Connacht roar back to claim title

CONNACHT joy knew no bounds at Rosses Point yesterday when they staged a remarkable recovery to force a tie with Leinster and capture the Interprovincial Championship for only the third time.

The Adrian Wynne captained home side looked dead and buried when they lost each of the four morning foursomes, leaving Leinster to win only two of the eight afternoon singles to regain a title they last held back in 2008.

The first sign that Connacht might still achieve the seemingly impossible was provided when Eddie McCormack hammered Eoin Arthurs in the first match, but even then Leinster still looked good for victory when Paul Dunne earned them a half point against Barry Anderson and Richard O’Donovan got home on the 18th against Gary McDermott. After that, they needed only a half point from the remaining five matches to claim the trophy.

However, that was as good as it got for Leinster. Michael Durcan and Steffan O’Hara nibbled away at their lead by beating Stephen Walsh and John Greene and things got ever brighter for the home province as Kelan McDonagh and Joe Lyons gradually drew ahead entering the closing stages against Craig Martin and Rory McNamara.

Both men duly prevailed on the 17th green leaving Connacht to celebrate their third victory in the series having previously been successful at Rosses Point in 1967 and Connemara in 1983. They halved their matches against Ulster and Leinster and defeated Munster to earn two points, a half point ahead of both Ulster and Leinster.

Munster’s challenge faded badly over the last couple of days. After losing to Connacht, they slipped further yesterday against Ulster.

They trailed 3-1 after the foursomes and things hardly improved in the afternoon as they crashed to an 8-3 defeat.

However, there was considerable consolation for the Jim Long-captained Munster boys side who captured the Interpro title for the first time since 2003. They wound up the campaign with a convincing 6 ½-3 ½ win over Leinster with the Dungarvan boy Gary Hurley contributing the handsome total of 5 ½ points from a possible six, finishing off a superb three days work with a 3 and 2 defeat of Conor Glynn. The other Munster winners yesterday were Colm O’Sullivan, Jack Leacy and Eoin Harris while Gavin Moynihan halved his match.

Ulster recovered from taking a mere half point from the foursomes to beat Connacht 6-4.

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