September Echo Team of the Month – Castle Golf Club
By Stephen Leonard
CASTLE Golf Club ended a long wait for the AIG Junior Cup in September after they beat Lurgan in the Final at Carton House.
Having fallen at the last hurdle back in 2006 and again in 2014, the club was extremely hungry to go all the way especially having captured the Leinster Junior Cup title on six occasions – five of them coming in the last 11 years.
This year they had to negotiate a tough All-Ireland semi against Tralee 3/2 with Paul Whelan clinching the victory for the Dubliners on the 19th after Harry Gleeson and Tommy Smyth had notched up wins.
It set them up for a mouthwatering decider against a Lurgan side who had come through their respective semi-final as convincing 4/1 winners over Athenry.
In the Final the two sides were deadlocked after Gleeson and Fergal Moran carded wins for Castle while Keith Percy and Gareth Hanna did likewise for Lurgan.
It meant the prospects of Castle’s first win in this competition rested firmly on the shoulders of 15-year-old Tommy Smyth, who had incidentally opted not to open the envelope containing his Junior Cert results until after the close of the All-Ireland.
That decision was to prove a wise one as he remained totally focused in his decisive match against Lurgan’s Andrew Cummins, which culminated in a superb 15-foot putt on the 17th to secure a 2&1 win and, with it, the coveted prize for his club.