Mouthwatering matches in store as the Connolly Motors West of Ireland reaches last 16

Mark McGowan

Colm Campbell drives on the 15th at County Sligo Golf Club

Mark McGowan

Feature Interviews

Latest Stories

After a marathon day that needed every minute of daylight, we’re down to the last 16 at the Connolly Motor Group West of Ireland Championship at County Sligo Golf Club.

With 32 matches to be settled first and several going into extended holes, the final match of the round of 32 didn’t get underway until after 5pm and was a real heavyweight bout featuring reigning South of Ireland champion Colm Campbell and Rosses Point’s own T.J. Ford.

And the Warrenpoint man is looking increasingly like the man to beat, even though by his own admission his iron play wasn’t quite where he’d like it to be in the evening match. He made up for that with a trusty putter, however, and repeatedly found the bottom of the cup every time it looked as though the door may be a little ajar for the home favourite who was cheered on by healthy galleries as evening sunshine bathed the shorelines of the north west.

But with daylight rapidly expiring and the threat of a Monday morning finish looming large, Campbell parred the tough 17th to close out the match after Ford had rallied from 4-down with four to play, booking his place in the last 16 with a 2&1 victory.

“Playing TJ, who’s obviously from Rosses Point here and a class, class player, so I knew it was always going to be a be a tough game,” Campbell said afterwards. “Played well, drove the ball lovely off the tee, but I’d say my iron play was a little little bit off there this afternoon.

“Just didn’t quite get dialled in, but holed a couple of nice putts. It just sort of sort of broke TJ’s momentum a little bit, so, yeah, look, if I can keep driving the ball the way I am and you know, the putter keeps keeps going the way it is and just get the irons dialled in a bit more, you know, hopefully it’ll keep things alive.”

He’ll face Englishman Darryl Gwilliam who managed to close out his match with Allan Kiernan on the 18th, in what was ultimately the final match to conclude. Gwilliam had battled illness on Thursday and is feeling the effects after having both his matches go to the wire on Easter Sunday, and he’ll be back out at 9:10am with one of the fiercest competitors in Irish amateur golf standing opposite.

In the top half of the draw, it’ll be an all-family affair when cousins Aodhagan and David Brady square off in the opening match. 18-year-old County Sligo member Aodhagan knocked out the number-one seed Mark Doogue 2&1 after going to the 19th against fellow Irish boys teammate Adam Buchanan in the earlier match.

David, who once held the course record at County Sligo with a 64 before Ronan Mullarney – who incidentally was living with Brady in Maynooth at the time – eclipsed that with a 62 back in 2019, is currently playing out of Straffan Golf Club, but remains very much a local in the eyes of the sizable galleries who watched him take down one of the pre-tournament favourites in Hugh Foley 3&2 in the first knockout match, before holing a birdie putt to win the match on the 19th against Shea Dorman in the afternoon.

Matthew McClean continues to ominous carve his way through the field, recording his second successive 2&1 win of the tournament when he dispatched Dwayne Mallon in the round of 32 and his round of 16 encounter with Jake Whelan could prove to be the tie of the round.

Whelan came from 4-down with six to play to take down Jack McDonnell in the morning round, but it was a little more straightforward when he met Gary Collins in the round of 32.

Castleknock’s Paul Coughlan and Berehaven’s Joe O’Neill will contest match number three, while match number four will see Robert Galligan, perhaps the surprise package of the tournament, taking on reigning North of Ireland champion James Fox.

Elm Park man Galligan has cruised through both knockout rounds completing just 27 holes, while Fox was taken almost to the wire by Lee O’Meara, only pulling clear on 16 and 17 to record a 2&1 victory.

The other big contender for tie of the round has to be that of Carton House clubmates Keith Egan and former pro Paul O’Hanlon. Egan was one of only two players to break par as the legendary gusts swept through the Rosses Point links on day two of strokeplay qualifying, but O’Hanlon made short work of Luke Mitchell in the round of 32 and whilst another dry day is forecast, the wind is expected to switch direction offering a fresh challenge.

David Howard of Fota Island and Evan Farrell of County Louth will contest match number six, while match number seven sees veteran Eddie McCormack square off against Clandeboye’s Ross Latimer. The combined aged of both of McCormack’s dispatched opponents to date are still a good 10 short of McCormack’s own, but he continues to prove to be one of the toughest opponents in Irish golf and just four matches away from a maiden West of Ireland championship win, the reigning European Men’s Senior Open champion won’t go quietly into the night.


Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!

More News

Leave a comment

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy & Terms of Service apply.