Kelan tees up perfect week

By Brian Keogh

Teen sensation Kelan McDonagh wants to end a perfect week by leading Connacht to a shock victory in the Golfsure Interprovincial Matches at County Louth.

The Athlone ace, 17, has won four matches out of four to leave the westerners within striking distance of their first provincial crown for 24 years.

Connacht lost 8/12 - 4 1/ 2 to hosts Leinster as Ulster beat Munster 7-6, leaving all four provinces with one win each entering the final day.

But after getting a positive result in the Leaving Certificate this week, McDonagh hopes to round off an impressive interprovincial debut with a title clinching victory over Munster.

A one hole winner over former soccer star Stephen Gran, McDonagh said: "It's be great so far. I got the result I wanted in the leaving and I've won four points out of four. I want to make it six out of six."

McDonagh's week got off to a shaky start when he cost his side two holes in Thursday's foursomes for playing with an extra club in his bag.

But he bounced back to win a vital point with partner Ciaran O'Connor and the pair were victors again yesterday, beating Grant and Andrew Hogan by one hole.

Leinster led 2 1/2 - 1 1/2 after the foursomes and then took six of the nine singles to go into today's clash with Ulster with their title hopes intact.

Team skipper Frank Gannon said: "The players performed much better today. Losing all four foursomes yesterday was a terrible start to the matches for us.

"Today we got two and a half out of four which took a lot of pressure of us going into the singles and it makes for a terrific final day tomorrow because all four provinces are in with a chance."

Defending champions Ulster bounced back to form with a 7-6 win over Munster after a shaky foursomes display.

Trailing 2 ½ to 1 ½, the holders won five and halved one of the nine singles matches to keep themselves in contention.

Ulster skipper John White said: "It was extremely tight but we are delighted to get out with a win today. Year after year we seem to end up playing Leinster on Friday and it is going to be interesting.

"We are a point or two behind and we need a good win. Foursomes are vital and it is tough to pick a team."

Ulster 7 Munster 6; Leinster 8 ½ Connacht 4 ½. Overall standings: Leinster 1pt (14 matches); Munster 1 (13 1/2); Connacht 1 (12 1/2); Ulster 1 (12).

Today: Ulster v Leinster; Connacht v Munster