Ireland setting sights on winning start against Scotland

Ireland captain Pádraig Hogan believes a strong start against hosts Scotland tomorrow will be key to success in the Home Internationals at Glasgow Gailes.

Hogan feels his young side is capable of delivering a first Ireland victory in the round-robin event since 2008 when Paul Cutler, Jonathan Caldwell and Shane Lowry spearheaded a Triple Crown of wins over Scotland, Wales and England at Muirfield.

England have ruled the roost since with three wins in-a-row and Hogan said the Irish need to go into their match with the defending champions on Thursday with a victory over the hosts under their belts.

“I think we have a very good side and the first day is crucial against Scotland,” Hogan said. “We have to get the right result or it could be a very tough week otherwise with England on the second day. I think we have a good, well-balanced side and if they perform, they will do well.

Hogan was encouraged by the performances of his team members during last week’s European Amateur Individual Championship at Carton House, when Waterford Castle’s Kevin Phelan was the leading Irishman in a tie for fourth behind Welsh winner Rhys Pugh.

Phelan’s team-mates Richard O’Donovan of Lucan and reigning British Amateur champion Alan Dunbar also made the 54-hole cut while Hogan was not worried about those that did not.

“A lot of them played quite well. The standard was very, very high this week and a couple of them only missed the cut by a few shots.

“Kevin has been a revelation. He’s played superbly and Richard was very good. The others are all going to be in good shape next week after missing the final round.”

At 26, Ulster’s Harry Diamond is the oldest member of the Ireland team but many enjoyed good experiences on their last visit to Glasgow Gailes, not least O’Donovan, 21, who posted an amateur course record-equalling five-under-par 66 in the strokeplay stages of the British Amateur in June.

Meanwhile, the GUI has selected Belvoir Park’s Gareth Lappin and The Island’s Paul McBride to represent it at the US Junior Players Championship at Sawgrass Golf Club, Florida on August 29-September 2.

Ireland (Home Internationals): Harry Diamond (Belvoir Park), Alan Dunbar (Rathmore), Nicky Grant (Knock), Gary Hurley (West Waterford), Dermot McElroy (Ballymena), Rory McNamara (Headfort), Gavin Moynihan (The Island), Richard O’Donovan (Lucan), Kevin Phelan (Waterford Castle), Chris Selfridge (Moyola Park), Reeve Whitson (Mourne).

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