ULSTER FIRST FOR JUNIORS

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LURGAN Golf Club’s Junior Cup team has brought home the Ulster Pennant for the first time in their history.

Kevin McKavanagh’s mostly young side of Lawrence McGrady, Michael McSherry, Philip Shaw, David Magee and Gareth Hanna played superbly at Edenmore to close out a narrow 3-2 victory over Fortwilliam GC with ice cool David Magee holing a slippy 20 foot birdie putt on the 18th green to seal the win.

There was a frustrating start to the day as hailstones, thunder and lightning led to an hour stop in play but the clouds soon gave way, as the sun shone on the Lurgan side.

Supporters from both clubs travelled in numbers to try and roar their team to victory.

Those supporters were surely treated to a nerve-wracking game as all five matches were close with nobody stretching out an early lead.

However, Fortwilliam did bag the first two points, going up 2-0 but Philip Shaw, Gareth Hanna and David Magee saw out victories to seal the win for Lurgan.

Hanna, who had lost a four hole lead on the front nine, showed character to regain composure and, with the help of caddy Uncle Roy, claimed a 3 and 2 victory over Gary Currie, winning the 11th and 12th before sealing victory with a nice up and down on the tough 16th hole.

Philip Shaw’s match was even more topsy-turvy as the youngster came back from three down with five to play to claim a stunning point on the 18th green. A nicely played birdie up the par five 15th helped the comeback before a par on the tight 18th claimed the vital win to keep the tie alive.

And so the stage was set as Glenavon`s David Magee and Gary O’Hara’s match, the decider, came up the last all square. Fortwilliam’s O’Hara had made a stunning two on the extremely difficult par three 17th to keep it that way but found the bunker off the 18th tee as Magee avoided the traps.

It was O’Hara to play first onto the green, smashing a perfectly struck bunker shot onto the correct tier of the green about 20 foot from the pin, which was tucked close to the left side.

Magee then stood up and his well hit iron was fired straight at the stick but ended up almost 20 foot beyond the pin up the slope.

O’Hara, putting first, came up well short and even a two putt might be enough for Magee. After getting a careful read with caddy James Horan, he took his stance confidently, tickled his putt down the hill and there was only one place it was heading. Down into the cup it went, and up went the roar of ‘LGC.’

It was a fantastic achievement for a team so young, and Team Captain Kevin McKavanagh rightly paid tribute to the club’s thriving juvenile section for producing players capable of this victory.

And now McKavanagh’s men can book their holidays for the All-Irelands in Castlerock from September 14 to 17.