Nicholas rallies the troops

EUROPEAN captain Alison Nicholas unveiled her very own Seven Nation Army in Dublin yesterday then revealed she has borrowed some inspiration from Ryder Cup heroes Ian Poulter and Colin Montgomerie in how to defeat the Americans.

Players from seven different countries will represent Europe at Killeen Castle at the end of September but only Nicholas’ buggy driver Mary McKenna and squad assistant Rebeca Codd will fly the flag for Ireland.

Instead an American tour rookie – and former Big Break TV show contestant – with a very Irish surname provided the biggest talking point at yesterday’s launch.

Transatlantic ‘butt-kicking’ was a hot topic in Dublin’s docklands as Nicholas confirmed Azahara Munoz (Spain), Caroline Hedwall (Sweden), Karen Stupples (England) and Sandra Gal (Germany) as her four captain’s picks.

The various butt-kicking references were made in response to claims by American rookie Ryann O’Toole, a shock wild card selection by US captain Rosie Jones, that she is coming to Meath next month ‘ready to kick Europe’s butt’.

The American youngster may be speaking from a position of strength considering her predecessors have won each of the last three Solheim Cups and haven’t been beaten since the 2003 event in Malmo.

But Nicholas was clearly none too impressed with O’Toole’s cheeky introduction to the biggest golf event on the women’s calendar – and wasn’t even aware of the LPGA rookie before she hit the headlines.

“She is entitled to her opinion but I do have to admit that I didn’t know much about the girl when she was picked,” said Nicholas, three weeks before her team gather in the Royal County.

“I had to look her up on the net and I know now that she has got huge potential but she was off my radar.

“I’m sure that picking her was a good decision by Rosie but we will see what happens three weeks from now as regards butt kicking.”

Ryder Cup captain Montgomerie and player Poulter have already added their support to Europe’s bid to halt American’s recent Solheim Cup dominance.

Video messages from the pair, and Nicholas’ vice-captain Annika Sorenstam, were played to the potential European players at a team bonding event in the grounds of Killeen Castle during the recent Ladies Irish Open.

“Their messages were very inspirational t and we have a few more tricks up our sleeves in that regard as well,” said Nicholas as she looks forward to her second Solheim Cup as captain.

“Both Colin and Ian are very passionate about the Ryder Cup and they both know a thing or two about kicking American butt,” she laughed.

“Monty loves beating the Americans in the Ryder Cup more than anything and that came across loud and clear in his message to the girls.

“The Ryder Cup here in Ireland was very special as we all know and you can’t but be motivated when you hear the likes of Ian and Colin talk about what winning means to them.

“We want to transfer that thought and feeling through to my team ahead of the Solheim Cup.

“It’s not going to be easy. I would rate America as slight favourites and it won’t be easy against them but I have unfinished business from the last time out in Illinois. I want to win, the girls want to win and we are ready for it.”

Nicholas had dinner in Dublin last night with Irish golf legend Mary McKenna who will be at her side throughout the Killeen Castle odyssey: “I am delighted that Mary has agreed to work with me, my vice-captains and the team and trust me, she will be more than my buggy driver,” confirmed Nicholas.

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