Ulster withstand late Munster rally for glory

Munster's Geoff Lenehan walking to the 12th green. Picture: Denis Scannell

Ulster withstood a late rally by Munster at Lee Valley yesterday to dethrone the home team as Irish Interprovincial champions and regain the title they last held in 2010.

Results on the final day also favoured Leinster who had a fine win over Ulster and so pipped Connacht for the Boys title.

Lady luck was in Munster’s favour on the previous day when they captured one point because of a technical rules breach ever so sportingly admitted by Paul Dunne, and two more when Gary O’Flaherty and Pat Murray both won the 18th to force a tie with Leinster. They weren’t as fortunate this time, though the tiny disparity separating the teams over the three days would again be pronounced as the foursomes ended in a 2-2 share of the spoils.

Lee Valley’s 18th green proved more than a little troublesome for most of the players throughout the week, but Ulster weren’t complaining after Reeve Whitson sank a 12 foot putt to force a half for himself and Harry Diamond against Kevin Phelan and Alan Thomas. And a short few minutes later, the Ulster boys were at it again when Chris Selfridge capitalised on a glorious approach by Tiarnan McLarnan by knocking in a four footer that gave them a one hole win over Gary Hurley and Kieran Lynch.

But the shoe was on the other foot when Gary O’Flaherty and Niall Gorey snatched a half point when Cormac Sharvin and Dermot McElroy three putted and the session ended level when Pat Murray and Geoff Lenehan combined to beat Nicky Grant and Aaron Kearney on the17th.

The skies were dark and forbidding as the teams went out for the climax of three great days of golf for all at Lee Valley, but, apart from one shower, there was no repeat of the torrential downpours that flooded the course on Wednesday. It was evident from an early stage Munster were struggling to stay in touch with a reinvigorated Ulster who jumped into an early lead and eventually prevailed by having suffered a few anxious moments as the home side mounted a spirited late resistance.

Chris Selfridge got them off to a great start with a 3 and 2 win over Kevin Phelan in a game full of fine shot making. Reeve Whiston held on to beat Gary Hurley on the final green, the next three matches were halved and at the end of the day Pat Murray completed his 100th match for his province in regal fashion. Three down after nine, he turned for home birdie, par, birdie to draw, birdied the 15th to go one ahead and got home at the 18th when holing the decisive putt.

Munster had to settle for third in the Boys Interpros behind Leinster and Connacht, but there was considerable consolation for the home club player, Greg O’Mahony, who won five of his six matches, including a 2 and 1 defeat of Connacht’s Sean Flanagan in yesterday’s number one single.


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