This year’s tour took place near Portmarnock, County Dublin, Ireland from 14 to 18 May and was a roaring success. Planned many months ago it seems to have come and gone so quickly!
2 teams led by captains John and Andy Hunter battled it out in the usual Irish windy conditions on three of the best courses in the area; Royal Dublin, The Island and Portmarnock Golf Club. The teams competed in a Ryder Cup style event and managed to avoid any bad weather with just a couple of very small showers and a 5 minute hale storm, remarkable for Ireland!
The first day saw Denis Lafferty from Saccone and Speed, who kindly sponsored the event through Guinness, hit the first ball of the event, straight down the middle! Andy’s team came out on top at this great course. Andy took a healthy 3v1 lead into day 2.
A trip into Malahide, a local small town, saw the gang enjoying several Guinness at a great local pub called Gibney’s, but we had to go back for a quick night cap with Guedo, the Italian bar man at the hotel who was a character to say the least.
After a good night’s sleep at the wonderful Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links Resort, John’s team came out fighting, a little shaken by day 1 result but ready to get right back on it for day 2. The Island Golf Club provided a tougher test than Royal Dublin with a few narrow fairways, 1 of which was almost single file! Plenty of blind tee shots made you think and hope for the best but the much sunnier conditions made the course a pleasure to play on. Winning 2.5 v 1.5 on day 2 brought the tournament score back to just 1 point in it at 4.5 v 3.5 to Andy’s team.
Getting a little fatigued now with 2 days of being blown around by the bracing Irish winds, the boys headed off into Malahide once more for a quick bite to eat and then back home to bed, ready for the all important day 3.
All to play for on the final course at Portmarnock Golf Club, the Old Course as it’s known locally. We played the Championship layout which has hosted the Walker Cup and many other big events. With fairways like carpet this course truly was a pleasure to play. Stopping the ball on some of the greens was almost impossible and many a traditional links bump and run shot was witnessed that day.
As is usually the case, the event went down to the wire and the first 6 singles matches gave a 3v3 result so Andy was holding his lead. The penultimate match went to John’s team so it was all square with just the 1 match to come in…
… and it’s 1 more point to John’s team, taking the inaugural Med Golf Guinness Ireland Tour by the slimmest of margins at 8.5 v 7.5 points. Well done to John and his team.
Many reflections were made over lunch in the splendid surroundings of the wonderful wood lined clubhouse, 1 of which was Andy’s decision on the final tee box. John and Andy’s match was all square and John made a sporting gesture and offered a half to Andy who had a shot in hand against John on the hole. Ever the optimist, Andy politely declined and said he thought he could win it for the team. Unfortunately for Andy, John played a great final hole to par and took the match by 1. I have to say, crucial as the decision actually ended up being, I tale my hat off to Andy who in the writer’s opinion made the right decision, never gave in, was confident and did his best, great attempt.
Summoning up a touch more energy the boys took a trip into Dublin city on the last night and had even more brilliant pints of the black stuff. Temple Bar, as always, was bustling and a great time was had by all.
Not departing until 2 the next day, a somewhat subdued and very tired group sat drinking tea and coffee for a few hours before embarking on the journey back home to Gibraltar.
During our time away, Denis confirmed Guinness agreement to sponsor the next Med Golf Tour and plans are already in place to investigate a trip to Northern Ireland at a similar time in 2013.
Many thanks again to Denis and Saccone and Speed, to John and Andy for leading the teams so well and to all the guys who came along for playing the game in a great spirit and gelling well as a group .
For more photos of the event go to this link on our Facebook page (Opens in new window)
Look out Northern Ireland here we come!!