Ireland gave the large home gallery plenty to cheer about when they beat defending champions England 8-7 on the opening day of the Home Internationals at County Sligo.
Ireland had struck the first blow of the morning foursomes when Kevin Phelan and Paul Cutler beat Jack Senior and Andrew Sullivan at the 17th
Richard O’Donovan and Eoin Arthurs halved with Steven Brown and Neil Raymond before Eddie McCormack and Alan Dunbar won a tense battle on the 18th.
England hit back however, finishing strongly in the fourth and fifth matches with Tyrrell Hatton and Ben Stow beating Dermot McElroy and Paul Dunne, and then Dave Coupland and Garrick Porteous held on to earn a half against local man Gary McDermott and Niall Gorey.
In the afternoon, Andrew Sullivan hit the birdie trail in a big way to dispatch Alan Dunbar 6/5 but Ireland’s one-point advantage was soon restored when Eddie McCormack beat Jack Senior by 4/3.
Ireland’s lead was extended to two when Paul Cutler dug deep to win a tense battle with Steven Brown by 2 and 1. However, England’s Garrick Porteous completely turned around his match with Kevin Phelan. Having been two down at the turn, he halved his deficit at the 10th and then won the 15th, 16th and 17th to close out the match.
When Neil Raymond was victorious over Aaron Kearney by 43, the score was tied up once again at 5-5, and when Ben Loughrey beat Eoin Arthurs on the 16th, it looked as if the tide was turning.
However, Gary McDermott, who had been one behind for most of the front nine, turned his game around to win on the 17th and put Ireland back on terms.
Dermot McElroy struck soon afterwards, holding his nerve to roll in a 10-footer on the final green to hold off Ben Stow, and it was then that attention turned to the final two matches, in which England had held the upper hand with a handful of holes to play.
Paul Dunne won the 16th to draw level with Ben Taylor, and the pair shared the final two holes for a halved match, leaving Ireland one point ahead with one game on the course.
England had high hopes of salvaging a draw, however, as Dave Coupland was one up on Ireland debutant Niall Gorey with two to play.
However, Gorey holed a 25-footer for par at the long par-four 17th to draw level, and calmly two-putted the last for par, after which Coupland’s birdie effort to win the match came up just shy.
Meanwhile, Scotland weathered an early Welsh charge with a strong display in the afternoon singles to win by nine matches to six.
Wales raced ahead on the front nine of the foursomes, and at the turn were up in four of the five foursomes before Scotland began to make up the difference.
Michael Stewart and Ross Kellett halved with Welsh duo Richard Bentham and Alastair Jones in the first match.
Wales took the ascendancy in matches two and three, with Jason Shufflebotham and Joe Vickery hanging on to win on the 18th against David Law and Paul Shields.
Rhys Enoch and James Frazer added to the tally for Wales with a 5/4 victory over James Byrne and Graeme Robertson before Scotland scored their first win through Kris Nicol and Greg Paterson – a 2/1 victory over Ben Westgate and David Boote. James White and Philip McLean completed the Scottish comeback with a one-hole victory over Oliver Farr and Rhys Pugh.
With that, the impetus was firmly with the Scots and victories by David Law over Alastair Jones, James Byrne over Joe Vickery, Greg Paterson over Ben Westgate and Kris Nicol over Rhys Enoch meant the writing was on the wall for the Welsh.
However, they did not give up without a fight, with Jason Shufflebotham beating Michael Stewart on the 18th green, and Oliver Farr and James Frazer recording 5 and 4 wins over Paul Shields and James Frazer respectively.
But Graeme Robertson’s half with Irish Amateur Open champion Rhys Pugh brought Scotland ever closer to victory, while Philip McLean and Ross Kellett recorded simultaneous triumphs on the 16th over Richard Hooper and David Boote.
Home Internationals, Co Sligo Golf Club
Wednesday 10 August 2011
Ireland 8 England 7
Foursomes: K Phelan & P Cutler bt J Senior & A Sullivan 2/1; R O’Donovan & E Arthurs halved with S Brown & N Raymond; E McCormack & A Dunbar bt C Hinton & B Loughrey 1 hole; P Dunne & D McElroy lost to T Hatton & B Stow 1 hole; G McDermott & N Gorey halved with D Coupland & G Porteous
Singles: P Cutler bt S Brown 2/1; A Dunbar lost to A Sullivan 6/5; E McCormack bt J Senior 4/3; K Phelan lost to G Porteous 2/1; A Kearney lost to N Raymond 4/3; G McDermott bt C Hinton 2/1; D McElroy bt B Stow 1 hole; E Arthurs lost to B Loughrey 3/2; P Dunne halved with B Taylor; N Gorey halved with D Coupland
Scotland 9 Wales 6
Foursomes: M Stewart & R Kellett halved with R Bentham & A Jones; D Law & P Shields lost to J Shufflebotham & J Vickery 1 hole; J Byrne & G Robertson lost to R Enoch & J Frazer 6/4; K Nicol & G Paterson bt B Westgate & D Boote 2/1; J White & P McLean bt O Farr & R Pugh 2 holes.
Singles: M Stewart lost to J Shufflebotham 1 hole; D Law bt A Jones 4/2; J Byrne bt J Vickery 2/1; G Paterson bt B Westgate 4/3; K Nicol bt R Enoch 3/2; P Shields lost to O Farr 5/4; G Robertson halved with R Pugh; P McLean bt R Hooper 3/2; R Kellett bt D Boote 4/2; J White lost to J Frazer 5/4.
Thursday 11 August 2011
Ireland v Wales (Ireland names first)
Foursomes: K Phelan & P Cutler v R Bentham & R Hooper; A Dunbar & E McCormack v R Enoch & J Frazer; R O’Donovan & E Arthurs v J Shufflebotham & J Vickery; P Dunne & D McElroy v D Boote & B Westgate; N Gorey & G McDermott v R Pugh & O Farr.
Singles: P Cutler v R Enoch; A Dunbar v J Shufflebotham; E McCormack v A Jones; K Phelan v R Pugh; A Kearney v O Farr; G McDermott v R Bentham; D McElroy v D Boote; R O’Donovan v B Westgate; P Dunne v J Vickery; N Gorey v J Frazer.
Scotland v England (Scotland names first)
Foursomes: M Stewart & R Kellett v J Senior & A Sullivan; J Byrne & G Robertson v S Brown & N Raymond; D Law & P Shields v C Hinton & B Loughrey; K Nicol & G Paterson v D Coupland & G Porteous; J White & P McLean v B Taylor & B Stow.
Singles: M Stewart v A Sullivan; D Law v S Brown; J Byrne v J Senior; G Paterson v N Raymond; S Gibson v G Porteous; G Robertson v T Hatton; P McLean v D Coupland; K Nicol v B Loughrey; J White v C Hinton; R Kellett v B Taylor.