Milltown Golf Club in Dundrum was celebrating last weekend after they recorded an historic and unique achievement at Balbriggan Golf Club when their ladies intermediate and junior teams both won the East Leinster titles in the provincial phase of the 2014 Private Home Care Inter-Club Championships.
Their progress in the knock-out competition, playing five singles matches to a conlusion in each round has seen the intermediate team, managed by Phil O’Gorman, and the junior team under the stewardship of Mary Logue, perform impressively at each stage to reach the national finals which will be played at Monkstown Golf Club in Cork from September 24 to 27.
The intermediate team, made up of Mary Jennings, Mary Bolger, Thecla McDowell, Kathryn Connolly, Mary Rose Binchy, Ann Devlin and Niamh Mahon, started their journey in March against Rathfarnham, and won the next five rounds to progress to the East Leinster final against Corrstown last weekend.
There, they won 3&2, with 19th hole wins from Binchy and an 18th hole win by Devlin securing their place in the national finals.
The junior team – Sarah Buckley, Claire Fitzgerald, Judith O’ Sullivan, Sarah Brophy, Bernie Griffith, Aileen Harnett, Gillian Dawson and Jenny Bourke – started against Greystones in April and, four rounds later, were faced by Newlands in last weekend’s provincial decider. There, more dramatic wins on the 18th (Brophy) and 21st holes (Bourke) put them into the inter-club deciders.
Speaking to GazetteSport after the East Leinster successes, Milltown’s ladies captain, Aisling O’Grady, said: “This was the first time in 10 years that the juniors have won the Leinster title, and I think it is more than 30 years since the intermediate team won their last title.
“To win two pennants in one afternoon is a big deal. Lots of clubs get to finals, but to get two teams there and for both of them to win is very special.”
In the finals to be played at Monkstown, Milltown intermediates will face Wicklow in the quarter-final, meaning a tight schedule and a potential semi-final the next day against East Cork. The junior team, on the other hand, are straight through to the semi-final of their competition were they will play the winners of the match between Lurgan and Castlebar.
“We haven’t done our homework yet on our opponents at this stage, but we will be ready when the time comes,” said O’Grady. “It will be close, as they have won in their districts, and you can see how many matches you have to win to reach this stage.”
O’Grady hopes that this success for the ladies will have a knock-on effect on future membership and success at Milltown.
“It gets lots of people playing – it’s like Wimbledon – when a clus is successful, it brings the level up, and will be a foundation for the future.”