Ladies too good for men in Horseshoe Challenge

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One of the highlights of the golfing calendar at Lurgan is the annual Horseshoe Challenge between the men and the ladies.

The men have dominated over the last few years but this year Lady Captain Fiona Cummins and match and handicap secretary Katrina Bradford were able to put together a strong team to “stop the rot.”

Lady President May Baxter, ably assisted by Fiona Rowan, led the way when they took on the men’s young guns Adam McCleary and Aaron Callaghan and were able to contain them with a half match. Next up was Sian Mulholland and her partner Clare McGourty who played past captains Hammy Baxter and Sean Wilson and with some sparkling golf the ladies sneaked the first point full point of the evening.

The third match was the battle of the captains with Fiona and Fran McCann facing Ian Cousins and Martin McCooe. Mr Captain and his vice certainly led by example and won the men’s first full point on the 8th green to level the match. Word was filtering back from down the ranks that the ladies were doing well but a lot of matches were still to tackle the 5, 6 and 7 where the men all had shots so there were still a few nerves jangling.

However Lady Captain Fiona had nothing to worry about as new member Pamela Morrow and her partner Anne Knox gelled perfectly and gave Tom Douglas and Alex Denver a lesson in four ball golf to put the ladies one match ahead. The standard of golf in the next match was of a very high quality when the Ulster winning senior foursomes partnership of Niamh McSherry and Orla O’Dowd faced Garfield Bell and Roy Hanna and despite a valiant effort from Garfield, scoring 11 points over three holes, Orla and Niamh secured a half to make the match 3 to 2 in the ladies favour. Liz Denver and Maeve Cummins were one down to Kevin McKavanagh and Neil Dillon playing the last in what was certainly a crucial match. Maeve drew on all the experience of her tender young age and hit two cracking shots to be sitting nicely on the green in two. Liz was just as impressive securing the two stableford points for the team allowing Maeve the luxury of two putts to win the hole and halve their match. With the score line now 3.5 - 2.5 Heather Shaw and Debbie McCollum followed in quickly on their heels with the winning point when they defeated Davy Herron and Alastair McCaffery and the trophy was secured for the ladies with the men taking a consolation point in the last match when Keith Percy and Paul Lyness beat Elaine Bell and Susan McMorrow. Both captains thanked all the players for supporting the event and the ladies were jubilant in seeing the trophy returned to their hands. Hopefully this is the start of a winning week for the ladies as their senior foursomes and Junior Cup teams travel to Trim to compete in the All-Ireland finals and everyone wishes them the best of luck in their matches.