Ireland celebrate in 2008Defending champions Ireland are six shots behind pace-setters England after the opening round of the PGAs of Europe International Team Championship in Spain.

St Margaret’s John Kelly fired two under par 70 and Peter Martin a 73 at Roda Golf in Murcia with David Ryan’s 77 discarded.

That leaves the Irish trio in a four-way tie for second place with Wales, Belgium and the United Arab Emirates on one-under par 143 with England out in front on seven-under 137.

Kelly teamed up with Eamonn Brady and Robert Giles to win the title by eight shots at the same venue last year.

On that occasion, Ireland held a four stroke lead after the opening day.