Dunmurry's awesome foursome win All-Ireland title

AFTER an eighty-nine year wait, all the ghosts have been laid to rest, when Dunmurry golfers, Darren Crowe, Stephen Crowe, Glenn McAuley and Patrick McGlone, captured the All Ireland Title in the Barton Shield Foursomes, for the very first time in the club's 105 year existence.

Since 1921, a solitary green All Ireland pennant has hung in the hallway of Dunmurry Golf Club issuing echoes of a past glory, for all that cared to look upon it. The Junior Cup triumph, that year, represented a challenge to many within the club, and only once before, in 1983, have the club managed to reach the National Finals, after a victory in the Ulster Section of the same Junior Cup competition.

The year 2010 will now stand out as the club's finest year after a simply astonishing team display at Castlebar Golf Club, resulting in a first senior victory. It was sealed by a four foot putt by Stephen Crowe after a stunning pitch shot from Glenn McAuley, which can only be described as majestic.

Sign up to our daily NorthernIrelandWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Dunmurry have never done things the easy way. Their Ulster Final success came after the withdrawal of Chris Bradley and Noel Murray. Up stepped Graeme Dickson and Glenn McAuley.

Added to that, the mother of all comebacks, two holes down with two remaining, they fought back to level the match to ensure sudden death. In sudden death two more holes were required before they secured victory.

Then on to the National Finals, and with Graeme unavailable for selection, 19-year-old Patrick McGlone stepped in for his first ever competitive foursome appearance.

The team, led by Tony Cassidy, travelled to Castlebar Golf Club to compete in the National Finals, as Ulster Champions last week, where they met Munster Winners, Bandon in the semi-final.

Nerves were clearly showing and, although never behind in the match, the team struggled to a one hole win. Darren and Patrick, earning a half match, and Stephen and Glenn winning the final hole, with a two-putt birdie, after Glenn found the green in two on the par five.

Up next for the Dunmurry team, was Leinster Champions Headfort, after they had beaten Galway in their semi-final, by a comfortable seven hole margin.

Darren and Patrick, had a dream start, six holes to the good after nine, owing largely in part to the stunning play of rookie Patrick, who showed no signs of nerves. More birdies followed on the back nine and the pair stood 5 up with two holes remaining.

Stephen and Glenn, had a much tighter match on their hands, playing against Irish International Rory McNamara, and his partner, Brian Casey.

Behind for most of the day, they fought hard to keep the match as close as possible, and by the sixteenth hole, the margin was just one.

The Headfort pairing found the green, some forty feet from the pin but a errant approach from Stephen, left Glenn with a difficult shot, from a downhill lie in the thick rough. He slid his lob wedge underneath the ball and it popped up onto the green, rolling four feet past the hole.

Stephen duly holed the putt and the Headfort boys three putted, putting the match beyond their reach.

"It came out exactly the way I wanted, and it gave Stephen a putt for par. We thought the putt would be for a half, but, as it turned out, it was the winning putt of the match," said Glenn.

Amid the jubilant celebrations, Team Captain, Tony Cassidy paid tribute to the four boys, in particular to their preparation and dedication throughout the week.

He said, "The lads were magnificent. From the day they arrived here they put a lot of hard work into achieving this result. The conditions on Monday meant that they could only play nine holes in practice, but they still spent six hours on the course, walking the entire eighteen holes, pacing it and making notes."

Stephen added: "When we arrived at Castlebar on Monday, and saw the vast array of trophies on display, it really inspired us. To look at all the previous winners of the Barton Shield, made all of us even more determined to see Dunmurry's name on there."

Darren said: "The whole week was a unique experience, and in some ways we felt added pressure playing for our club, wanting to do well, in particular for those who travelled down to support us. It certainly showed in the semi-final but I think we used it to our advantage in the final and both pairings played some brilliant golf."

The entire team had special praise for Patrick, whom, as Stephen had said: "Has only been playing foursomes for five minutes!"

"He was magnificent," said Darren. "It made it much easier for me to follow up his good shots."

Patrick added, "I can't believe I have an All Ireland gold medal. What a fantastic experience this whole week has been. Darren's experience guided me and gave me confidence to play the way I did."

Club Captain John Bennett was on hand, to see history unfold. "The dedication and professionalism they put into their game should be commended. It made me immensely proud to receive, as Captain of Dunmurry, the Barton Shield and Green Pennant as Champions of Ireland."

Final words were left to Tony, who finished by paying tribute to the entire senior squad. "They have been practising since early January to achieve a result like this. I am delighted for them that it has paid off in such a wonderful fashion. The caddies too, should be commended on their support and commitment. They have given up a lot of their time to help the lads achieve this."

He also thanked the many members of the club who made the trip down to cheer on the team. "We are all very grateful to those who made the effort to come along and support the boys. It certainly gave them a tremendous desire to win this for the club."

The season is not yet over for the squad, as they contest their third successive final of the Belfast and District Cup, against Galgorm Castle, at the beginning of October. A win would give them a third straight cup title and surely round off a truly remarkable season.