Captain Pádraig Hogan admits that Ireland are struggling to find a winning foursomes formula but a 6½- 8½ win over reigning champions Scotland gives them outside chance of winning the Home Internationals at Ganton on Friday.
The boys in green lost the foursomes session for the second day running, going down 3-2. But six wins and a half from the 10 singles - with an epic performance from Jack Hume - saw Hogan’s squad clinch a crucial, two-point victory.
Ireland must now rack up a big win over Wales on the final day and hope that Scotland beat England, who were comprehensive 11-4 winners over the Welsh on Thursday. However, they will do so with a drastically changed foursomes line up and no Chris Selfridge - out with a neck injury.
“We were very disappointed to lose to England yesterday but today we played a lot better,” Hogan said. “We are still struggling with our foursomes pairings but we won all the tight matches today and you need a bit of luck
“This course is fantastic. The greens are getting faster and faster and it is the player who is most patient who comes out on top. We are relying on Scotland to beat England tomorrow but the outcome is going to be very tight.”
Hogan was true to his word about the foursomes and made wholesale changes (admitttidely forced in part by Selfridge’s absence), leaving just one of today’s pairings unchanged for the final day - unbeaten opening pair Dermot McElroy and Kevin Phelan.
As for today’s win over Scotland, McElroy and Phelan beat Graeme Robertson and Jack McDonald 2 and 1 while Gavin Moynihan and Selfridge defeated James Ross and Ewan Scott on the 18th to give Ireland a 2-0 lead.
However, defeats in the other three foursomes left Hogan’s men in arrears and it took an impressive singles performance to keep Ireland’s hopes of winning the Raymond Trophy alive.
Brian Casey led the way with a 4 and 3 win over James Ross then Gavin Moynihan took the top game 2 and 1 against Graeme Robertson. Moynihan was 3-up after going out in two-under-par 34 and although Robertson pegged it back, the end came at the 17th.
Dermot McElroy found himself two behind early on to Jack McDonald, who was also out in 34, thanks to an eagle at the ninth and 1-up.
McElroy levelled with a birdie-two on the tenth, went ahead with another on 12 and they swapped further birdies until a par on the last saw an impressive McElroy take the point by 1 hole to maintain his 100 pecent record.
Grant Forrest edged past Phelan 2 and 1 and Alex Culverwell secured their biggest winning margin, 4 and 3 over Cormac Sharvin before a half by Reeve Whitson against Scott Barrowman.
Paul Dunne, Jack Hume and Rory McNamara got Ireland over the line with Hume the man to secure the crucial point.
Four down to Scott Crichton at the turn, Hume made two birdies and won four holes-in-a-row from the tenth to get back level.
Although Crichton led again with a birdie at the 14th, Hume covered the last three holes in par to win by one hole.
England are favourites to regain the title after demolishing Wales 11-4 and need only a draw with Scotland, who need to win.
Ireland must rack up a big win over Wales and hope that Scotland beat England.
“Now, it’s in our own hands,” said England captain Terry Casey. “We know it won’t be easy. It never is against the Scots.
“They are strong in depth and they won’t give us anything as we found in the Europeans in Denmark.”
Home International Matches, Ganton GC
P W D L MPts P W D L GPts
- England 2 2 0 0 4 30 18 2 10 19
- Scotland 2 1 0 1 2 30 15 2 13 16
- Ireland 2 1 0 1 2 30 14 3 13 15.5
- Wales 2 0 0 2 0 30 9 1 20 9.5
Scotland 6½ Ireland 8½
- Graeme Robertson & Jack McDonald lost to Dermot McElroy & Kevin Phelan 2 & 1
- James Ross & Ewan Scott lost to Gavin Moynihan & Chris Selfridge 1 hole
- Scott Borrowman & Grant Forrest bt Brian Casey & Reeve Whitson 4 & 2
- Matthew Clark & Alexander Culverwell bt Jack Hume & Cormac Sharvin 2 holes
- Daniel Young & Bradley Neil bt Gary Hurley & Rory McNamara 2 & 1
Foursomes Total Scotland 3 Ireland 2
- Graeme Robertson lost to Gavin Moynihan 2 & 1
- Grant Forrest bt Kevin Phelan 2 & 1
- Jack McDonald lost to Dermot McElroy 1 Hole
- James Ross lost to Brian Casey 4 & 3
- Scott Borrowman halved with Reeve Whitson
- Daniel Young lost to Paul Dunne 3 & 2
- Alexander Culverwell bt Cormac Sharvin 4 & 3
- Scott Crichton lost to Jack Hume 1 Hole
- Bradley Neil bt Gary Hurley 3 & 2
- Matthew Clark lost to Rory McNamara 4 & 3
Singles Total Scotland 3½ Ireland 6½
Thursday Total Scotland 6½ Ireland 8½
Ireland v Wales
- Dermot McElroy & Kevin Phelan v Matthew Moseley & Ben Westgate
- Gavin Moynihan & Reeve Whitson v Jason Shufflebotham & David Boote
- Brian Casey & Rory McNamara v Alistair Jones & Lee Jones
- Paul Dunne & Jack Hume v Craig Melding & Mike Hearne
- Gary Hurley & Cormac Sharvin v Jack Bush & Zach Galliford
- Kevin Phelan v Ben Westgate
- Gavin Moynihan v Jason Shufflebotham
- Reeve Whitson v Matthew Moseley
- Dermot McElroy v Craig Melding
- Rory McNamara v Mike Hearne
- Paul Dunne v Zach Galliford
- Brian Casey v Lee Jones
- Gary Hurley v David Boote
- Cormac Sharvin v Alistair Jones
- Jack Hume v Jack Bush
The Raymond Trophy shall be presented to the country with the highest number of Match Points. In the event of a tie the result will be determined in sequence upon:
• Overall total game points won;
• The individual Match result of the tied countries;
• Should there still be a tie on the number of points the higher placed team in the previous year’s meeting shall have preference.