Leinster Inter County: Gents Inters Romp to Victory

The 2nd staging of the Leinster Inter County for Inters & Juniors took place at Castletown on Saturday and it also saw Dublin enters a ladies Inter team into the event for the 1st time as they teed up in Gael Colm Cille. The morning’s proceedings began with a minutes silence for Castletown secretary Marie O’Neill who passed away after an illness last month. The Dublin Inters were out in the opening pairings and Charlie Egan’s charges were expected to mount a serious challenge after missing out on a podium finish last year. The opening holes saw the Inters make a slow but steady start as they came to terms with the early morning cool and dewy conditions. They passed the turn in -5 and were trailing their playing partners Louth by three shots. As the morning heat kicked in so did the Dublin challenge and they found their form on the back nine particularly the pairings of Tom Brady & Glenn Woodward who posted five birdies on the back nine to finish with a 49. The middle pairing of captain Paul Griffin & Chris Cawley were -3 through 9 but they pitched superbly on the back nine to end with a highly impressive 45. In the final group Eric Byrne & Gary Ryan had played well but perhaps their scoring had not done justice to some sublime pitches and they rounded off the scotch with a very solid 48 to bolster Dublin total to -20. Louth too had retained their advantage and finished on -23. The hosts Meath and holders WestMeath were in the final pairings and expected to mount a serious challenge and although both played well, West Meath on -21 came closest to challenging the Louth team who lead the nine teams into the singles.
The Junior team captained by David Lee were in action with Offaly and unlike the Inters made a fast start on the opening nine holes, especially the middle pairing of Jack King and Jay Condron who were -4. Dave Lee and MJ Maher played well without getting the rewards with birdies and eventually finished with a 54. The leading duo of Jonathan Dillon and David Roy finished with an excellent 49, however the scotch belonged to Jack King and Jay Condron as they built on their stunning start and eventually posted a best of the day 44. The overall score of -15 saw Dublin just two shy of the leaders West Meath and with Wexford on -14 and Meath on -12. It promised to be a tight affair as the team entered the singles.
The Inters were first into action and were anxious to make inroads into Louth lead from the off. The opening singles saw Tom Brady out to make a point and Tom put together a hugely courageous and carefully crafted round as he found his form over the opening holes and sunk a succession of putts on the back nine to propel Dublin to a 47 and put them back into the lead. The Dublin onslaught of excellent scoring continued with Glenn Woodward adding a 49 and Chris Cawley matched that score. With the opening three singles all breaking 50 the marker had been laid down to Louth but they were not relinquishing their lead and after a 52 from Paul Griffin and a 51 from Gary Ryan, Louth were still 4 clear, but that all changed in the final match as Dublin Strokeplay champion Eric Byrne showed his class with a 47 and he outscored his Louth opponent by seven shots to move Dublin three clear.With them overtaking their nearest challengers, the guys had to sit back and see could anyone match or beat their fantastic -49. Realistically it would be Meath or WestMeath but as both hit the turn it was clear Dublin would not be caught and in the end secured a massive twenty one shot win over Meath. It was a well deserved victory for a team who have put some much preparation into these championships and worked so hard to peak on the day. Paul Griffin was the model captain encouraging each of his players and getting the best from them and Manager Charlie left no stone unturned in order to have his team ready and the perfect pairings on the day. Well done to them on a fantastic win.
The Juniors knew they needed to keep things tight in their singles. David Roy was sailing along on -1 after 8 but found trouble on the treacherous 9th to derail his excellent scoring but he recovered well to finish with a solid 56. Jonathan Dillon was rarely in trouble as he played a highly controlled round of 54 that would have pleased his manager. Jack King too played well over the opening nine, but found trouble on the back nine and was unable to salvage his round finishing with a 62. Jay Condron the star of the scotch like David Roy saw the cruel side of the 9th and it badly affected his back nine as Jay was to finish with a 63. MJ Maher fought hard throughout and was desperately unlucky with the putter and was to end with a 59. David Lee the captain and anchor man had lead from the front in his singles display throughout their preparations and showed great resolve to recover from +2 to finish on -2 and end the Dublin Junior team’s inter county on a high. The singles scoring sadly was not enough to earn the guys a podium finish and they finished 4th as West Meath took the title
The Ladies in their debut performed well, Carol Tracey, Betty Cody, Mary Fullam and Siobhan McDonnell represented us in this stableford style competition. Siobhan McDonnell was the start with a 38 point total in her singles.Their 4th place finish saw them narrowly miss the top three and they can be pleased with their performance.
The Seniors enter the fray on Sunday hoping to add more silverware to that of the Juveniles and Inters. We wish them well. Saturday though belonged to Charlie’s charges after their majestic masterclass that simply blew the field away.