Kings of the Castle

by Dave Donnelly

NINE days of superb golf came to a close at the All-Ireland Father and Son Foursomes competition at Castle Golf Club in Rathfarnham last Sunday as 500 entrants were whittled down to just four on finals day.
Michael and Tadhg Kellett of Clontarf faced off against the synonymously David and David McGrath duo from Portmarnock for the overall prize; and it was the Kelletts who emerged victorious in the battle of north Dublin.
It was a spirited performance from the losing pair, who were four down with five holes to play before winning the 14th and 15th to leave themselves in with a shout of an exciting comeback.
However, when the McGraths missed a birdie putt on the 16th green, Michael Kellett chipped in for a birdie of his own to win the match 3&2 and take the crown for 2017.
The tournament kicked off on Saturday, July 1 as the first field of 125 pairs teed off their qualifying round in breezy conditions.
Matt Maher was playing in the event for his 30th consecutive year, alongside his son Martin, while Gus McCarthy of Elm Park managed a hole-in-one on the 15th hole, the only ace of the day.
The cut was set at 76.5, and Sunday saw the holders Jody and Harry Fanagan of Milltown breeze through the qualifiers as a cut-off of 75.5 was set with some 76s making it through.
The matchplay rounds pitted two former intercounty footballers, Dublin’s Paul Curran (with son Luke) and Laois’s Michael Turley (with Jake), against each other with the Dubs emerging victorious.
Cian and John Scully came out on top of the round’s most closely-fought encounter, easing past Elm Park’s Tony and Rory O’Shea following three play-off holes.
2014 winners Paul and Paul Grimes of Portmarnock won their Monday match to set up a second-round tie with Eamonn O’Doherty, their opponent in the final that year, and his son Gary.
It was a bittersweet 71st birthday for the elder Paul Grimes, however, as Gary O’Doherty holed in one on the 10th to ensure he and father Eamonn progressed to the last 16 at their home club.
The Fanagans beat Declan and Sean Lacey of Newlands in the last 16 and Naas pair Vincent and Lloyd O’Rourke to book a quarter-final spot, while the Currans lost out to Stan and Gerald Parkinson.
Castle pair Garry and Paul Flood ended the Fanagans’ one-year reign as champions in the quarters while David and David McGrath won a hotly-contested battle with Hugh and Neil Millar of Grange.
The weather was stunning on Saturday but the Floods came crashing down regardless, beaten on the final hole by the McGraths, while the Kelletts beat Sean and Paul Pardy of Hermitage 2&1.
And it was the Kelletts who would engrave their name on the trophy for 2017 following a final that lived up to the action of the previous eight days.

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