THE first leg of the Carlingford Cup semi-final between Banbridge and Warrenpoint was played over the Huntly Road Links last Sunday.
The Banbridge team, which has been captained by Cathal O’Neill, Colin Wilton and Hugo Downey, knew that they needed in excess of 20 points from the first leg. There are 32 points up for grabs in each leg, four for each of the four singles and 8 for each of the two foursomes.
Shane Bell (6) was first out against Jason Pepper (7). Shane was in sparkling form. He won the first nine two up, won the second nine three up, won the match overall and collected the maximum four points. What a start1
Seamus Rooney (7) didn’t get it so handy against Neil McConville (8). Seamus was one up after nine but couldn’t shake Neill off. Their game finished all-square and that was two points to each team.
Young Paul Downey (11) was a revelation. He had the upper hand against Barry Laverty (10) throughout. Paul won the first nine two up and won the second nine three up. It was another maximum 4 points for Banbridge.
Declan Barry (8) had a very close game against the experienced Seamus Colgan. They were level after nine holes but Seamus got his nose in front over the second nine and held on to win the game one up. Declan got half a point.
The foursomes are crucial in the Carlingford Cup, seeing as they carry double points.
Hugo Downey and Josh Crory were up against Fergal McConaghy and Kieran Caldwell. Hugo and Josh made very few errors and they found themselves two up at the turn. They halved the second nine, won the game and picked up a massive seven points.
It was an even better story in the second of the foursomes games. Mark McCoy and Malcolm Russell were just too sharp for Jim Sommerville and his son, also called Jim.
Mark and Malcolm won the first nine two up, the second nine two up and the game by 4 and 3. That added up to a maximum eight points from that game.
The score, after the first leg, is Banbridge 25.5 and Warrenpoint 6.5.
Banbridge are in a really strong position going into the second leg at Warrenpoint next Sunday. But there is no room for complacency. They need 7 points for victory and a place in the final. It sounds easy but strange things happen all the time at golf.
It’s looking good and let’s hope for no slip-ups.