In an increasingly prosperous summer on the inter-club matchplay front, a second County Armagh Golf Club team in a matter of weeks has qualified for a tournament semi-final.
Following closely in the assured footsteps of the Ulster Cup crew, who booked their place in the last four earlier in July, the Cathedral City club has also reached the semi-final of the Ulster section of the All-Ireland Four-Ball Trophy after defeating a much fancied Dunmurry outfit.
Tim Teahan's men set their stall out from the beginning of the quarter-final tie and posted a 3½-1½ scoreline in their favour from the home leg on Sunday 22 July. Here, there were victories for the pairings of Oliver Connell/Philip Dowey, Paul Kelly/Gavin McElmeel and Paul Wasson/Stephen Nugent before the visitors secured a narrow 17th-green win in match no.5.
Tim Teahan's All-Ireland Four-Ball Trophy team now face a semi-final clash with Greenisland.
The outcome of the remaining game would therefore be crucial to the direction of the overall encounter.
And in that contest, Daryl Lawson/Dwayne Houston had cruised into a comfortable lead after 12 holes until the surrender of three holes in quick succession drew their Dunmurry counterparts level with just one hole left. In a nervy finish at the 18th, the County Armagh duo looked beaten when Dunmurry were close in three shots and they had missed the green in two. With a sizeable gathering of spectators around the green and on the clubhouse balcony, Daryl produced a glorious pitch shot from below the green and sank the par putt to rescue a potentially decisive half point. Pressure? These boys thrive on pressure!
The return leg was contested a week later on Sunday 29 July when, with the draw yielding the exact same matchups, the home team will no doubt have been confident of overturning their deficit. However, the fighting spirit of the County Armagh players was in evidence immediately as they lead all the games from the start.
Paul Wasson/Stephen Nugent dominated and eventually prevailed on the 15th hole of the Greater Belfast course. Oliver Connell/Philip Dowey, meanwhile, were ahead for most of their clash before being overhauled over the difficult closing stretch and succumbing on the 17th.
The tie concluded in outright victory for County Armagh when Daryl Lawson/Dwayne Houston finally notched another point through a penultimate hole triumph. As a consequence, the two matches still in progress, which featured Paul Kelly/Gareth Frizell and Stephen Miller/Gerry Kelly, were called in from the 15th and were deemed to be halves. That provided County Armagh with a three-point away-leg haul and a mightily impressive 6½-3½ quarter-final success.
Next up for Teahan's gang is a date with Greenisland, who caused something of an upset by dispensing with Rossmore. That semi-final meeting will open with a showdown in Greenisland this Sunday 12 August before being resolved in Armagh seven days later. Good luck to the boys for that and well done on a wonderful campaign thus far.
There was less positive news for our Barton Shield group, who bowed out of the competition at the neutral venue of Rossmore on Sunday 15 July.
Richard Black's charges had overcome Dungannon in the previous round but, on this occasion, the talented pairings of Jarlath McReynolds/John Maguire and Stewart Stevenson/Adam Cromwell were unable to cope with a Lurgan side in top form. Thanks to those four lads, to Joe Rooney who appeared at the previous stage, and to team captain, Richard Black, and club captain, Colm Shannon, for their sterling support. The future remains bright with so many accomplished young players coming through under the guidance of our Professional Will Carey.
Finally, for this round-up of inter-club action, best wishes to our Sam Rutherford panel, who travel to Downpatrick on Sunday for their second leg having emerged from the home leg on Sunday 22 July with a slender one-hole advantage.
County Armagh Golf Club's All-Ireland Four-Ball Trophy side pictured before their quarter-final first-leg tie with Dunmurry.