DECLAN Dooher, the captain of Banbridge Golf Club, has just announced his team captains for the incoming season - all 22 of them.
They are all very experienced in the captaincy role and they will all have great expectations for their teams. They will not all win but, like every other season, one or two of them will emerge victorious.
This is the centenary year for Banbridge Golf Club so any team success would be something special.
Inter-club matches are very exciting and most enjoyable to take part in. If you have never had the experience, then maybe this is your opportunity. Team sheets are already being posted on the notice board. Have a look and see if there is a space for you.
Here is the list of captains and the opening fixtures:
SENIOR CUP: Paul McAleavey will captain this team and the qualifying round is at Rossmore on Sunday May 26. This is the one trophy that has eluded the local category one golfers. They were beaten last year in round one by Lurgan. Paul will be hoping to lead his team to the final stages this season.
BARTON SHIELD: Rory Leonard retains the captaincy of this team. Banbridge won the Ulster title last season and lost in the All-Ireland final. This year’s competition begins at Tandragee on Sunday June 16. Banbridge will play Warrenpoint in round one and, if successful, will play the winners of the match between Portadown and Castle Hume.
JUNIOR CUP: Rory Madeley captains this team once again. The qualifying round is at Lisburn on Sunday June 2. Banbridge have a wonderful record in this competition and they got to the Ulster quarterfinal last season. Rory will be hoping to progress a step further this time.
THE JIMMY BRUEN: Peter Hillen is the new captain of this team. The qualifying round will certainly not be easy as they have to travel to the Farnham Castle Estate on Sunday May 5. Foursomes is a very unpredictable format but, if anyone knows how to motivate a team, it’s Peter.
THE PIERCE PURCELL: Dominic Quinn once again captains this team and he will prepare meticulously as he always does. The qualifying round is at Portadown on Sunday May 12. Banbridge have lost in the opening round in the last two years. Dominic will expect his men to do better than that this time out.
GUI MIXED FOURSOMES: Gerry and Denise McBrien take over the reins of this team and their qualifying round is at Spa on Sunday May 19. Banbridge have failed to qualify these last three years despite putting out strong teams. Hopefully, their luck will change this season.
BELFAST AND DISTRICT CUP: Paul Magee captained this team last season and they lost to Belvoir Park in round three. Paul knows he has the personnel well capable of winning this cup and that will be his aim.
ULSTER CUP: Brendan Meade is captaining this team for the third year in a row. They have won a few matches and suffered some very narrow defeats. They play Loughgall in round one this year and let’s hope they get off to a winning start.
ULSTER FOURBALL: Merton McDowell captains this team once again. His team reached the quarter-final last season where they lost to Mannan Castle. This time round, they meet Rossmore in the opening round. It’s a tough draw but that won’t scare Merton.
SENIOR COWDY: Kenny Stevenson captained this team to victory last season. Their final win over county Armagh was one of the highlights of the year. Kenny’s first round opposition this year are Spa. It’s a difficult draw but, if you’re going to win it, you have to beat all the top teams.
JUNIOR COWDY: Colin Smylie captains this team once again. The Banbridge Junior Cowdy team have reached the final twice in the last three years. Surely they must win it soon. Perhaps this is their year.
ROSSMORE CUP: Jim Matthews captained the winning Banbridge team in 2011. He would dearly love to repeat that feat. This year his first round opposition are Nuremore and, if successful, they would meet Rockmount or Warrenpoint. It won’t be easy.
SAM RUTHERFORD: Shane McCrory takes over the captaincy of this team. They will play Rockmount in round one and, if victorious, will play either Edenmore or Kilkeel. Banbridge are strong in this handicap section and, with a bit of luck, could very well win this cup.
JACK CRAIG MIXED FOURSOMES: Seamus and Jacinta Rooney captained the Banbridge team to victory in 2010 at Downpatrick. They will be trying very hard to repeat that performance this year. The tournament takes place on Sunday August 11 at Killymoon.
MID-ULSTER SENIOR ALIANCE: This senior’s inter-club league is played over ten rounds throughout the summer. The Banbridge team will once again be under the guidance of Dougie Stevenson. Dougie is always hopeful of Banbridge’s chances. Maybe this could be their year. The first round will be played at Downpatrick on May 7.
VETERAN’S CUP: Dougie Stevenson will also be in charge of this team. Banbridge have a tough draw in round one, against Ardglass. The away leg will be played on May 14.
COWDY SENIORS: This one-day event will be played at Ashfield Golf Club on Tuesday September 17. Sydney Pepper will captain the Banbridge team. No better man!
CARLINGFORD CUP: Cathal O’Neill is captain for another year. Banbridge reached the semi-final last year and the final the year before that. Could they lift the trophy this season? There is no reason why not. The qualifying venue has yet to be decided.
THE FRED DALY: This is the premier juvenile inter-club competition in Ireland. Chris McAvoy will captain the Banbridge team and his first round opponents will be Crossgar. If they get over that hurdle, they will meet either Portadown or Malone.
RONAN RAFFERTY: Banbridge have lost in the second round in each of the last three years. Michael Young’s team have got a bye into round two this season where they will meet either Silverwood or Spa. Perhaps this is their chance to progress to the final stages.
IRISH JUNIOR FOURSOMES: Banbridge have a very poor record in this particular event. Luke Woods would surely like to do well this year, as he is the Juvenile Captain of Banbridge Golf Club. The qualifying round is at Moyola Park on Tuesday July 23.
BELFAST TELEGRAPH FOURSOMES: Banbridge usually sent two pairs to this popular tournament. Eugene Weir will decide who is fortunate enough to travel.
There you have it! The clubs wish all the team captains every success in the coming season.
- There was an 18 holes stableford competition at Banbridge Golf Club on Monday March 18. It was called the St. Patrick’s Day Stableford even though it was the day after all the celebrations.
The weather was bitterly cold but the course was playable. As it transpired, it was the best day of the week.
Paul Faulkner (13), now fully recovered from his injury, took first place and he was delighted. Paul scored 39 stableford points.
John Poots (17) was second, also with 39 points. John, who entertained everyone in the clubhouse during the centenary celebrations on the previous Sunday, was in top form and only missed out on first place on countback.
Gordon Enderson (24) took third prize with 35 points.
There was a double celebration for Paul Faulkner as he scored the only two on the day and scooped up a very respectable pot.
The weather worsened after Monday and little or no golf was played. Saturday’s
two ball scramble, sponsored by The Seven Stars Restaurant, was postponed to a later date.
When will winter end and spring begin? Someday soon, we hope.