AIG All-Ireland Junior Cup

Heartbreak for Clonmel golfers as bunker birdie denies them a place in All-Ireland final

Cruel luck puts an end to magnificent Clonmel effort

Heartbreak for Clonmel golfers as bunker birdie denies them a place in All-Ireland final

Clonmel Golf Club's Denis Conway wonders how his birdie putt on the 18th hole at Thurles stayed out of the hole.

There was heartbreak on Saturday evening when the Junior Cup team were narrowly beaten on the final hole in the final match in the semi-final of the AIG Junior Cup at Thurles Golf Club.

Fate had given Clonmel a real glimmer of hope when the Fortwilliam player three putted the 17th green which squared the match to head down the final hole with the overall match figures standing at two matches each.

Darragh Lynch, drives off at Thurles in the All-Ireland semi-final of the AIG Junior Cup. Lynch went on to win his match against his Ulster opponent.

Clonmel’s wins had come from Billy Hewitt and Darragh Lynch, with defeats for Brian McLean and young Jack Alton.

The fate of the Munster champions now lay in the hands of Denis Conway Jnr, and first up on the 18th teebox he drove magnificently down the fairway. It was looking really good for Clonmel when Denis’s opponent knocked his second shot and put his third in a greenside bunker. Denis played a great second and found the green with his approach which ended up about 12-13 feet from the hole. It looked very good for Clonmel at that stage.

But, the inexplicable, the unexplainable happened when the Fortwilliam player holed his bunker shot from a difficult lie leaving Denis to hole out to extend the match and while he made a great effort the ball stayed wide of the hole and it was all over for Clonmel.

Billy Hewitt plays an iron shot from just off the fairway during Saturday's AIG All-Ireland semi-final match with Fortwilliam of Belfast. Hewitt was one of two Clonmel winners but overall the team lost out agonisingly by 3-2.

In the other semi-final on Saturday Connacht champions Portumna defeated Elm Park of Dublin. And in Sunday’s All-Ireland final the westerners proved too strong for the Ulster champions, perhaps a small consolation in that fact for a bitterly disappointed Clonmel outfit who had performed tremendously throughout the competition winning the Munster crown with a magnificent display against last year’s All-Ireland champions Ballybunion.