Cairndhu golfers celebrate silverware

There was double cause for celebration at Cairndhu Golf Club over recent weeks as the Holt Shield and Belfast and District Cup were both won by players from the Ballygally club.

The Holt Shield team defeated Bangor in the final last month to bring the prestigious silverware back to Cairndhu for the third time, following wins in 1989 and 2018.

The winning team on the day, captained by Gary McKinstry, was Matt Hyslop, Ryan Garrett, Jonathan Anderson, Andrew Beatty, Stephen McCourt and Gordon Best.

In the home leg Cairndhu narrowly lost the opening match, but had two wins shortly thereafter. Two matches went down the 18th all square, with Cairndhu vitally winning one whilst the other ended in a crucial half. This left the score 3.5 to 1.5 overnight.

Cairndhu's victorious Holt Shield players.

In the second leg at Bangor, Cairndhu started well and had a big win meaning one more point was needed. Bangor then won two matches to bring the score to 4.5 - 3.5. Cairndhu then holed a great putt on the 15th to win the point needed. The other match finished shortly after with a win to Bangor.

Gary said: “Everyone missed playing during the pandemic, so it was great to be able to stage the tournament again this year. Cairndhu is a family club and for a club the size of ours, with only around 350 members to win the shield is fantastic. The players put in a great shift and deserve the success. Thanks also to everyone who supported us.”

Meanwhile, the Coast Road club’s Belfast and District Cup team beat Fortwilliam in the final held at Ballyclare Golf Club on September 19.

The successful team was Brian Galway, Nicholas McClay, Ryan Long, Ryan McKinstry, Ethan Campbell, Marc McKinstry and Neil McKinstry. This was Cairndhu’s fourth time winning the cup, after winning in 2005, 2007 and 2016.

Cairndhu's winning Belfast and District Cup team.

In the early matches Fortwilliam and Cairndhu both went ahead early on in a match apiece and went on to win a match each.

In the middle matches Cairndhu held a strong lead in one match, going on to win it 5&4 to bring the score to 2-1. The remaining matches on course were fairly tight. Cairndhu were down in two of the matches but turned these around to be leading, and were also up in the final two matches, meaning things were looking good. The matches progressed and Cairndhu won two matches on the 17th green to get to the four points needed to win the cup. The final two matches were called in with Cairndhu up in both.

Team captain, Paul Stinson said: “The Belfast and District Cup has had a number of big winners in its history, including Bangor, Lurgan and Shandon Park. Winning it for the fourth time is very special.

“This year, we got a bye in the first round, before progressing past Balmoral, Lisburn and Scrabo. We then faced a strong Banbridge in the semis. They had got the better of us in the final two years ago, so it was good to come out on top this time. We faced tough opposition in the final and I’m confident Fortwilliam will be challenging for trophies in the future.”


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