When Tuesday dawns, local fans will flock to Rosses Point as Anderson plays Jake Whelan (Newlands) for a place in the final. Co Sligo has not witnessed a home winner since Cecil Ewing’s last triumph in 1950 and even if Anderson pictured below (The Royal Dublin) is now based on the east coast, his roots are in the Sligo soil.
While most attention will be focused on Anderson’s bout with Whelan, Tandragee’s William Small and Jack Pierse from Portmarnock will do battle in the first semi-final, which tees off at 8am.
Small only had one hole to spare against Robert Brazill (Naas) in the quarter-finals although he had already survived four extra holes against Athenry’s Allan Hill just to make it through the first round on Sunday. Impressive wins against Castle’s Robert Moran (4&2) and Nenagh’s David Reddan (5&4) set Small on course for the final eight, where he beat Brazill.
Jack Pierse held his nerve to clinch a narrow win against Stephen Healy (The Royal Dublin) in the last 16. Pierse did not have to go the distance against Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty, securing a 2&1 victory. Having won the World Club Championship alongside Geoff Lenehan last December, Pierse now has another title in his sights — one his famous uncle, Arthur, won in 1980 and 1982.
Whoever emerges victorious, a new name will adorn the trophy. Jake Whelan threatened to make a major breakthrough last season at the AIG Irish Amateur Close, advancing to the semi-finals, where he was beaten by John Ross Galbraith. The rising star of Newlands now has a chance to go further but Barry Anderson stands in his way.
Anderson was a junior at Co Sligo when he gained international recognition, holing the winning putt for Ireland at the 2008 Boys’ Home Internationals. Previously a quarter-finalist at the West, Anderson is entering unchartered territory. And he had to take down another home talent to secure his place in the final four, edging out David Brady with a winning par at the 18th.
Now he stands on the cusp of history.
Semi-finals — Tuesday, April 18
- (08:00) William Small (Tandragee) v Jack Pierse (Portmarnock)
- (08:15) Jake Whelan (Newlands) v Barry Anderson (The Royal Dublin).
Final at 13:30