Disappointment as Irish big guns fail to fire in Sweden

IRELAND’S hopes of winning a third European Men’s Amateur team title in four years were dashed in Sweden yesterday when they failed to make the top flight for the matchplay phase.

For the second successive day their big guns disappointed with none of the six players getting close to par over the Osterakers course.

In the end they finished in a dismal 16th place at the bottom of the second flight with ninth position the best they can achieve.

Portstewart’s Paul Cutler, a British Amateur Championship quarter-finalist, could do no better than a 75 which included a couple of double bogeys and Alan Dunbar was on the same score after halves of 36 and 39.

Cian Curley and Pat Murray weighed in with 77s while Paul Dunne and Dara Lernihan took 79.

Lernihan, the new Irish Close champion had back-to-back double bogeys on the homeward stretch.

Defending champions Scotland also fell short. It was a pretty dismal story in the boys’ and women’s championships where they also failed to qualify.

In the women’s contest they finished in a tie for 13th place on 772 – 42 over par – with Wales.

Curtis Cup player Danielle McVeigh had a much better day, carding a two under par 71 with halves of 34 and 37. But there was not much support with the next best being 77 by Mary Dowling and Sinead O’Sullivan.

England and Scotland both made it into the last eight.

Ireland were also disappointing in the boys competition at Klassis in Turkey finishing in 11th position. Jeff Hopkins again shone, adding a 73 to his 70 of Tuesday and Stephen Barry (73) and Chris Selfridge (74) gave good accounts of themselves.

But with Liam Harnett and Kieran Lynch over 80 there was no chance that they would get into the top flight.

Meanwhile it was better news for the Ireland Girls team. Seeking back-to-back victories, they cruised into the quarter-finals of the European Team Championship over the Aalborg course in Denmark yesterday.

They qualified for the top flight of eight in second place on 430 – four over par – an aggregate bettered only by France who ended the strokeplay phase on 423.

Ireland will meet host nation Denmark today for a place in the semi-finals and should progress after qualifying 16 strokes better than their opponents.

Once again the Maguire twins from Slieve Russell in County Cavan delivered the goods with brilliant performances.

This time it was Lisa with a score of three under par 68 who was a stroke lower than her twin Leona while Stepanie Meadows improved by two strokes on her Tuesday display, returning a 75.

Lisa had halves of 35 and 33 and finished with two birdies while Leona carded 34 and 35 and also ended with two birdies.

Meadows from Royal Portrush started poorly as she did the previous day, dropping strokes on two of the first three holes on her way to the turn in 38 – she came home in 37.

It was another poor day for Laura McCarthy from Muskerry although she finished in 78, knocking three strokes off her first round score.

England also made into the quarter-finals and they will meet Spain today while France play Finland and Belgium take on Sweden. Wales and Scotland failed miserably to make the top flight.

Captain Sinead Keane is naturally delighted with the way the first two days have gone. “The stroke-play is all about making the first flight and the girls have done so with plenty to spare – that is all we could ask of them,” said Keane.


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