Six men returned 100 percent record from both sessions as Leinster overcame Connacht and Ulster beat Munster on the opening day of the Interprovincial Championship at Fota Island.
As Rowan Lester and Ronan Mullarney won both their matches for Leinster and Connacht, Ulster's had a poker of aces in Colin Fairweather, Dermot McElroy, John-Ross Galbraith and Tiarnan McLarnon as they won both their games in Ulster's 8.5 to 2.5 victory over Munster..
Champions Leinster had to sweat to see off a gallant Connacht 6-5 with Mullarney leading from the front with an impressive 6 and 5 foursomes win alongside Jack McDonnell over West of Ireland champion Jonathan Yates from Naas and Portmarnock's Conor Purcell before going on to beat Thomas Mulligan 3 and 2 in the mano a mano showdown afternoon.
Leading 3-1 after the morning foursomes, Leinster were just one point from victory after Rowan Lester and Yates secured wins at the top of the order.
A two-hole win for Purcell ensured a victory for the reigning champions but wins for Mullarney, Sean Flanagan, Cathal Nolan and Joe Lyons is a morale booster for the men from the west as they take on Ulster on Tuesday with the potential to do some damage.
Ulster were leading 2.5-1.5 going into the afternoon and they made light work of Munster in the singles with McElroy, Fairweather, McLarnon and Gareth Lappin ensure overall victory before Jordan Hood and Galbraith saw them take the session 6-1.
During the opening foursomes session, Kevin Le Blanc and Rowan Lester led from the front for Leinster, making a string of birdies on their way to a 4&3 victory against Shaun Carter and Stephen Healy.
While Mullarney and McDonnell claimed an impressive 6&5 win for Connacht in game two, Leinster took the session 3-1 when Mulligan and Daniel Holland held on for a one-hole win against Cathal Nolan and Joe Lyons.
Debutant Caolan Rafferty holed a birdie putt on 16 to clinch a 3&2 win alongside Eugene Smith in game three as Leinster took a two-point lead into the singles.
Ulster won two matches to take a one-point lead from the foursomes.
Top pair Fairweather and McElroy were unstoppable, romping to victory in just 12 holes as Galbraith and McLarnon were also cruising to victory against Pat Murray and Geoff Lenehan until the Munster duo staged a late rally.
Murray chipped in for birdie at the 17th as the Munster pair won three holes in a row to keep the match alive. Having been four up with four to play, McLarnon and Galbraith needed a par on the last to clinch a one-hole victory.
Munster’s only win of the morning came courtesy of Cathal Butler and former professional Peter O’Keefe, who had a 4&3 success against Stuart Bleakely and Hood.
The back match ended all square when Munster pair Andrew McCormack and Gary O’Flaherty secured a half with Gareth Lappin and Ben Best.
Interprovincial Championship, Fota Island Resort
Monday Leinster 6 Connacht 5 (Leinster names first)
- Rowan Lester & Kevin Le Blanc beat Stephen Healy & Shaun Carter 4/3
- Jonathan Yates & Conor Purcell lost to Ronan Mullarney & Jack McDonnell 6/5
- Caolan Rafferty & Eugene Smith beat Sean Flanagan & Mark Morrissey 3/2
- Daniel Holland & Thomas Mulligan beat Joe Lyons & Cathal Nolan 1 hole
- Rowan Lester beat Stephen Healy 2 holes
- Jonathan Yates beat Jack McDonnell 3/2
- Kevin Le Blanc lost to Sean Flanagan 2/1
- Thomas Mulligan lost to Ronan Mullarney 3/2
- Conor Purcell beat Mark Morrissey 2 holes
- Caolan Rafferty lost to Cathal Nolan 1 hole
- Daniel Holland lost to Joe Lyons 1 hole
Munster 2.5 Ulster 8.5 (Munster names first)
- Robin Dawson & John Hickey lost to Dermot McElroy & Colin Fairweather 7/6
- Pat Murray & Geoff Lenehan lost to Tiarnan McLarnon & John-Ross Galbraith 1 hole
- Peter O’Keefe & Cathal Butler beat Jordan Hood & Stuart Bleakley 4/3
- Gary O’Flaherty & Andrew McCormack halved with Ben Best & Gareth Lappin
- Robin Dawson lost to Dermot McElroy 2/1
- Geoff Lenehan lost to Colin Fairweather 4/3
- Peter O’Keefe lost to Tiarnan McLarnon 2/1
- Cathal Butler lost to Gareth Lappin 6/5
- Andrew McCormack beat Ben Best 3/1
- Pat Murray lost to Jordan Hood 2/1
- Gary O’Flaherty lost to John-Ross Galbraith 3/2
|D1 Foursomes||D1 Singles||Total|
Tuesday 5 July
Leinster v Munster (Leinster names first, 8am at 10-minute intervals)
- Rowan Lester & Kevin Le Blanc v Pat Murray & Geoff Lenehan
- Jonathan Yates & Conor Purcell v Gary O’Flaherty & Andrew McCormack
- Caolan Rafferty & Eugene Smith v Peter O’Keefe & Cathal Butler
- Daniel Holland & Thomas Mulligan v Robin Dawson & John Hickey
Ulster v Connacht (Ulster names first, 8.40am at 10-minute intervals)
- Dermot McElroy & Colin Fairweather v Sean Flanagan & Mark Morrissey
- Tiarnan McLarnon & John-Ross Galbraith v Shaun Carter & Stephen Healy
- Ben Best & Gareth Lappin v Ronan Mullarney & Jack McDonnell
- Jordan Hood & Stuart Bleakley v Joe Lyons & Cathal Nolan