Ireland seal the deal with champagne performance

Ireland produced a magnificent display at Royal Portrush yesterday to trounce European champions Scotland and retain their Amateur Home International title. It was their first back to back triumph in the contest since 1992.

A week that started disappointingly with an agonising tie with England ended on a high when Colm Campbell got the vital singles win over Greig Marchbank to secure the success.

That triumph also extended Campbell’s magnificent international record taking his unbeaten run to ten games- and he was the week’s leading points scorer 5½ out of six.

Ireland bounced back from the tie with England by overcoming Wales on Thursday but had to beat Scotland in a winner-takes-all clash yesterday to keep their crown and the Raymond Trophy.

“The boys dug in deeply after the disappointment of Wednesday and they really did us proud,”said captain Tony Goode.

The decision of Goode to ask Irish legend Garth McGimpsey, the 1985 Amateur Champion to give some words of inspiration to the players seems to have paid off- and the ex-Walker Cup captain was also naturally thrilled at the result of the round-robin tournament.

Ireland made a solid start in the foursomes and led 3-2 at lunch with two pairs Dermot McElroy and Colin Fairweather and John-Ross Galbraith and Campbell winning on the home green.

Jack Hume and Gavin Moynihan,the top two in the singles order and both virtual certainties for next month’s Walker Cup paved the way for the emphatic win as they claimed points to provide something of a cushion for their team.

After Paul McBride was beaten Fairweather and Alex Gleeson both showed their mettle and won with a little to spare to push Ireland nearer to victory.Fairweather ended the won with five points out of six.

It was now a matter of who would complete the job and Campbell three up leaving the 15th green won the 16th to settle the issue.

Robin Dawson added to the tally and the young Rowan Lester, runner-up in last year’s British Boys Open Championship edged home against Craig Howie on the home green to make it 10-4.

Just for good measure John-Ross Galbraith at the bottom of the order won the last hole against Conor Syme to secure a win which gave Ireland a resounding 11-4 success –what a marvellous way to retain their Home International title.

Irish hopes of success in the British Boys Open Amateur Championship evaporated on the Lancashire coast yesterday when both Peter Kerr and Thomas Mulligan,the two first day survivors fell by the wayside.

Kerr from Royal Portrush was always up against it in his third round match against Denmark’s Christoffer Bring and crashed out of the championship beaten 6&4.

County Louth’s Mulligan was involved in a closely-contested match with German Frederick Mueller which swung both ways- and he eventually got home on the final green.

But in round four the Irish teenager was well and truly outclassed by the hugely-talented Swede Marcus Svensson fell to a heavy 7&5 reverse to end Irish hopes.

At West Kilbride, the British Girls Open Amateur Championship was won by Norwegian Sandra Nordaas who beat Spaniard Marta Sanmartin 2&1 in the final.


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