McGimpsey fails to turn back time as Galway oust Portrush
Former Walker Cup star last played in Cups and Shields finals 28 years ago
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.
“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.”
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.”
Garth McGimpsey (Royal Portrush) pitching to the 10th green in the semi-final of the AIG Senior Cup at Carton House yesterday.