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County Louth’s Adam Doran will be bidding to become the first home winner for 34 years when he takes a one-stroke lead into the final two rounds of the East of Ireland Amateur Open at Baltray.
The 26-year old second school teacher took advantage of an early tee-time and added a one-under 71 to his opening 70 to lead on three-under par from Royal Dublin’s Sean Ryan, Palmerstown House Estate’s Ross McCormack and Portmarnock Links’ Eugene Smith with the entire field covered by just seven strokes.A two-club wind was blowing when left-hander Doran, who only joined the club from Ardee at the start of 2018, took to the links and made three birdies in his first 10 holes before following bogeys at the 11th and 13th with five grinding pars to finish and post the only sub-par score of the day.But the wind soon gusted to 40 mph in the afternoon with the overnight leader, Malone’s Matthew McClean, following his opening 66 with a 80 to finish the day on two-over par.That 1995 win for Declan Branigan is the nearest a local has come to victory in the East since County Louth’s Finbarr Ronan won by eight strokes in 1985.But while Doran admits he is entering uncharted territory, he believes he has the experience around Baltray to lead from the front and challenge for what would be a dream victory.“While I don’t have huge expectations, I will be positive and ready to go,” said Doran, who teaches French and Irish at Drogheda Grammar School. “Myself and Oonagh Purfield Goulding won the East of Ireland Mixed in Castleknock last year after leading from the first round and I have led a few scratch cups after the first round and won all of them so maybe I am okay at the front. “I will try and draw on that experience anyway. It is all a bit of dream but it is a great experience and I will definitely relish it tomorrow. It will be a great day.”A former member of Ardee, Doran only joined County Louth to keep his father Liam company and his local knowledge paid off yesterday.“I’ve known County Louth all my life and when my dad retired, he joined as a present to himself so I said I’d go along for the journey,” said Doran, who scrambled superbly for his 71, taking just 27 putts. Thurles’ Aaron Ryan, Portmarnock’s Darragh Coghlan and former winner Paul O’Hanlon are lurking just two shots behind in joint fifth on one-under with hugely experienced players such as Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell, Pat Murray and Gary Cullen tied for eighth with Portmarnock Links’ AJ McCabe and Tralee’s Fergal O’Sullivan on level par.Fifty-four players made the cut for the top 42 and ties on four-over or better with senior international panellists Ronan Mullarney and Robert Brazill making it on the mark after round of 75 and 77 respectively.“Anyone who makes the cut has a chance right now,” 47-year old Murray said after a his 75. “It was mad out there today — a four-club wind for us in the afternoon. And with the wind set to blow again tomorrow, I’d take two 72’s right now and gladly stay in bed.”
START LIST ROUND 3
START LIST ROUND 4
RESULTS AFTER 54 HOLES
Picture:Adam Doran (Co Louth)Courtesy Pat Cashman, Cashman Photography