Youngsters key as Munster claim Interpros title

Munster captured the Senior Interprovincial Championship for the second time in three years when they pulled off a magnificent 7-4 victory over hot favourites and holders Ulster in an epic decider at The Island links in North Dublin yesterday.

Youngsters key as Munster claim Interpros title

There were many heroes, most notably Waterford youngsters Gary Hurley and Robin Dawson who went through the three-day series undefeated. However, every member of the squad played their part in an outstanding achievement.

Six of the panel: Hurley, Gary O’Flaherty, Ian O’Rourke, Geoff Lenehan, Niall Gorey and Pat Murray were members of the successful side at Royal Co. Down in 2012 and again Lee Valley’s Phil Cooney proved a wily and popular captain who got the best out of his team.

With the sides level at 2-2 after the morning foursomes, the singles initially went in favour of Ulster before Munster gradually and emphatically redressed the imbalance on the turn for home.

Hurley, the 21-year-old NUI Maynooth student from the West Waterford club, confirmed the high reputation he made for himself when becoming the only amateur to survive the halfway cut in last month’s Irish Open at Fota Island. He led from early on against Chris Selfridge, who recently retained his North of Ireland Championship, and ended the contest at the 15th. Hurley ended the Interpros with 5½ points from a possible six.

Further good news for Munster came in the form of an outstanding victory for 19-year-old Dawson, who was one down after nine but hit back to beat Dermot McElroy, a member of the Irish team that recently reached the final of the European Amateur Championship in Finland, at the 17th.

The 6ft red-head from Faithlegg kept the Waterford flag flying and he also went through the week unbeaten, winning four matches and ending all square in the other two.

O’Flaherty’s experience throughout the week proved invaluable and he completed a hat-trick of singles wins against Irish Close champion John Ross Galbraith.

The outcome then swung ever more in Munster’s direction when Geoff Lenehan fought back from arrears of two after nine to halve his match against East of Ireland champion Colm Campbell, before John Hickey beat Colin Fairweather by two holes.

And when Pat Murray ended all square with Stephen Coulter, Munster were clear 7-4 winners and the celebrations were already under way. Ulster were second, Leinster third and Connacht fourth.

An impressive Leinster side retained the Boys Championship yesterday, establishing their superiority over Munster by winning all three foursomes and going on to win by a big margin, 7-3.

Nevertheless, one of the finest individual performances of the day came from Mallow’s James Sugrue, who played outstanding golf to beat recently crowned British Open Boys champion Kevin LeBlanc in the number one singles 3&2.

Ulster were second, Munster third and Connacht fourth.

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