Finlans win Father and Son

by Gazette Reporter
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MICHAEL and Stephen Finlan emerged as the 2015 Father and Son All-Ireland golf title at Castle Golf Club, claiming the title for the third time as they ended up ahead of a field of over 500 golfers from more than 100 different clubs.
The week-long event is renowned for its friendly atmosphere and this was evident from the qualifying rounds and right through all the matchplay stages and the tournament is the biggest open event on the Irish golfing calendar.
On the first qualifying weekend, the O’Reillys of Elm Park, on their first visit to The Father and Son led the qualifiers with a net score of 67 and they then went all the way through the matchplay stages to the final.
The Smyths were the leading Castle pair on 68. The leading gross score of the qualifiers was 75 by Morgan and Robbie Pierse of Grange.
Sixty-four pairs qualified for the Matchplay stages of the event, which commenced on Monday and ran every evening during the week.
Former Arsenal and Republic of Ireland footballer Niall Quinn and his son, Michael, from Naas Golf Club played in the competition and only just failed to qualify for the matchplay stage.
In the knock-out phases, the big story of the week was the eventual winners, the Finlans. This was their third win in this event following their wins in 2005 and 2013. For the father Michael Finlan, this is actually his fourth win as he also won the event with his father, Ben, in 1979.
Three days into matchplay, the defending champions, the Grimes (Killeen Castle/Portmarnock), were beaten by local Castle pair the Donnellys two and one. The O’Reillys (Elm Park) staged the comeback of that night coming from three down with three to play to win out on the 19th.
They were emerging as major contenders but so too were the Finlans who saw off the McEvoys on the Thursday evening with an 18th hole victory to put them through to the last 16. They followed up with a victory over the Whelan team to make it through to the final four.
The opening semi-final provided some thrilling golf where the O’Reillys (Elm Park) came from three down early in the match against the Quinns (Castle) to secure a place in the final after a long putt for par on the 18th.
In the second semi, the Caseys (Blessington Lakes/Elm Park) came up against an in form Finlans who secured victory on the 14th green.
And they carried that through to the final with yet another big win as they beat Paul and Louis O’Reilly of Elm Park five and four in a hard fought final.

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