Munster’s bid for a third Interprovincial Championship victory in four years was crushed decisively by Leinster’s young guns on the Sandy Hills at Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort in Donegal.
Having cruised to wins of Connacht and Ulster over the first two days it came down to a head-to-head between the favourites that ended with a young Leinster running out easy winners by 8.5 to 2.5.
The result ends a seven-year winless streak for Leinster in the matches and heralds the start of a new era for the next wave of young Irish stars in a week that now clashes with the six-man European Amateur Team Championships in Sweden.
With the majority of that team set to turn professional, Ireland needs new stars and they have found some in Leinster with The Island’s Paul McBride, 19, leading the way with six points out of six.
Having just completed his first year at Wake Forest University, McBride led from the front, taking 16-year old Co Louth star Thomas Mulligan under his wing.
The oldest player on the Leinster team was 28 year old Richard Bridges, who did not play yesterday.
Even with the Stackstown man, their average age was just 20.8 in a clearly positive result for the Leinster Golf and Golfing Union of Ireland youth policy.
“We started off with a panel of 16 in January, cut it back and went for a youth policy in conjunction with the Sports Development Plan of the GUI and the Development squads within Leinster Golf and the GUI,” said Leinster’s non-playing captain Seamus McParland.
“Conor O’Rourke (23) is on the Development squad and Kevin Le Blanc (17), Rowan Lester (19) and Thomas Mulligan (16) are coming through the boys’ programmes. We selected a young team and it clearly worked out with this victory. We are delighted.
“Paul McBride played No 1 all week in the singles and No 2 in the foursomes and got six out of six. He’s great player and has a great future.
“There is a new generation of talented players coming through and we can see that hard work that Leinster Golf and the Golfing Union is doing is starting to pay off.” With several members of the current national squad set to turn professional, including Bridges, a posse of Leinster young guns that also features Alan Lowry (22) and Jeff Hopkins (23) looks set to take centre stage. They won all four foursomes to leave them needing just two points from the seven singles and they got those easily with McBride beating Robin Dawson 5 and 4 before Rowan Lester’s 2 and 1 win over John Hickey sealed Munster’s fate.
With two of the six-man Irish team set to miss the Home Internationals to play in the clashing US Amateur, there are several places up for grabs over the next few weeks.
Lester’s haul of five-and-a-half points out of six puts him in the frame alongside Kevin LeBlanc while Munster’s Eanna Griffin, who won five-points-out- of-six has also got a strong claim to an international debut at Royal Portrush.
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