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AIG Cups and Shields - Day Two Review and Video

​Royal Dublin and Greenisland strike gold

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  • 17 September 2015

​AIG BARTON SHIELD

Royal Dublin return to the top table
  
They have been waiting 47 years to get their hands on the AIG Barton Shield yet the All-Ireland title came quickly in the end as The Royal Dublin enjoyed a 12-hole victory against Galway.

Shaun Carter and Jeff Hopkins were seven holes ahead playing the 14th in the top match when the result was confirmed as Ian O'Rourke and Barry Anderson made par on the 12th to put the Leinster champions 12 clear with 11 holes remaining.

"I don't know was it that easy," said Cork-native O'Rourke although the winners were never under major pressure. "We holed a 10-footer for birdie on the first and then from there we just kept giving ourselves loads of birdie chances. I think getting off to that good start made us that bit comfortable that we could relax a bit. We weren't stressing or worrying that much, we could just play golf I suppose," he added.

While O'Rourke and Anderson birdied two of the first three holes to take control of the back match, Carter and Hopkins fell behind after a bogey on the third. They quickly bounced back, winning the next five holes as Galway pair Joe Lyons and Stephen Brady dropped three shots during a bad run from the fourth to the eighth.

"Once we got three or four up we were just in cruise control," said 23-year-old Jeff Hopkins, who joined Royal Dublin three years ago from Skerries. "And then it was up to the guys to put it up to us and they were pressing and they were pressing a bit too hard."

At the halfway stage, the champions enjoyed an eight-hole cushion. O'Rourke and Anderson were four up at the turn having been three under on the front nine.

"It's hard not to let yourself think about what's coming in the next hour if you keep going the way you're going," O'Rourke admitted as the winning line came into view. "Last year's experience was a help. We knew you have to keep the concentration because especially in this format it can turn around quite quickly. Two holes can go in the space of 10 minutes."

The 24-year-old tax consultant tasted defeat at the semi-final stage 12 months ago when Warrenpoint beat them on the second extra hole. There was no chance of a repeat in 2015. While Galway were trying to find a way back into the match, Royal Dublin were unrelenting. Carter chipped in for birdie on the 11th to stretch the lead to five holes in the top match while a par at the same hole for O'Rourke and Anderson increased their lead to five as well.

"I think last year after the disappointment of coming so close and losing in a play off in the semi-final, it's made it that bit sweeter for us," said O'Rourke, whose successful partnership with Sligo man Anderson has been a huge part of Royal Dublin's resurgence in the last two seasons.

Among the Royal Dublin gallery for the final was Mick Costello, who played on the last club team to win the Barton Shield in 1968. Costello partnered the legendary Noel Fogarty in that final against Limerick with Dermot Herlihy and David Corcoran the other pairing on that winning side. Little did they think it would be this long before the club would witness another success.

AIG JUNIOR CUP
Greenisland's glory day
 
It was a glorious day for Greenisland as the nine-hole Belfast club captured the AIG Junior Cup title after a nail-biting finish against Westport.

John Armstrong emerged as the hero of the hour when he claimed the decisive point on the 18th green having come through a rollercoaster encounter with David Scott.

All square playing the 16th, Scott safely found the back edge after Armstrong had dumped his ball in the water. Unfazed, the 60-year-old got up and down for bogey with his second ball and that proved good enough for a half as Scott took three to get down from the back edge.

"That up and down at 16 was the best up and down I've ever seen," said Greenisland team captain Jonathan Greer. There was far less drama at the next although a two-putt par gave Armstrong the lead heading down the last.

With both players safely in the fairway, Armstrong cut his approach into a bunker while Scott found the back of the green. However Scott's putter went cold at the death and a three-putt from long range left Armstrong with a four-footer for the match. His ball seemed to travel in slow motion towards the hole and after it perched on the edge, gravity eventually took over.

"I was worried, I thought it was short," said Greer.

"It was like a Tiger Woods moment," reckoned Armstrong and when the putt went down, there were celebrations to match.

"Last year we got to the Ulster final but for a nine hole club like from the middle of nowhere to come out on top in Ireland, it's just unbelievable," said Greer, who masterminded an All-Ireland victory at just 21.

"I'm very proud to be a part of it," said Armstrong. "The credit goes to Jonathon Greer, he must be one of the youngest team captains at 21 years of age, a young gentleman. He had the nerve to bring me in. He said, 'I know you'll not let me down.'"

For Westport, it was their second All-Ireland final defeat in three years. Anto Browne and Sam Gillivan had put points on the board to leave them just one game from victory and it looked like the green pennant was heading their way with Scott one up playing the 15th. However Armstrong turned things around to give Greenisland their first ever All-Ireland title.

PHOTO: Greenisland celebrate, courtesy of Cashman Photography. CLICK HERE FOR MORE IMAGES

AIG PIERCE PURCELL SHIELD
Gort and Thurles progress to Purcell final
 
Two former champions will meet in tomorrow's final of the AIG Pierce Purcell Shield after Gort and Thurles came through the last four.

Gort are the most recent winners having captured the All-Ireland in 2003 and they booked their place in the decider after a comfortable 4-1 win against Nuremore from Monaghan. When the first two matches fell to the Galway men, John Moylan and John Tierney were able to bring home the winning point in the anchor leg.

Munster champions Thurles, who won their All-Ireland in 1997, were too good for Grange in the first semi-final. The Quigley brothers, Shane and Stephen, led the way with a 5&4 victory in the back match while Martin Fahy and Gerard Ryan took the second match 3&2. John McGrath and Tommy Quigley, who won a green pennant with Thurles in '97, clinched a third point for the Tipperary men. Tomorrow's final gets underway at 10.30am.

AIG Cups and Shields
At Carton House

Thursday 17 September

AIG Pierce Purcell Shield
Semi Finals

Thurles 4 Grange 1
Paddy Dwan & John Dwan halved with Mark Dermody & Dean Costello; Martin Fahy & Gerard Ryan bt Darach Connolly & Brian Tuite 3/2;  John McGrath & Tommy Quigley bt William O'Dwyer & Niall Barry 2/1; Ciaran Clohessy & Jack Looby halved with Michels Cronin Jnr & Robin Benn; Shane Quigley & Stephen Quigley bt John Nolan & Brendan P Lehane 5/4

Gort 4 Nuremore 1
Pat Curtis & Michael O'Dell bt Shane Cassidy & Noel McNally 4/3; Gerard Connors & David O'Dell bt James McGeown & Jason Hughes 4/2; Brendan McHgh & Matthew O'Halloran halved with Seamus Finnegan & Ken Murray; David Daly & Michael Ryan halved with Cormac Lane & Brain Busby; John Moylan & John Tierney bt Stephen Quigley & Pat Sheridan 4/3

AIG Junior Cup
Final
Greenisland 3 Westport 2
Andrew Ervine bt Tony Bree 4/3;  Jamie Campbell lost to Anto Browne 2/1; John Armstrong bt David Scott 1 hole; David Winning lost to Sam Gillivan 3/2; Michael Hayes bt Fergus Rothwell 5/4

AIG Barton Shield
Final
Royal Dublin bt Galway 12 holes
Shaun Carter & Jeff Hopkins bt Joe Lyons & Stephen Brady 7 holes; Barry Anderson & Ian O'Rourke bt Ronan Mullarney & Colm Hughes 5 holes.

Friday 18th September

AIG Senior Cup 
Semi-Finals
8am
Athlone v Maynooth University (Athlone names first)
Colm Fitzgerald v Ronan Mullarney; Niall Carroll v Kyle McCarron; Daniel O'Connor v Declan Loftus; Thomas O'Connor v Stephen Kinch; Kevin Sheehy v Jack Walsh

8.45am
Knock v Limerick (Knock names first)
Michael Sinclair v Pat Murray; Colin Fairweather v Sean Poucher; James Patterson v Mike O'Kelly; Mark McMurray v Darragh Fitzgerald; Simon Miskelly v Justin Kehoe

AIG Pierce Purcell Shield Final

10.30am
Thurles v Gort (Thurles names first)
Pat Coote & John Dwan v Gerard Connors & David O'Dell; Gerard Ryan & Martin Fahy v Pat Curtis & Michael O'Dell; John McGrath & Tommy Quigley v Tom Finneran & Frank Gillane; Ciaran Clohessy & Jack Looby v David Daly & Michael Ryan;  Shane Quigley & Stephen Quigley v John Moylan & John Tierney

AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield Semi-Final

11.45
Castlebar v Greystones (Castlebar names first)
Tommy Moylett & Ian Brennan v Con Thomas  & Jack Joyce; 
Paddy Burke & David Walsh v Paul Keane & Ben Hynes; Kieran Horkan & Johan Collins v Keith Lewis & Pete Murray; John McHugh & Gary Corbett v Gavan McGirr & Ray McDonnell; 
Mick Kilcourse & Shane Rice v Eugene Strong & Cian Gilmore


12.30
Ballybunion v Fortwilliam (Ballybunion names first)
Des O'Donnell & Iarla O'Mahony v John Michael McAuley & Alan Hawthorne; Ronan Cross & Finbarr Carrig v Declan Hughes & Martin McKeown; Mark Dilger & Kevin Frost v Eamonn O'Kane & Billy Rooney; Brian Slattery & Adrian Walsh v Paddy McDiarmid & Marshall Sharpe; Dale O'Sullivan & Brendan Daly v Aidan Hawkins & Patrick McGurnaghan.

PHOTO: Greenisland celebrate, courtesy of Cashman Photography. CLICK HERE FOR MORE IMAGES​