Juniors Win Donegal Youth Matchplay Decider


Portsalon's up-and-coming Junior golfers put on a show on Saturday evening to defeat a strong Dunfanaghy team on the Old Tom Morris Links at Rosapenna and become Donegal Youth Matchplay champions for 2021!
After a fantastic summer, the boys rounded it off in style, sealing their success with a hard-fought and high-class win over Dunfanaghy, with Portsalon taking two of the three fourball matches to win 2-1.
Portsalon's opening partnership of Cian Page and Oisin Friel had the unenviable challenge of facing Irish international Darcy Hogg in their match and it was Dunfanaghy that proved strongest in that game, winning 4&3 under the guidance of their star performer.
Not to be outdone, Portsalon duo Christian Harris and Michael Campbell levelled matters with a 2&1 win in match two in what was a game of scintillating quality. Michael birdied four of the opening eight holes to put his team 4up and, with help from his partner Christian, they were 5up and in total control early in the back nine.
Matchplay golf can turn around without much in the way of error and so it proved, as the Dunfanaghy team rose to the challenge with back-to-back birdies at the 14th and 15th holes and an eagle on the par-five 16th to leave matters delicately poised. Pars on the penultimate hole proved enough for Christian and Michael to get the half required and close out the match, levelling the score with one game remaining on the course behind.
Match three proved to be quite the rollercoaster for Liam Donlon and Ultan Blaney, a slow beginning seeing them fall four down thru four holes. Ultan's brave par on the 5th hole started the fightback and the momentum was truly with them by the time Liam birdied the eighth hole to wipe out the early deficit.
The lads were able to push on, winning three on the spin after the turn to be 3up thru the 12th hole. Once more, the Dunfanaghy side rallied, with a birdie on the 16th bringing the deficit down to the minimum once more.
The teams exchanged pars on the 17th hole, leaving Portsalon 1up on the 18th tee and Ultan Blaney provided the par required to secure a quite magnificent win for his team in the overall match.
A really superb advert for Junior golf in Donegal, the final was played in great spirits between all the players and both clubs. Commiserations to Dunfanaghy on the slenderest of defeats.
Portsalon Team: Cian Page, Oisin Friel, Michael Campbell, Christian Harris, Liam Donlon, Ultan Blaney; First Reserve: Ciaran McCormick.
Congratulations also to our Junior Golf Convenor and team captain Eamonn Mcconigley who was there every step of the way and can be very proud that his long-held investment in junior golf in Portsalon is now paying off handsomely. This is hopefully just the beginning!
Beck was assisted at every turn by Club Manager Daragh Lyons and both gents deserve enormous praise for the time, dedication and drive they are putting into helping our young golfers to maximise their skills.
Our thanks to Club Captain Stephen Connolly who was in Dunfanaghy on Saturday evening to see every shot hit and, of course, to the parents of the boys who were present to offer encouragement and enjoy the occasion too. Without their commitment, these matches couldn't happen.  
This is a fabulous achievement for Portsalon Golf Club to win a county title at underage level, and one that has been a long time coming – we are very proud to have these young men represent our club.

Last but by no means least, thanks to Rosapenna GC for hosting the final on the beautifully prepared Old Tom Morris Links and for being so welcoming to both clubs in the final and to Ed Harvey, the Donegal County Golf Committee Junior Convenor, for his work in ensuring everything went smoothly in this competition.