Triumphant scenes as Elm Park and Newbridge lift pennants

​​​​​​​​Following two very sporting and hard fought finals Elm Park and Newbridge lifted Leinster pennants amid loud cheers, from their army of supporters during following the Leinster Finals of the AIG Junior Cup and AIG Pierce Purcell Finals last weekend.

  • 31 July 2018
Pictured Ollie McGuinness (Captain Newbridge GC) competing in the AIG Pierce Purcell - All Photos Copyright Golffile

Carlow Golf Club played host to the finals but due to heavy overnight rain,  play on Saturday morning was delayed by 45 minutes, however when the matches got under way, supporters were treated to golf of a high standard.

The AIG Junior Cup quarter finals were first into action with four quarter finals down for decision. In the first match Rathdowney defeated Knockanally 4/1. 

The second quarter final match saw Elm Park take on Newbridge, with the very strong well balanced Elm Park team winning by 3.5/1.5.  The third match was between Woodbrook and Enniscorthy, with the south Dublin side winning comfortably by 4.5/0.5 with the last match between Greenore and Malahide with the former prevailing by 3.5/1.5. 

So the scene was set for the afternoon Semi-finals which saw Rathdowney face Elm Park, and Greenore meeting Woodbrook.  As play got under way the teams were greeted by a mixture of sunshine and showers but it didn't deter the players or lessen the quality of the golf being played. The first team through to Sunday's final was Elm Park captained by Aidan Claffey, who defeated Rathdowney 4/1. Their opponents who emerged after a much tighter match were Greenore captained by Seamus Mc Parland, who is also Leinster Men's Captain and who is no stranger to the role.

Showdown on Sunday morning both teams faced the starter in the quest for victory! Intermittent showers and blustery conditions were the order of the day but the large number of supporters who braved the conditions were treated to some excellent golf. With the tie on a knife edge, both teama having won two matches, Elm Park held their nerve to win the deciding game and lift the title as AIG Junior Cup Leinster Champions.

To loud cheers Lenister Golf Chairman John Ferriter presented the winning Captain Aidan Claffey with the spoils.  In his speech he thanked his team for the effort and commitment they gave and he said that "1989 was the last year the club won a Junior Cup Pennant and after a lapse of 29 years it was time to hang another one beside it. Our journey won't stop now and we look forward to our trip to Tipp for the AIG All-Ireland Cups and Shields Finals."

Elm Park - AIG Junior Cup Leinster Champions

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AIG Pierce Purcell - Newbridge win first ever Cups & Shields pennant

Teams from Luttrellstown Castle, Wexford, Royal Tara and Newbridge lined up on Saturday morning to seek a place in the Leinster final of the AIG Pierce Purcell Shield on Sunday morning.

Following two close encounters the boys of Wexford overcame a stout challenge from Luttrellstown Castle to emerge victorious by 3.5/1.5. The second Semi-final saw Royal Tara take on Newbridge who proved too strong with a 4/1 victory.  As the teams headed for a well deserved nights sleep spectators were divided as to who would lift the coveted pennant on Sunday.

So it proved the final was as expected, a very close affair played in tough conditions with strong winds and a prolonged period of rain.

The early exchanged and reports from the course had Newbridge in control. However midway through, the pendulum was swinging towards the men from Slaneyside.  Newbridge drew first blood winning the first game 4/3. Wexford soon levelled matters winning the second, the third went the way of Newbridge leaving them needing one of the last two to clinch victory. They didn't have to wait too long as their Club Captain Ollie McGuinness playing in the final match, holed the winning putt to seal victory! The scenes which followed will long live in the memory of all involved as this win secured the first ever Cups & Shield pennant for the club.

Presenting the pennant to winning Team Captain, Thos O'Toole, Branch Chairman,  John Ferriter wished them well as they represent Leinster in the AIG Cups & Shields All Ireland finals at Thurles GC from 4-7th October.

Thos O'Toole in his speech said "the team were in training for the last six months and no matter how high he set the bar the players responded which resulted in him being confident the lads would deliver on the day. This pennant will hang proudly in the clubhouse and hopefully with the same commitment from the players they will do their club and Leinster proud in the All Ireland finals".

All players and officials were lavish in their praise for the condition of the course, and hospitality shown to all by Carlow Golf Club. 

Newbridge - AIG Pierce Purcell Leinster Champions 

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