That’s What Tipperary Ladies Are Made Of.
On Saturday morning the warm welcome, friendly feel and excitement around Tipperary Golf Club was an absolute joy. Midweek visitors had been very complimentary about the course, putting it up with some of the very best that they have played. Today however brought the place to a whole new level. I don’t think I have ever seen the course in better condition. The sun was shining, lighting up the Clubhouse and surrounding holes. The expectation of seeing our own Ladies alongside a few ex-professionals and some picks for the European Team Championships was so exciting. An unusual but constant ‘ping … ping … ping’ could be heard coming from the Driving Range. The ILGU were on hand and everything was ready to roll, let the games begin.
The morning draw saw us up against a fine Mallow team in a see-saw match which went right down to the wire. Yvonne played some superb golf to bring in an early first point, finishing with a win on the 13th. Anne battled and battled but her Mallow opponent proved just too strong on the day. One a piece. Renagh swung things back in our favour with a really solid win on the 16th 3 up. Everything would come down to the final two matches. Fantastic shots from Mallow on the 17th and 18th had Aoife under a bit of pressure with her match still all square. She held her nerve to sink a knee-knocking 8ft putt on the 18th to bring her match into extra time. Two fantastic shots down the 19th left her with a great chance for an eagle. Ultimately a birdie was good enough to bring in the final point to push us over the line. Mary, still battling with her opponent, got called in giving us a 3.5/1.5 victory. Woo hooo, we could breathe again, we were through to the quarters.
The thrill of the morning win brought on the daunting prospect of a youthful Lahinch team with an average age of 21 and handicaps ranging from +3 through to -4, every one with a swing to die for. Now this was going to be a really tough nut. Would the experience and guile of our own Ladies be enough to crack it? The Tipperary support was fantastic and it was wonderful to see Rita Daly out cheering on the team. We got off to a slow start with all our matches being down through 4 holes. It would have been easy to drop heads and claim that these big-hitting young ladies were just too good. NOT A CHANCE OF IT. Every single TGC Lady showed their true grit, fighting to keep their match tight and in the balance. Aoife turned her match right around, playing some fantastic golf in the process. Through the 9th she was up in her match and pushed home her advantage over the next few holes to deliver a fantastic point against Sinéad Sexton 5&4. First blood TGC. Would or could this rattle Lahinch? Joe battled all the way, never giving in. Only a sublime up and down for par from behind the 15th green saw her opponent half the hole, taking the point by 4&3. The matches with Yvonne and Renagh were right in the balance for a long time. A few might-have-been putts from Tipperary along with some beauties from the opposition proved to be the difference, keeping the Lahinch Ladies just out of reach in the final few holes. Their matches were finally decided on the 17th with Lahinch taking the spoils by 2&1 in both. Mary, with so much match play experience, kept her match alive and was called in from the 17th leaving the result at 3.5/1.5. I don’t know if we should congratulate or commiserate with our team. Even the opposition might admit that you were so very very close to pulling off the shock of the weekend. I’m settling with congratulations to both teams, that was a wonderful performance against top quality opposition.
The standard of golf on Sunday went up another notch, leaving many of us a little green with envy. How can these ladies hit the ball so far and so straight with seemingly so little effort? I have come to the conclusion that some things in life are just downright unfair and golfing ability comes high up on that list. That said, wasn’t it beautiful to see and hear the quality of ball-striking that was being delivered. The final on Sunday afternoon saw Killarney see off Lahinch (3/2) in a very exciting match. The final result came down to the last putt on the 18th green. Big congratulations go to Valerie Clancy from Killarney who gave everyone a huge thrill with her Hole-In-One on the 7th.
The level of support given by Club Members for the event was tremendous. It is impossible to name everyone but you know who you are. Our thanks must start with the course staff along with all the painters and willing bodies who helped to prepare the course and outside areas. The quality of the course, especially the greens, was exceptional and was commented on over the entire weekend by both members and visitors alike. Weekend volunteers, helpers and officials, you were fantastic. The number of people involved was amazing, with everyone doing their bit with a great Tipperary smile. From the early morning starters in the Golf Shop, the very best Meeters & Greeters, Car-Park Supervisors, Locker-Room Supervisors, Team Hosts, Caterers & Helpers, Cleaners, Ball-Spotters, right through to Caddies & Team, please stand up now and give yourself a pat on the back. Without every single one of you things could not have gone as well as they did. Supporters, you were really given a treat this weekend. Having spectators out on the course makes it all so much more exciting, we hope you enjoyed. Our thanks go to Tipperary Driving Range who also showed great support for the event making sure that all was in order for the surge of golfers that descended on the Club. For many of the visiting golfers this was their first port of call. We are very lucky to have you as our neighbour.
To the ILGU, we would like to congratulate you on a superbly run competition. We were delighted to be involved and we keenly await your return. Our congratulations go to all teams that participated. The quality and sporting nature of all the matches gives great credit to the Clubs involved. We wish this year’s victors, Killarney, the best of luck in the Finals. Eight teams qualify for the All-Ireland Finals, five district winners and the three best runners-up. We also wish the best of luck to Lahinch who also qualify. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the two were to meet in the National Final. The ILGU Report on Golfnet will give you all the details.
Now that the dust has settled special mention must go to the one and the only Aoife Lowry. From the very start Aoife has been the driving force at TGC for this event. Her project management skills and commitment to the task were exceptional. While taking on much of the background workload herself she also showed the foresight to delegate where appropriate and was the key organiser of and willing participant in the various groups helping on the course and around/in the Clubhouse. Even with all this on her plate she still managed to put in a fine performance in the Irish Women’s Open Stroke Play Championship, just narrowly missing the cut, and proceeded to lead the team from the front over the weekend winning her point in both matches. This included a deserved win against the well renowned Sinéad Sexton from Lahinch who was recently selected on the Irish Women’s European Team. All of this went by with a smile on her face and an ‘I did nothing, sure isn’t everyone else doing all the work’ type of comment. Aoife, you are absolutely fantastic, well done and thank you so much from us all.
Ladies and Gents of TGC you have excelled and outdone yourself yet again.