Robin Dawson to lead Irish attack as amateurs seek European glory

By Jay Bayford

Robin Dawson will spearhead the attack today as Ireland seek victory in the European Amateur Team Championship at the Faldo Course at Bad Saarow, Germany.

Tramore star Dawson, who was part of last year’s squad that finished seventh, will hope to continue with the recent form that saw him finish as runner-up in both the Amateur Championship and European Amateur Championship.

Flogas Irish Amateur Open champion Dawson, 22, is joined in the team by 2016 participant Alex Gleeson (Castle) and St Andrews Links Trophy winner John Murphy (Kinsale), who helped the boys earn promotion to the top flight two years ago.

Men’s Home Internationals winners Rowan Lester (Hermitage) and Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) are also involved while Naas man Jonathan Yates receives his first Ireland call-up.

Ireland, who will be captained by John Carroll (Bandon), have won the competition six times with their most recent successes coming in 2007 and 2008.

Meanwhile, John Brady (Rosslare) and Mark Power (Kilkenny) are once again named in the squad for the European Boys’ Team Championship, which is being held at Kaskada, Czech Republic.

Bridgestone Boys International Order of Merit leader Aaron Marshall (Lisburn) earns his first European call-up for Ireland while uncapped trio David Kitt (Athenry), Tom McKibbin (Holywood) and Odhran Maguire (Slieve Russell) are also tasked with the responsibility of trying to improve on last year’s sixth-placed finish. The boys have only triumphed once and that came 20 years ago at Gullane, Scotland.

Curtis Cup duo Olivia Mehaffey and Paula Grant will lead Ireland into the European Ladies’ Team Championship at Murhof, Austria.

Royal County Down star Mehaffey and Lisburn’s Grant, who helped Ireland to the Ladies’ Home Internationals title last year, will use their vast experience to help Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden), Mairead Martin (Kanturk) and Annabel Wilson (Lurgan) make the step up from the girls.

Forrest Little’s Julie McCarthy keeps her place in the team after helping to guide Ireland to ninth place last year at Montado, Portugal, alongside Grant and Mehaffey.

Royal County Down professional Danielle McVeigh will captain the side with Louise Coffey (Malone) and Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe) listed as reserves.

Elsewhere, Douglas star Sara Byrne will be hoping to add the European Girls’ Team Championship title to her trophy cabinet after capturing the Irish Women’s Close Championship last month.

Killarney’s Valerie Clancy will join Byrne at Forsgardens, Sweden, along with Beth Coulter (Kirkistown Castle), who finished as runner-up in the inaugural British Girls’ U16 Open Championship.

Aine Donegan (Woodstock), Nicole Joyce-Moreno (Royal Portrush) and Kate Lanigan (Hermitage) all earn their first international call-ups.

Helen Jones (Royal Portrush) will captain the girls with Milltown’s Georgia Carr and Kate Dwyer (Rossmore) named as reserves.

All the competitions open with two rounds of stroke play qualifying – 18 holes each day.

The lowest five scores in each round will count towards the team’s total with the top eight teams advancing to Flight A, which is match play, to compete for the title.

The following eight teams compete in Flight B where a bottom-three finish for the men and boys results in relegation.

The remaining teams in the ladies’ and girls’ competitions participate in Flight C, a round-robin tournament.

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