Rosapenna claimed the first national title in the club’s 117-year history with a dramatic victory over Dromoland Golf Club in the Spanish Tourist Board sponsored All-Ireland Mixed Foursomes at Clontarf Golf Club last Friday the 7th of September.
The famous victory came after Rosapenna claimed the Ulster title against Mannan Castle just one week previous.
The decisive blow came at the 21st in the first match, where Con Boyce and Suzanne Gallagher scored a winning par four to a bogey five by Mark Reynolds and Maria Nolan to seal a 3.5-1.5 victory over the Co. Clare side.
The foundation of Rosapenna’s victory in the final was laid in the final two matches, where Enda Kennedy and Dympna Kelly beat Nicholas Duggan and Angela White by 3 & 2 before Marty McDermott & Orla Lenny beat Mark Hogan and Yvonne Shanahan 4 & 3.
Dromoland scored a win of their own when Tony Cleary and Dorothea Madden beat Pat and Kit Boyce by 2 & 1 in the second match out, leaving the title to hinging on the result of the other two matches.
The other two matches, however, saw nothing between the sides and both finished all square after 18 holes.
Boyce and Gallagher for Rosapenna eventually came out on top on the 21st while the other game between Rosapenna’s Frank Casey Jnr and Terri McBride and Dromoland’s Declan O’Leary and Mary Arthur were still all square on the 19th hole and looking like going down the 20th before being called in to join the joyous celebrations in front of the Clontarf clubhouse as Rosapenna had clinched their first All Ireland title.
Rosapenna team captain Peter Smyth was understandably delighted with his team’s performance. Indeed, so careful was he not to tempt fate that no accommodation arrangements were made for his team after they accounted for Rathfarnham by four matches to one in Thursday’s semi-final with Enda Kennedy & Dympna Kelly out first winning 3&2, Pat & Kit Boyce out second winning 2&1 and Con Boyce & Suzanne Gallagher out fourth winning 6&4 while Frank Casey Jnr & Terri McBride out third were all square on the Par 4 16th and Marty McDermot & Orla Lenny out last were one up on the Par 4 14th hole when called in.
“We came up in hope more than anything else,” Smyth explained.
“We had a problem getting accommodation on Thursday night because we didn’t expect to be in the final on Friday and to come out and win is absolutely unbelievable.”
The Irish Mixed is Rosapenna’s first title, either at provincial or national level, a staggering fact considering the club was founded is almost as old as the GUI itself, founded in 1895. This was the 41st staging of the event with Rosapenna becoming the 38th different club to win it and just the 10th club from Ulster after City of Derry claimed the 2011 event.
Team captain Smyth added: “It’s history because it’s our first time to win an Ulster title and our first time to win an All Ireland title. I’m just so happy for the players, the team, the club, Frank Casey and everybody associated with Rosapenna. It’s absolutely amazing.
“They are a great group to work with. From the day we qualified at home on the Old Tom Morris Links we dropped four of our men and took the four low men in and it seemed to work. Our strategy was low men, and high women and it worked. The men helped to keep the women’s feet on the ground and the only advice I gave the men was don’t be getting your women into trouble.
“I skirted around everybody. I kept everybody advised of what the scores were in each match and if their heads were dropping at any stage I just said get your head up and it worked for the most part.”
All the players who competed on Thursday & Friday would like to pay a special thanks to the team captains Bernadette North & Peter Smyth for the dedication to the team all summer and to all the support from other club members & family in Dublin on both Thursday & Friday, it was great to see the friendly faces in the crowd particularly on Thursday when we faced Rathfarnham G.C in the semi final who had huge support as they were a local club.
And to all the members who joined the huge cavalcade from Cranford and all those who were present at the home coming on Friday night at the Pavilion and to everyone who organised the bomb fires and fireworks, it was very much appreciated and a great day for Rosapenna Golf Club which will be long remembered.
Sponsored by the Spanish Tourist Board but started in 1972 as a competition between clubs in Connacht and Leinster, the Irish Mixed Foursomes has evolved into a National event, and is now in its 40th year as Ireland’s only Mixed event at adult level. With entries exceeding 325 clubs each year, there is immense competition within clubs to secure a place on the club Mixed team.
Club panels generally include up to 12 men, and 12 women, all competing for a place on the ten-person team, made up of five pairings.
This means at the start of each season there are almost 8,000 men and women involved in the Irish Mixed Foursomes hoping to reach the National Finals.
Winning a blue Ulster pennant and an All Ireland green pennant within 7 days is a huge achievement for any golf club.
Well done to all the players who have shown great dedication to the team and the golf club with the many practice rounds and travelling all over Ulster for matches and to Dublin for the finals, the gold medals/brooches are very well deserved!