Royal Curragh and Ballykisteen battle for All Ireland glory

​​​Royal Curragh and Ballykisteen will battle for All-Ireland glory in the GUI Four-Ball Championship following their semi-final victories at Millicent GC​

  • 16 September 2017

Caption: Wet conditions were the order of the day at Millicent Golf Club in Clane, Co.Kildare for the Four-Ball semis. Photo by Golffile.


In the first of Saturday's semis at the Kildare venue, Royal Curragh claimed a 3-2 win against Castle Hume from Fermanagh. The Leinster champions secured their place in the final when Ricky Geraghty and John Delaney combined for a 3&2 success in game three. 

Derek Kelly and Frank Archbold put the first point on the board when they cruised to victory in just 12 holes. While Castle Hume took the top match courtesy of Malcolm Brantley and Ryan Bell, who prevailed 2&1, Royal Curragh had another point thanks to Thomas Powell and Shane O'Callaghan, 4&3 winners of match two.

That meant Geraghty and Delaney were centre stage. Having sealed the winning point in the Leinster final, they came good once more to send Seamus Egan's side into the final.

"It's absolutely brilliant," said Egan. "It's nerve wracking at times. We were lucky to win it. Castle Hume are a tough team."

Already, this group have confounded Egan's expectations: "A lot of lads did not know each other when we started. When I looked at it first, I thought: 'Oh my God, there are 92 teams in Leinster.'"

At first a daunting prospect, now Royal Curragh find themselves on the brink of All-Ireland success but Ballykisteen stand between them and the title.

The Munster men enjoyed a relatively comfortable victory against Ballina, finishing strongly to take the contest 4-1. Michael Ryan and Adrian Usher sealed the winning point on 16 following wins for William Hanly and Pat Toomey (2&1), and Brendan O'Keefe and Mark Timmons (3&2).

Team captain Kevin O'Hora was flush with excitement: "We weren't expecting a whole lot coming up, to be perfectly honest. The Holy Grail for Ballykisteen was winning the Munster title. Anything after that is a bonus and we're delighted."

Originally from Ballina, O'Hora's heart beats green and red. His thoughts will turn to Croke Park on Sunday afternoon when Mayo seek that elusive All-Ireland football crown. By then he hopes to have Ballykisteen's first green pennant in the bag.

"I'm hoping for two wins tomorrow. Absolutely," said O'Hora. 'I'd prefer to be playing. It's not the same when you're managing because you've your bit done before the team go out."

The waiting game has already begun. At 9am on Sunday morning, the final gets underway and the winner should emerge just before Dublin and Mayo hit the grass at Croke Park.

GUI Four-Ball Championship
All-Ireland Final
Sunday 17 September
At Millicent Golf Club

Royal Curragh v Ballykisteen
Matches at 12-minute intervals (Royal Curragh names first)
0900 Stephen Kinneavey (17) & Patrick Mangan (19) v James Keane (16) & Chris Conway (20); Thomas Powell (16) & Shane O'Callaghan (21) v William Hanly (16) & Pat Toomey (20); Ricky Geraghty (17) & John Delaney (19) v Ray Kelly (16) & Adrian Usher (21); Derek Kelly (17) & Frank Archbold (19) v Brendan O'Keefe (18) & Mark Timmons (19); Paul Murphy (16) & Stephen Schwer (20) v Michael Ryan (17) & Peter O'Donnell (19)

Saturday 16 September
Royal Curragh 3 Castle Hume 2
Stephen Kinneavey & Patrick Mangan lost to Malcolm Branley & Ryan Bell 2&1; Thomas Powell & Shane O'Callaghan beat Ryan Corrigan & Fred Cowan 4&3; Ricky Geraghty & John Delaney beat Mark Masterson & Steven Reid 3&2; Derek Kelly & Frank Archbold beat Paul Holder & Joe Woods 7&6; Pat Freeman & Paul Duignan halved lost to Fergal Lunny & Damien Love 3&2
Ballykisteen 4 Ballina 1
William Hanly & Pat Toomey beat David Greham & Ollie Bolton Jnr 2&1; Raymond Flynn & Denis Ryan halved with Gregory Battle & David Kavanagh; Brendan O'Keefe & Mark Timmons beat Gerry O'Mahoney & Bernard Hanrahan 3&2; Michael Ryan & Adrian Usher beat Michael Parson & John McManus 4&2; James Keane & Christopher Conway halved with Des Fox & Ollie Bolton