McGimpsey fails to turn back time as Gal­way oust Portrush

For­mer Walker Cup star last played in Cups and Shields fi­nals 28 years ago

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS - John O’Sul­li­van at Car­ton House

When Garth McGimpsey teed it up at Car­ton House yes­ter­day morn­ing it was 28 years ago to the day, September 22nd, 1989, that he last played a Se­nior Cup match in the AIG All-Ire­land Cups and Shields fi­nals.

On that oc­ca­sion he was a mem­ber of a Royal Portrush team that lost a semi-fi­nal to Port­marnock at Wood­brook and this time the out­come was once again tinged with dis­ap­point­ment, the 62-year-old los­ing to Liam Nolan, as Gal­way beat Portrush 3½ to 1½.

The highly dec­o­rated for­mer Bri­tish Am­a­teur cham­pion, Walker Cup player and two-time cap­tain, pro­vided an in­ter­est­ing aside about his 1989 ap­pear­ance in the Cups and Shields fi­nals.

“I played for Ban­gor in the Bar­ton Shield and Se­nior Cup for Portrush which was a bit of a sur­real ex­pe­ri­ence, chang­ing sweaters. It didn’t re­ally work out; I didn’t en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence. We didn’t do very well.

Team spirit

“A long time ago I de­cided I was fin­ished with Se­nior Cup. I re­tired from Ban­gor 20 years ago and re­ally didn’t play for Portrush ever since then. It was only that Portrush has done so badly in the last 20 odd years in the Se­nior Cup that Matt [McAlpin], who is now the team cap­tain, tried to gar­ner some team spirit.”

Portrush ne­go­ti­ated a re­mark­able pas­sage through Ul­ster; two down with two to play in the bot­tom match, they even­tu­ally won at the 24th to see off War­ren­point in the semi-fi­nal and then nudged past Gal­gorm at the fourth tie hole in the fi­nal. There was to be no feat of es­capol­ogy this time.

McGimpsey ad­mit­ted: “Even when we were los­ing here we thought we could pull some­thing out of the fire but it didn’t work; Gal­way are a very strong team. No one likes los­ing but we have such a great team spirit, it’s been re­ally en­joy­able be­ing with the guys.”

He will stay in­volved with the team but prob­a­bly not as a player. “We will have no prob­lem get­ting some of the younger play­ers who maybe opted for other clubs to come and join now that they have seen we can do it.”

Gal­way put the dis­ap­point­ment of Thurs­day’s Bar­ton Shield fi­nal de­feat against War­ren­point to one side. Joe Lyons had spo­ken in the wake of that de­feat about dis­ap­point­ment be­ing a two-way street, purge it and step for­ward or suf­fer the con­se­quences of be­ing men­tally flat.

He was happy that the team chose the lat­ter op­tion. “In 2009, we lost the Bar­ton Shield and we went on and brought home the Se­nior Cup at the end of the week, so there’s noth­ing say­ing we can’t do it.

“Look, we’ve got a good team and again, it will be all on the day. If we’d have played in the Bar­ton Shield fi­nal as we played in the Bar­ton semi-fi­nal we’d have run away with it. So I sus­pect if we turn up for the fi­nal we’ll take some beat­ing. Noth­ing less than a win to­mor­row will sate the ap­petite at this stage now.”

Re­silience

In that fi­nal they will face Lim­er­ick who showed tremen­dous re­silience to squeeze past the host club, Car­ton House 3-2 with Ciaran Vaughan the toast of the Mun­ster cham­pi­ons. His fa­ther Ger, is the team cap­tain, and was a mem­ber of the last of Lim­er­ick’s four All-Ire­land Se­nior Cup vic­to­ries in 2002.

In the Pierce Pur­cell fi­nal, the Quigleys of Thurles were once again cen­tral to the club’s vic­tory, this time edg­ing out Royal Cur­ragh 3-2 in a su­perbly con­tested fi­nal. Tommy Quigley and his son Shane were vic­to­ri­ous in the top match while his other son, Stephen, part­nered Martin Fahy to a one-hole win in de­ci­sive game.

Thurles have won the tro­phy three times and Tommy Quigley has been present for each suc­cess. Team cap­tain Jimmy Ryan: “We were dead and buried for a long time but these boys, their bat­tling qual­i­ties are some­thing else. They’re an un­be­liev­able bunch of guys.”

“I’m just de­lighted. It means a lot to Thurles be­cause we’re host­ing the com­pe­ti­tion next year.”

PHO­TO­GRAPH: PAT CASHMAN

Garth McGimpsey (Royal Portrush) pitch­ing to the 10th green in the semi-fi­nal of the AIG Se­nior Cup at Car­ton House yes­ter­day.

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