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Allianz-Irish Independent Officers Club Challenge at Mount Juliet

Woodenbridge team qualify for national final – by Liam Kelly Irish Independent

WOODENBRIDGE made it a family day out in the Allianz-Irish Independent Officers Golf Challenge qualifying event played at magnificent Mount Juliet in beautiful summer conditions.

The county Wicklow club was represented by captain Mark Burke, lady captain Siobhan Saunders, and her husband, Kevin Saunders who is the club’s 2013 vice-captain.

Their combined total of 77 points on the two-to-score stableford basis featured a strong finish on the last three holes which was a remarkable performance on the closing stretch given the heat factor.

It was very hot. At one stage we were pouring bottles of water over us, but the course was spectacular and in magnificent condition,” said captain Mark.

Speaking of the Mount Juliet experience, Mark summed up the feelings of all the participants when he said: “It was an absolutely magnificent day. The course was spectacular and we enjoyed the day immensely. A big ‘thank you’ is due to the sponsors Irish Independent and Allianz for giving us the opportunity to be part of this competition.”

Brendan Murphy, CEO of Allianz, was happy that the guests got their chance to play such a fine course at its best, and also commended Mount Juliet Golf Director Francis Reynolds and the staff for the quality of the service and hospitality as well as the conditioning of the 18 holes.

Rathsallagh’s team of captain Francis Donnelly, lady captain Eleanor Brazill, and President John Mullen battled hard for 74 points which put them in second place.

We felt we left a few shots out there. The pin positions were quite tricky and it was a tough course, but overall we managed ourselves around it quite well.

When we got in and were re-hydrating, we felt there would be a better score to come in but we were thrilled when we heard we had qualified for the final,” said captain Francis.

Rathsallagh kept their scores ticking over and didn’t blank any hole which is always a positive at Mount Juliet no matter what the format of the competition.

Third place qualifiers on 73 points were The Heath, represented by captain Kevin Woulfe, lady captain Mary Culliton, and honorary secretary Joe Dunne.

Lady captain Mary is a popular and well known figure in ILGU circles. In addition to being a fine golfer, she has captained Leinster to women’s interprovincial championships.

Courtown from County Wexford captured the final qualifying slot. Captain Karl Caulfield, lady captain Barbara Long and President Brendan Sheehan amassed a total of 68 points which was enough to see them through.

Karl admitted that his team struggled from holes 10-18 inclusive which was their front nine because it yielded only 27 points. However a storming show over their homeward stretch brought in a super 41 points and got Courtown over the line.



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