Castle & Royal Portrush claim AIG Senior Cup titles

Royal Portrush rejoice after their victory in the AIG Women's Senior Cup final (Image: Golf Ireland / Golffile)

On a tense and hectic day in Dun Laoghaire it was Castle GC and Royal Portrush who emerged victorious in the AIG Men’s and Women’s Senior Cup.

Castle Captain Archie McEvoy said the experience of having Rob Moran and Alex Gleeson in the team helped but it was a massive team effort as they claimed the AIG Men’s Senior Cup.

Moran was recently crowned AIG Men’s Close champion while Gleeson won that same prize back in 2016, and they both earned hard-fought points in the final to help their side to a 3-2 comeback win over Naas.


Royal Portrush won the AIG Women’s Senior Cup thanks to a 3.5 to 1.5 win against County Sligo, ending their ten-year wait for glory.

With four of this year’s Ulster interprovincial winning side and two 14-year-olds in their selection, Royal Portrush have the potential to return again for a 28th crown.

For Castle, their sole win came back in 2012, Jack Walsh was 16 when he featured in that success and this time, together with Gleeson, Peter McKeever and Dan Holland provided vital experience. Moran added another touch of class and it was enough to seal a famous win.

Castle Golf Club AIG Men’s Senior Cup champions (Image: Golf Ireland / Golffile)

Last year’s Barton Shield winners saw Ross McKeever claim an impressive 1up win over Rob Brazill, Moran beat David Marshall 3&2 and Gleeson had a 2&1 victory over Sam Gammell.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable, after nine holes we were 4-1 behind, things were looking bleak, we lost a couple of holes but the character of this team, the character of the players it’s just unbelievable,” said McEvoy.

“It’s just phenomenal for the club, 20 years ago we won our first green pennant. We’ve won eight since, this is our eighth, and it’s been a fantastic, fantastic day for Castle Golf Club. I am so proud of all of the team, it is a squad effort. We used nine players this year and we couldn’t have got here without all nine.

“The experience we have told this afternoon. Alex was fighting and fighting all afternoon. Rob was in much more control, the character he showed this morning to come back and win on 19, just unbelievable.

“It is all about the team, it has been a two-year project. We won the Barton Shield last year, won the Senior Cup this year, absolutely unbelievable.”

Royal Portrush were the first team through to the afternoon’s finals after their women defeated Kilkenny 3.5 to 1.5. The interprovincial winning Ulster contingent led the charge with Gemma McMeekin, Amy O’Donnell and Judithe Allen securing points.

The other semi-final was full of drama as Ellen Lonergan fought back from the brink to earn the decisive point against Michelle Tobin on the 19th green. Cork were on top in their clash with County Sligo but the momentum swung and other victories for Maebh McLoughlin and Jessica Reynolds helped to seal a 3-2 victory.

Royal Portrush’s chances of a first double since 1979 ended in the men’s semi-final where they were beaten 3.5 to 1.5 by Naas. Brazill, Gammell and Rob Fitzpatrick were the winners for the Kildare men.

In the other semi-final Moran won the match for Castle against County Sligo, again on the 19th hole. Ross McKeever and Walsh also got across the line for Castle.

Later, Royal Portrush were crowned champions following another hard fought win over County Sligo.

Allen’s comprehensive 6&5 win set the tone for Royal Portrush and when McMeekin followed up with a 3&1 victory, it was left for Amy O’Donnell to seal the win on the 16th green.

“It means so much to me. I’m actually quite emotional at the moment, so proud of these girls,” said Royal Portrush Captain Helen Jones.

“They just played brilliant golf all week. They are wonderful to work with. Caddies, supporters, everybody from Portrush has been behind us all the way but the players themselves have been absolutely fantastic.

“And it just means so much to me, ten years later, from the last win in Portumna when I was there as well. So it was just great to get it back to Portrush again.

“We have a couple of 14-year-olds, a 15-year-old and the rest of the team are still in their 20s. We have Naoimh Quigg, the Irish team captain, behind us and our squad as well. We’ve just got so much to look forward to in the next few years.

“Playing Senior Cup is the most special event. Naoimh and I have put it in our diaries for many many years. It’s the first thing we put in our diaries and the most important event to us every single year, regardless of interpros or anything, there is something special about playing for your club and Portrush is a very special club.”

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