We’re all about the favourites in our Limerick sporting selection this week, but it’s not in football, hurling, soccer or even racing. No, this week we’re looking to the world of amateur golf, and the North Munster section of the All Ireland Senior Cup, taking place at Castletroy Golf Club this weekend. Twelve clubs will travel to the picturesque parkland course for Saturday and Sunday, while the host club are also like to feature prominently in the hunt, priced at 5/2 second favourites by Paddy Power bookmakers.
Limerick Golf Club are the defending champions after going all the way to the Munster Final last year and at 7/4, they aren’t exactly an “out of the blue” pick for Limerick Post readers.
However the more we look at the various competitors for this event, the more we see that the defending champions have to be the sensible shout here. First of all, there’s the depth in the squad. Reigning South of Ireland champion Pat Murray is of course the headlining act, but the club can also select from a range of other fine golfers like John Hayes, Mark McGrath and Seán Poucher, players who could hold their own in any company. No other club in the race has this level of depth in terms of plus handicappers.
Secondly, and equally critically, the draw has been kind. Castletroy, Lahinch, and Shannon are the next three clubs in the betting at 5/2, 5/1 and 6/1 respectively, yet these have all been drawn in the one quarter – only one semi-finalist will come out of those three clubs and possibly none, if Ennis cause a shock or two.
Limerick have a tough first round tie against 9/1 shots Nenagh, but if they come through that, the only clubs that could potentially prevent them from reaching the final are Woodstock, East Clare, Charleville (all 25/1) and Rathbawn (40/1). Anyone tuned into Wimbledon this week will know that outsiders can pull off shocks, but it would still take a real turn up for any of these clubs to knock off Limerick.
Finally we have the venue, which should be a home from home for many of these golfers. Admittedly most players of this calibre will be comfortable in any of the local courses, however a parkland setting should still be an advantage to them over clubs like Lahinch, while the short trip certainly beats travelling to North Tipp, or up into rural Clare.
7/4 isn’t the kind of price that will get the pulse racing for a lot of readers of this column, but it’s by far the most appealing selection of the lot and if it does lead to a near-trebling of your money by Sunday evening, well what could be wrong with that?