Dowling, Casey, Grant & Cunningham Final 4 at Close

Bernie McGuire

Top qualifier Mairead Martin (Kanturk) bowed out in this morning’s last 16 matches at the Irish Women’s Close Championship at Mullingar.

Maria Dunne (Skerries), who will travel to the Vagliano Trophy to represent GB&I this coming week, showed her class early, winning the first hole and keeping her lead before finishing the match on the 14th, 5&4. The 2017 Irish Women’s Open Stroke Play Champion came up against 2010 Irish Close Champion Mary Dowling (New Ross) who overcame Elm Park’s Ariana Coyle Diez’ on the 18th in the last 16. Dunne struggled in the afternoon and Dowling took advantage extending her lead to 2 at the 9th when Dunne failed to get up from the greenside bunker. The Kilkenny native didn’t let up and despite a fantastic up and down on the 15th the match finished 4&3 in favour of Dowling.

Four of the morning matches went as far as the 18th with Ciara Casey (Hermitage) and Niamh McSherry (Lurgan) both winning by 1 hole. Valerie Clancy (Killarney) was to be Casey’s next opponent. Clancy had beaten Laytown & Bettystown’s Eleanor Metcalfe earlier but happened against an in-form Casey who came out on top on the 15th green. McSherry holed out with her 2nd shot at the par 5 14th in her win over Rachel Thompson (Cork) and would face Sarah Cunningham (Ennis) after lunch, who needed extra holes to overcome Lurgan’s Maeve Cummins having been behind for most of the match. Cunningham levelled the match at the 9th when her 25 foot birdie putt found the bottom of the hole and after a wayward drive on the 10th from McSherry, Cunningham took advantage, winning the next three holes and finally closing out the match on the 17th.


The last quarter-final match-up saw Ulster’s Paula Grant (Lisburn) take on 2015 Irish Girls’ Close Championship finalist Lisa O’Shea (Shannon) after they overcame Orla Dunphy (Kilkenny) and Sinead Sexton (Lahinch) respectively this morning. Grant has played consistently well to date in the tournament and this afternoon was no different. After 9 holes Paula lead by 2, however O’Shea had levelled the match by the 12th but the experienced Grant prevailed, solidifying her place in the semi-finals on the 17th green.

In the Ita Wallace Plate, Paula Walsh (Doneraile) took on Chloe Ryan (Castletroy) in an all Munster quarter-final. Walsh, 2017 Munster Women’s Champion, was 2up at the turn but by the 12th the Irish International had squared the match and went on to win 4&2. Alice Hutchinson (St. Anne’s) and Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe/MU), both members of the ILGU National Funded Performance Panel, faced each other in the 2nd match. A quick start from the Maynooth University Scholar saw her go 5up through 6, a deficit too much for Hutchinson to come back from and Burke closed out the match 7&5. In the bottom half of the draw, Emma Forbes (Royal Portrush) took on Irish Girls’ International Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden) while fourteen-year old Beth Coulter (Kirkistown Castle) did battle with Kate Lanigan (Hermitage). Both Emma Forbes and Beth/Kate played fantastic golf in blustery conditions to secure their places in the Plate semi-final.

Sunday’s semi-final matches kick off at 08:30am with the Ita Wallace Plate matches out first. The final of both flights will then tee off at 13:00 and13:30 when the Irish Women’s Close Champion and Ita Wallace Plate winners will be crowned.

Semi Finals
08:50 Mary Dowling (New Ross) vs. Ciara Casey (Hermitage)
09:00 Sarah Cunningam (Ennis) vs. Paula Grant (Lisburn)

Quarter Finals
Maria Dunne (Skerries) lost to Mary Dowling (New Ross) 4&3
Ciara Casey (Hermitage) beat Valerie Clancy (Killarney) 4&3
Sarah Cunningham (Ennis) beat Niamh McSherry (Lurgan) 2&1
Paula Grant (Lisburn) beat Lisa O’Shea (Shannon) 2&1

Last 16
Mairead Martin (Kanturk) lost to Maria Dunne (Skerries) 4&3
Ariana Coyle Diez (Elm Park) lost to Mary Dowling (New Ross) 1down
Ciara Casey (Hermitage) beat Sara Byrne (Douglas) 1up
Valerie Clancy (Killarney) beat Eleanor Metcalfe (Laytown & Bettystown) 4&3
Sarah Cunningham (Ennis) beat Maeve Cummins (Lurgan) 19th
Rachel Thompson (Cork) lost to Niamh McSherry (Lurgan) 1 down
Paula Grant (Lisburn) beat Orla Dunphy (Kilkenny) 6&5
Sinead Sexton (Lahinch) lost to Lisa O’Shea (Shannon)2&1

Ita Wallace Plate
08:30 Chloe Ryan (Castletroy) vs. Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe)
08:40 Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden) vs. TBC

Quarter Finals
Paula Walsh (Doneraile) lost to Chloe Ryan (Castletroy) 4&2
Alice Hutchinson (St. Anne’s) lost to Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe) 7&5
Emma Forbes (Royal Portrush) lost to Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden) 2 holes
Beth Coulter (Kirkistown Castle) vs. Kate Lanigan (Hermitage)

Last 16
Paula Walsh (Doneraile) beat Clodagh Walsh (Castlewarden/MU) 2&1
Chloe Ryan (Castletroy) beat Louise Coffey (Malone) W/O
Anna Dawson (Tramore) lost to Alice Hutchinson (St. Anne’s) 8&6
Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe/MU) beat Aine Donegan (Woodstock) 2&1
Emma Forbes (Royal Portrush) beat Meadhbh Doyle (Portarlington/MU) 1up
Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden) beat Kate Dwyer (Rossmore) 5&4
Roisin Brady (Co. Louth) lost to Beth Coulter (Kirkistown Castle) 4&2
Kate Lanigan (Hermitage) beat Aoife Lowry (Tipperary) 3&2

First Round Results
Mairead Martin (Kanturk) beat Paula Walsh (Doneraile) 3&2
Maria Dunne (Skerries) beat Clodagh Walsh (Castlewarden/MU) 4&3
Ariana Coyle Diez (Elm Park) beat Chloe Ryan (Castletory /UCD) 4&3
Mary Dowling (New Ross) beat Louise Coffey (Malone) 6&5
Ciara Casey (Hermitage) beat Anna Dawson (Tramore) 4&3
Sara Byrne (Douglas) beat Alice Hutchinson (St. Anne’s) 2&1
Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe/MU) lost to Valerie Clancy (Killarney) 3&1
Aine Donegan (Woodstock) lost to Eleanor Metcalfe (Laytown & Bettystown) 22nd
Sarah Cunningham (Ennis) beat Emma Forbes (Royal Portrush) 2&1
Meadhbh Doyle (Portarlington/MU) lost to Maeve Cummins (Lurgan) 4&3
Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden) lost to Rachel Thompson (Cork) 2&1
Niamh McSherry (Lurgan) beat Kate Dwyer (Rossmore) 3&2
Paula Grant (Lisburn) beat Roisin Brady (Co. Louth) 5&4
Beth Coulter (Kirkistown Castle) lost to Orla Dunphy (Kilkenny) 3&1
Sinead Sexton (Lahinch) beat Kate Lanigan (Hermitage) 19th
Lisa O’Shea (Shannon) beat Aoife Lowry (Tipperary)19th

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