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Barry holds on to finish top of Murphy's competition

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Barry holds on to finish top of Murphy's competition thumbnailBarry Murphy accepts the Mickey McNally Bowl from Martin McNally and last year's winner Martin Corr. Also pictured is this year's Captain Ryan Murphy

AS the late great Sid Waddell once commentated "they've Shakespeare on BBC 2 but you can't beat this for drama".

With more twists and turns than a Sherlock plotline, the last outing of the year for Murphy's Golf Society proved to be one of its most exciting finishes.

Although turnout was disappointingly lower than usual, those who did make the trip to Bundoran were not only treated to the most clement of autumnal weather but a standard of golf that was a pleasure to be involved in.

Going into the final outing of the year it would seem that the title was Barry Murphy's to lose.

Indeed his nearest competitor Ciaran Harte was the only golfer who appeared anywhere near being a challenger to his apparent unassailable position with Martin Corr a considerable twelve points behind at start of play.

After the first five holes things appeared to be going to plan as Barry had consolidated his position at the top keeping Ciaran at arms length and increasing his lead on Martin to thirteen points.

But like the great American Triple Crown champion Secretariat, the race isn't over till it's over and on the turn of the back nine, it was Martin Corr's time to kick off and begin his sprint for the line.

Bundoran's very own Amen Corner, the long par 10, 11 and 12, absolutely swung the match around and by the time the short Par 3 13th came along Barry's strong lead had disappeared and Martin only trailed by one.

However with all Martin's low index holes used up Barry had a few more chances to get back into the match and as both player's came down the 18th he had managed to extend the lead back to 3.

Knowing that Martin would need at least a birdie on the final hole to get level, the pressure was again off and as Barry sunk his bogie 5 putt, the title was his and a very relived Barry became the fourth winner of the Mickey McNally bowl.

The late Mickey would have enjoyed immensely the great drama that unfolded over these final 18 holes of the year and it was a fitting tribute to his memory that one of the great finishes in the history of the society should have happened on the very course that he hit the first ball to officially open it in 2014.

Special mention has to go to Ciaran Harte who valiantly kept the excitement going right to the end but with youth and skill on his side he will no doubt soon be the deserving recipient of the Golfer Of The Year as this is the second year in a row he has finished runner up.

The final table for the 2017 year finished 1st - Barry Murphy 170 points; 2nd Martin Corr 167 points; 3rd Ciaran Harte 164 points.

But as the final fourball were heroically battling it out their own hall of fame battle, another epic contest was taking place among the other competitors for the overall winner on the day.

Fittingly it was a McNally that put in a round worthy of being called one of the best ever since the society was formed.

With 44 points, Martin McNally's almost flawless round was by far the best score ever achieved at any of the outings and will be a score that is likely to stand as the highest for many years to come.

This was just perfect golf from Martin's whose round included 7 par's and only one double bogey.

His absolute dominance on the day was confirmed by the fact that not only did he win overall first place but also picked up the spot prizes for Longest Drive and Nearest The Pin.

The standard set by Martin was matched by many players, one of whom was Frank Harte who had to make do with second place with 41 points. This number of points on any other outing would have absolutely blown everyone else out of the water but Frank can count himself very unlucky to have come up against an inspired McNally.

After a very shaky couple of first holes Colm Quinn soon found his range and form and with 21 points he was the narrow winner of the Best Front Nine following a tight count back with Peter Corr.

Again, Colm's overall score of 38 points showed how exceptional the standard was when he didn't even make the top 3 on the day.

Martin Corr's exceptional homeward score of 21 points not only clawed him back into Golfer Of The Year contention but also saw him claim the Best Back Nine.

Finally Patrick Conway was the only winner of the 2's money prize and went home with all the takings.

And so the 2017 season is finished and what a finished it proved. Congratulations to Martin Corr, Barry Murphy and Ciaran Harte on making it a memorable one and here's to next year and an even more competitive one.

Many thanks to all the members who participated throughout the year and the society looks forward to welcoming you all back again next season led by the new Captain, Anthony Corr.

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