and Patrick McCrudden as well as William Beatty, on the 21st hole.
Naas followed suit as Rob Brazill led them out and David Marshall and Rob Fitzpatrick added further wins for 3.5 to 1.5 victory over Nenagh.
Castle had a more emphatic 4 to 1 win against Lee Valley, Peter and Ross McKeever both won with AIG Irish Men’s Close Champion Rob Moran adding another success.
The final match of the day saw County Sligo beat Holywood 3 to 2, TJ Ford, Ruairi O’Connor and Barry Anderson were all victorious.
Both Royal Portrush and County Sligo will have their chances at double glory tomorrow while neither Carton House or Lahinch will get the opportunity to defend their titles from 2022. And Kilkenny captain Ella Dowling said her side will have every chance again after denying the reigning champions.
“It’s huge and we are so excited, it’s an amazing victory,” said Dowling.
“We knew we were going to have a very challenging fight today but the rub of the green just went our way. It’s great moment for Kilkenny. We look forward to our semi-final against Portrush.
“We didn’t look beyond today. Our girls performed very well, we know Portrush are very strong and they are contenders but we will certainly give it our best again tomorrow, we have a good team too.”