Gowran Park win Barton Cup!
Saturday the 5th September saw Gowran Park Golf Club securing it’s first Barton Cup and it’s third pennant in four years. Having taken a healthy lead of 4-1 from the first leg on the 21st August at home, the stage was set for what potentially could mark a special weekend for the Kilkenny club. Although a healthy lead was developed, manager Matty Byrne and assistant manager Joe Farrell warned off any complacency and the usual preparation ensued. The weather leading to the second leg seriously hampered preparation but as usual the panel made serious sacrifices to make practice. As usual, the team was difficult to decide upon such is the talent for players to pick from. With Kevin Fennelly passing a late fitness test and Liam O’Grady unavailable the only addition to the team was Dave Kearney. The team selected to play in the following order was 1) Kevin Fennelly/Dave Kearney, 2) Shane O’Brien/Ger Treacy, 3) Niall Kiely/Nicky Cleere, 4) Mark Hennessy/Rioch Walsh, 5) Thos Farrell/Eoin Jordan.
Lucan Golf Club was immaculately prepared considering the weather and with just a light breeze blowing conditions could scarcely have been better. Having remarkably won every match as the away team, Gowran were battle hardened and visibly up for the game. The most notable of starts came form the third pairing of Niall Kiely and Nicky Cleere in the third match out. The Gowran pairing started with a birdie on the first and promptly followed it with another on the second. The Lucan pairing had no answer and duly stood on the third tee a little bemused. The writing was on the wall. With a sizeable following from Gowran all five pairings battled bravely on the first nine holes, the more difficult nine, and kept any potential runaways from Lucan at bay. Through nine holes all matches were marginally down with the exception of Niall Kiely and Nicky Cleere who’s opponents fought back to birdie the ninth and only be one down.
The back nine is where the Gowran men showed their true grit. Although the wind was gradually making things tougher, they stuck to their task and in the space of twenty minutes there was no match down. Mark Hennessy and Rioch Walsh (the youngest member of the team and quite a prospect) battled heroically back from four down to square their game through sixteen holes. Thos Farrell and Eoin Jordan came back from three down at one stage and showed the class which defeated a foursomes partnership which included Paul Dunne (Irish International playing off +2) in the semi-final against Greystones. Kevin Fennelly and Dave Kearney came back from two down and hauled their match to the 22nd and somehow you got the sense that they would not be beaten.
Having secured a half on the sixteenth, Niall Kiely and Nicky Cleere went two up with two to play and were close to securing the match which at the very least would secure a playoff. Having parred the hole it was up to Lucan to birdie to extend the match – a feat they could not accomplish. It was now five matches to one and only one more match from four was needed. Gowran need not look further than the match behind where, Shane O’Brien and Ger Treacy stood all square on the 17th tee. Bizarrely, the hole was interrupted by an air show in nearby Weston airport and the players had a visit from stunt men in parachutes. They joined the proceedings at the right time….. Having laid up in two Shane O’Brien hit a superb approach to seventeen from which Ger Treacy narrowly missed the birdie putt to bring the game down the 18th. The 18th, another par 5, belonged to Gowran. Once Lucan hit the water with their third the crowd sensed it was a matter of time. Shane O’Brien hit a smart bunker shot for the Gowran pairing’s fourth and with Lucan only on in five it was two putts to win the Barton Cup. The huge crowd gathered around the 18th in anticipation of the two putts but Ger Treacy had other ideas. From 15 feet Ger rolled in a superb putt to par the hole and take the Barton Cup for Gowran Park. Rarely has their been as sweet a victory. At the time of wining Gowran were down in no match such was their dominance. Final scoreGowran Park 7.5 Lucan 2.5
Gowran Park would like to thank their sponsor MDEnergy which in difficult times backed the team and management. The supporters were magnificent also and the effort and commitment that was shown was remarkable. The official homecoming and celebrations are fixed for Saturday Oct 3rd at 8pm in Gowran Park Golfclub – a well deserved evening. All are welcome.