England dent Irish Boys Home International Championship hopes

Ireland suffered a thoroughly disappointing 10-5 defeat at the hands of classy England on the opening day of the Boys Home International Championship at Ballyffin in County Donegal.
England dent Irish Boys Home International Championship hopes

They promised so much when they led 3-2 after the foursomes but it proved so very different in the afternoon as the singles were a disaster with only two victories in 10 matches.

McEvoy Trophy winner Mark Power overcame Matty Lamb by 2 and 1 and Cameron Raymond with a brilliant display defeating Alex Fitzpatrick by 4 and 3.

Today the Irish will try and get their title charge back on track when they face holders Scotland who trounced Wales 10.5-4.5 Ireland bid for glory in the womens and girls home international series beginning at Conwy on the North Wales coast this morning, looking to go one better than last year when they finished runners-up in both.

There is a major change this year in that for the first time they are being staged concurrently at the same venue and although there are the same number of games in each tie, there are only seven players in a team instead of eight.

Ireland have a strong-looking team in the women’s tournament although England will start favourites, having won the European Team Championships last month.

World number six Olivia Mehaffey, the Irish champion and Welsh Open stroke-play title-holder, spearheads the Irish challenge as they open up against Scotland.

Fellow Curtis Cup player Maria Dunne is also in the line-up and there is plenty of experience with the inclusion of Paula Grant and Sinead Sexton.

Sinead Kearney captains the side, with Gillian O’Leary being team manager.

The girls side also looks strong with Castlewarden’s Lauren Walsh joined by Julie McCarthy, the Leinster, Ulster, and Irish close champion who is dominating the under-18 scene, while Annabel Wilson and Mairead Martin have plenty of experience for teenagers.

Ireland face Wales tomorrow and conclude against England on Friday.

Meanwhile at the Estonian Club in Estonia today the European Amateur Championship gets under way with a small but hugely-talented group of Irish players seeking honours.

Conor O’Rourke who won the St Andrews Links Trophy is looking for more silverware while Stuart Grehan, Kevin Le Blanc, Alex Gleeson and Amateur Championship semi-finallist Paul McBride are also in the field.

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