Ireland fall just short

Ireland suffered heartache in a dramatic climax to the Men’s Amateur Home Internationals at Glasgow Gailes on the Ayrshire coast last night as their title disappeared in the dying moments of the round-robin series.

They needed to avoid defeat by England to make sure of the Raymond Trophy and as the teams entered the closing stages the Irish had their noses in front but suddenly fortunes swung and they slumped to a 9½-5½ defeat.

But even that could have been good enough if Wales had been able to push Scotland to the wire but they also went down by a 9½-5½ margin so it was decided on a countback with three countries all on two wins.

Scotland became champions for the first time since 2006 with 27 points, two more than Ireland.

“We are heartbroken. It was our title virtually everywhere except the winning post. The boys gave everything they had but it was just not to be,” said Irish captain Pádraig Hogan.

Ireland started well enough and actually led 3-2 after the foursomes but the top of the singles order was a nightmare as Chris Selfridge, Amateur Champion Alan Dunbar and Kevin Phelan all lost and further down there was disappointment for Gary Hurley and Dermot McElroy.

Mourne’s Reeve Whitson, who enjoyed a great week and Gavin Moynihan, the success story of the season, emphasised their class by winning and Belvoir Park’s Harry Diamond claimed a solid half.

North of Ireland champion Rory McNamara looked likely to beat Jordan Smith for much of the way but in the end slipped to agonising defeat. “I am really shell-shocked how we allowed it to slip,” said Hogan.

lIreland’s hopes of having a first British Boys Open Amateur champion since Ronan Rafferty more than three decades ago were dashed yesterday when Jordan Hood was knocked out in the third round at the Notts Club in the East Midlands.

Favourites Royal Portrush will play 2009 champions Kilkenny in the final of the 2012 Irish Senior Cup at Grange today at 10am.

Royal Portrush were in rampant form in yesterday’s semi-final with Charlene Reid and the newly capped Irish International Lucy Simpson winning the top two matches on 15 and 12 respectively. Enniscorthy’s Ciara Sharkey was engaged in a battle royale with Victoria Bradshaw in the third match before stalwart Helen Jones ended the encounter with victory over Nicola King on 14.

Kilkenny led from the blocks with Mary Dowling and Eileen Rose Power claiming victories in the top two matches. Gertie McMullen replied for The Island to narrow the deficit but Orla Dunphy secured Kilkenny’s place in the final with a 16th hole victory over Ashleigh Wilton.

Earlier in the day, Royal Portrush overwhelmed Muskerry 4-1 while King birdied 17 to defeat Douglas’ Kate MacCann and edge Enniscorthy into the semi final.

Kilkenny defeated Roscommon with a four match winning margin while The Island ended the dreams of Connacht Champions Portumna with a 3-2 win.


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