Dublin Leagues: Old County take title for 2nd year running

Old County were once again celebrating league success after eclipsing Erins Isle in a tight final in RGSC on Tuesday night. The holders were quickest out of the block as Stephen Murray and Karl Murphy proved too strong for Jim McLaughlin and Mick Owens. The 2nd doubles was a tighter affair that went the distance and in the end it came down to a narrow miss on the chip by Charlie Egan and a putt sunk by Stephen Power as Old County went 2-0 ahead. Any hopes though that the Kimmage men had of completing a clean sweep were dispelled by a dominant display by Erins Isle in the final doubles as Paul Nolan and Dave Donnelly defeated George McGreal and Andy Lowe.
In the singles, Karl Murphy was up against Jim McLaughlin, neither men found top form with two’s hard to come by, but it was very tight in fact they were level for the majority of it. The drama though was to come at the end with Karl sinking a putt on the 17th to take the lead, but it was to prove far from decisive as he bogeyed the 18th and the duo headed down the 1st tie hole, again Karl was the first to make a mistake and the bogey was to cost him the match as Jim drew them level at 2-2. The crowds were drawn to match 2 which on paper looked a classic as Stephen Murray took on Paul Nolan. The guys pitched well but found it hard to get the putts in the hole. Paul was getting on top and when he lead 2up through 15, it looked like it was bridge too far for Stephen, but a chip in on 16th followed by a birdie putt on 17, level them level on the last, it looked like the momentum was with the Old County player, but in true league fashion, it was Paul who chipped in and gave Erins Isle a lead in the tie. The lead though was short lived as George McGreal defeated Dave Donnelly. The scoreline appeared decisive for George, but the reality was very different Dave was well in the tie well into the back nine, but George hit Dave with a sucession of birdies and forged ahead to draw the holders level.
In Match 4, Andy Lowe started like a train on Greg Heffernan, it was tough for Greg to come in having missed the doubles and his slow start cost him with Andy 4 up after 9. In truth there was no way back for Greg and Andy back to top form clossed out the tie in clinical fashion.
Old County were now one point short of the title and it looked like they would get it in Match 5 as Stephen Power was 3 up through 10 on Charlie Egan. Charlie though was not going to lie down and he won 11 and 12 to close to within 1 hole. Stephen was holding on grimly and he held it to the 18th. Charlie had the honour on the 18th but unfortunately he found the sand and worse for him was his lie right up on the front lip. Stephen made sure not to follow him in. Charlie had no option but to play out sideways. He tried to chip in for par, but it was not to be and Stephen was sparred having to putt as Charlie conceeded the match. Old County had reached the magic 5 points and were champions again. It was the 1st time their senior team had retained the title and they had done it in style. George gave high praise to Erins Isle in his speech and especially mentioned to magnitude of theit achievement in reaching the final and pleaded with them to keep their team together for the years ahead. Jim McLaughlin was generous in his congratilations of Old County but suitably proud of his guys. In a nice touch, all the players were called up by their captains and received momentos of their win. The crowds had come out in numbers and were treated to a great clash, ERin Isle will need to wait another year but can take great solace from their run to the final. For Old County thoughts of three in a row will be in their minds, but they will hold that for another few months as they head off to celebrate this win. A big thanks to Chris Gallagher and Breda Boyle for seeing these league through to their conclusion.