Munster began their defence of the Interprovincial Championship with a four-point win over Connacht that saw them show their stamina as they outlasted the 2011 champions despite lagging behind early on in both the foursomes and singles, writes the GUI.
In the other match, Ulster and Leinster fought out a draw in a back-and-forth affair that included many thrills and spills.
Munster had accrued an early deficit in three of the first four matches, but comeback victories by Kevin Phelan/Alan Thomas over Alex Gleeson/Gary McDermott, and by Geoff Lenehan/Pat Murray over Steffan O’Hara/Barry Anderson (both at the 17th) gave them an excellent platform.
Stephen Healy and Declan Loftus struck a blow for Connacht by beating Gary Hurley and Kieran Lynch at the 15th, but Niall Gorey and Gary O’Flaherty proved too strong for Kelan McDonagh and Stephen Brady, and a 4/3 win for the former pair left Munster 3-1 to the good at lunch.
It looked as though Ulster would enjoy a similar lead against Leinster, but Gavin Moynihan and Stuart Grehan surged back with three birdies to win the last three holes and claim a one-hole win over Dermot McElroy and Nicky Grant, which left things tied at 2-2.
Harry Diamond and Reeve Whitson won at the 16th for Ulster against Robbie Cannon and Brian Casey, while Tiarnan McLarnon and Chris Selfridge were also victorious over Rory McNamara and Richard O’Donovan by one hole.
But Grehan and Moynihan’s victory, coupled with the 8 and 7 hammering Paul Dunne and Jack Hume handed Aaron Kearney and Cormac Sharvin, ensured parity.
The resilience of Leinster continued into the afternoon, typified by Paul Dunne’s spectacular albatross two on the long 15th against Dermot McElroy on his way to a 3 and 2 victory.
However, the pendulum swung back towards Ulster late on, and when Aaron Kearney hung on to secure a surprise 3 and 2 win over former Irish Amateur Open champion Gavin Moynihan, it looked to be Ulster’s day.
However, Nicky Grant, one up with two to play against Stuart Grehan, found the trees on the left of the 17th off the tee and ceded his advantage there.
Both players missed the green to the right with their approaches at the 18th, and both players failed to get up and down leaving honours even.
Munster didn’t have it all their own way in the afternoon either, with Connacht taking an early ascendancy in a number of matches, and this time following through when Anderson and McDermott delivered early wins.
However, they held their nerve and when Gary O’Flaherty edged Alex Gleeson by 3 and 1 in a very tight match, they were home and dry.
Munster now meet Leinster, who will be looking to pick themselves up from the disappointment against Ulster as they vie to win their first Interprovincial Series since 2008.
Connacht meet Ulster in the second match.
Senior Interprovincial Matches, Lee Valley Golf Club
Tuesday 23 July 2013
Munster 7.5 Connacht 3/5 (Munster names first)
Kevin Phelan & Alan Thomas beat Gary McDermott & Alex Gleeson 2/1;
Pat Murray & Geoff Lenehan beat Barry Anderson & Steffan O’Hara 2/1;
Gary Hurley & Kieran Lynch lost to Stephen Healy & Declan Loftus 4/3;
Gary O’Flaherty & Niall Gorey beat Stephen Brady & Kelan McDonagh 4/3
Geoff Lenehan lost to Gary McDermott 2/1;
Gary Hurley lost to Barry Anderson 6/5;
Kevin Phelan beat Stephen Healy 2/1;
Alan Thomas beat Steffan O’Hara 4/3;
Gary O’Flaherty beat Alex Gleeson 3/1;
Pat Murray beat Kelan McDonagh 3/2;
Niall Gorey halved with Declan Loftus
Ulster 5.5 Leinster 5.5 (Ulster names first)
Reeve Whitson & Harry Diamond beat Robbie Cannon & Brian Casey 3/2;
Chris Selfridge & Tiarnan McLarnon beat Rory McNamara & Richard O’Donovan 1 hole;
Cormac Sharvin & Aaron Kearney lost to Paul Dunne & Jack Hume 8/7;
Dermot McElroy & Nicky Grant lost to Gavin Moynihan & Stuart Grehan 1 hole
Chris Selfridge beat Robbie Cannon 5/4;
Cormac Sharvin halved with Brian Casey;
Reeve Whitson halved with Rory McNamara;
Dermot McElroy lost to Paul Dunne 3/2;
Harry Diamond lost to Jack Hume 2/1;
Aaron Kearney beat Gavin Moynihan 3/2;
Nicky Grant halved with Stuart Grehan
Munster v Leinster (Munster names first)
Foursomes (0800hrs at nine-minute intervals):
Kevin Phelan & Alan Thomas v Robbie Cannon & Brian Casey
Gary Hurley & Kieran Lynch v Rory McNamara & Richard O’Donovan
Pat Murray & Geoff Lenehan v Paul Dunne & Jack Hume
Gary O’Flaherty & Niall Gorey v Gavin Moynihan & Stuart Grehan
Singles (1300hrs at eight-minute intervals):
Gary Hurley v Brian Casey
Kevin Phelan v Rory McNamara
Alan Thomas v Richard O’Donovan
Geoff Lenehan v Paul Dunne
Gary O’Flaherty v Jack Hume
Pat Murray v Gavin Moynihan
Niall Gorey v Stuart Grehan
Ulster v Connacht (Ulster names first)
Foursomes (0836hrs at nine-minute intervals):
Reeve Whitson & Harry Diamond v Gary McDermott & Alex Gleeson
Chris Selfridge & Tiarnan McLarnon v Stephen Healy & Declan Loftus
Cormac Sharvin & Dermot McElroy v Barry Anderson & Steffan O’Hara
Aaron Kearney & Nicky Grant v Kelan McDonagh & Stephen Brady
Singles (1356hrs at eight-minute intervals):
Cormac Sharvin v Gary McDermott
Reeve Whitson v Barry Anderson
Aaron Kearney v Stephen Healy
Dermot McElroy v Steffan O’Hara
Harry Diamond v Stephen Brady
Tiarnan McLarnon v Alex Gleeson
Nicky Grant v Declan Loftus