Ireland reach European Team Championship final

Ireland's amateur golfers are on course to retain the European Team Championship title in Italy.

Ireland's amateur golfers are on course to retain the European Team Championship title in Italy.

Mick Burns' side sensationally crushed Germany 5-2 in the semi-finals at Royal Park Golf Club near Turin today and will face England in Saturday's final.

Bidding to win the title for only the sixth time, Ireland captain Mick Burns hopes his charges show the kind of determination that helped them squeeze through the strokeplay qualifiers.

Burns said: "Our team really picked themselves up after the scare we had on day two. They realise the opportunity that lies in front of them and I have confidence in them to go on and do their best again on Saturday in what's going to be a tough encounter."

Shane Lowry and Gareth Shaw got Ireland up and running with a 5 and 4 win in the opening foursomes.

Then Jonathan Caldwell and Paul Cutler came back from one down after six to beat German duo Alexander Knappe and Maximillian Kiefer 2 and 1 and put Ireland 2-0 up going into the five afternoon singles.

West of Ireland champion Lowry lost 5 and 4 to Allen John in the bottom match but wins for Cutler and Caldwell and halves by Shaw and Paul O'Hanlon sent Ireland safely through to the decider.

England hammered favourites France 5-2 and will be looking for revenge for last year's semi-final defeat to Ireland at Western Gailes.

Germany 2, Ireland 5

Foursomes: Stephan Gross & Sean Einhaus lost to Shane Lowry and Gareth Shaw 5/4; Alexander Knappe & Maximilian Kieffer lost to Jonathan Caldwell & Paul Cutler 2& 1.

Singles

Alexander Knappe halved with Gareth Shaw; Stephan Gross lost to Paul Cutler 5/3; Sean Einhaus lost to Jonathan Caldwell 3/2; Maximilian Kieffer halved with Paul O'Hanlon; Allen John bt Shane Lowry 5/4.

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