arna Golf Club claimed its first All-Ireland title when the women captured the AIG Insurance Junior Foursomes crown at Knightsbrook on Saturday.
With both Bearna and opponents Powerscourt looking for their first title, it all hinged on the last hole. Bearna, however, held their nerve, cleared the water, and finished just off the back of the green. In contrast Powerscourt dumped two balls in the hazard, conceding the hole to Bridie McNamara and Tara Cunningham.
Bearna team captain Catherine Quinlan said it had been a tight match throughout.
"Powerscourt were down a couple of holes, but they fought back, and that’s what match play is all about. It was lovely for us to win it, but I feel sorry for Powerscourt because it was their first time in an All-Ireland final as well as it was for us.”
Bearna had come through a closely fought semi-final against championship specialists Lee Valley and they had to endure another nerve-wracking encounter against Powerscourt. With the back match going the way of the Wicklow ladies and Bearna taking the middle match 4 & 2, it all came down to the first game out on the course. All square playing the last, McNamara and Cunningham secured the winning point after safely negotiating the most intimidating tee shot on the course.
“It was very exciting and we were delighted to get to this stage because we’ve never been here before,” said Quinlan. “We’ve been through to district finals, but we’ve never been to an All-Ireland final. It’s the first and the first of anything is great.”
Bearna had booked their place in the final when Caroline Codyre and Barbara O’Keefe sealed the winning point against Lee Valley.
There was heartbreak for Portumna in the final of the minor cup when they lost to The K Club on the first extra hole. Portumna’s Brid Kelly won the 18th to square the tie in the decisive match, but Noirin Donovan came back to win on the 19th. Portumna had booked their place in the final after a commanding victory over Donaghadee with Veronica Curtin, Brid Kelly and Lily Graydon winning their matches with ease.
In the intermediate cup, Loughrea were narrowly beaten by Malahide in the semi-finals. Trish Ryan got the better of Loughrea’s Sharon Mooney on the 18th to seal the decisive point.
In the junior cup, Athenry were beaten 3-2 by Limerick. Wins for Maria McNamara and Nicola Nally gave the Galway club a shot at victory, but when the top match went Limerick’s way on the final green, Athenry bowed out.