IRELAND failed to retain their European Girls’ Team Championships title in Denmark on Saturday.
In a nail-biting final over the Aalborg course, the Irish girls went down 3-2 to top qualifiers France.
For the first time in the five days of the tournament the 15-year-old Maguire twins from Slieve Russell in Cavan did not find form, possibly exhausted by such a heavy schedule.
Leona and Lisa had been superb during qualifying and in the matchplay rounds but after winning their foursomes in the final they lost their singles.
They gave Ireland a perfect start by beating Celine Boutier and Lea Charpier 3&1 while Laura McCarthy and Stephanie Meadow lost their game. But it was still level at lunch with all to play for.
Lisa Maguire, playing at the top of the singles order, found Boutier too hot to handle and lost 3&2 which meant both the other games had to be won for Ireland to complete back-to-back victories.
Stephanie Meadow of Royal Portrush played some of her best golf of the week and was involved in a titanic battle with Manon Gidali with the Irish girl edging home on the final green.
That levelled up the scores and it was all down to the clash of French Open U20 champion Leona Maguire and Alexandra Bonetti.
Maguire fell behind early on the back nine and was one down going to the 16th. Bonetti halved the last three holes to guide France to the title. It was also a disappointing final day for Ireland in the other European championships.
They missed out on ninth place in the European Boys’ Team Championship in Turkey when they lost 3½-1½ to Spain, Chris Selfridge was the only boy to get a full point while Dermot McElroy salvaged a half.
In the Men’s team championship- an event they have won twice in the previous three years — the Irish finished 14th after losing 4-1 to Norway. Only Portstewart star, Paul Cutler, captured a point over the Sterakers course in Sweden.
England won this championship for the fourth time with a 5-2 win over host nation Sweden.
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