Ireland hasn't had four players on a Walker Cup team since Jimmy Bruen, Cecil Ewing, Joe Carr and Sam McCready played at Royal Birkdale in 1951. But it could happen again this year after five Irishmen made the initial 20-man squad.
The last time three Irish players represented Great Britain and Ireland in a Walker Cup team was 1991, when Garth McGimpsey was joined by Paul McGinley and Pádraig Harrington at Portmarnock.
But there are now high hopes that at least three Irish players will face the USA at Royal Lytham & St Annes from September 12-13 and try to win back thetrophy after the USA’s convincing 17-9 victory in the 2013 match at the National Golf Links of America in New York.
The Island's Gavin Moynihan is the only player in the squad with previous Walker Cup experience and he's expected to retain his place while Greystones' Paul Dunne and West Waterford's Gary Hurley, who played on the winning GB&I St Andrews Trophy team last year, are also fancied to make Nigel Edwards 10-man team.
Naas Jack Hume, the West of Ireland champion, and Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin, who were key members of the Ireland side that won the Home Internationals and reached the final of the European Amateur Team Championship last year, have also caugh the eye.
A get together for the 20-man squad will be held on 21 and 22 July at Royal Lytham & St Annes and the players will also meet ahead of the Lytham Trophy in May.
And while there is no place in the initial squad for the likes of Dermot McElroy, Chris Selfridge, Kevin LeBlanc or host of other top young Irish players such as Thomas Mulligan, team captain Edwards is expecting players from outside teh initial squad to challenge for places in the team.
“We have selected a strong squad of players and they will all know that they are in contention for a place on the team and it is up to them to perform this season," he said in a statement.
“As the season progresses I am sure that a number of players who do not form part of this current squad will challenge for places on the team as has happened in previous years with the likes of Steven Brown and Danny Willett playing their way on to the 2011 and 2007 teams. Players who do not form part of this squad can still play their way on to the team for September.”
Amateur Champion Bradley Neil leads a strong Scottish contingent in the squad, which also includes the 2014 St Andrews Links Trophy champion, Grant Forrest, and Jamie Savage, who won the Irish Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship.
Moynihan, who is the current Scottish Open Stroke Play Champion, played in the 2013 match where he earned two points for GB&I.
Hurley finished joint runner-up in the 2014 European Amateur Championship while Dunne came through Final Qualifying to play in last year’s Open at Royal Liverpool.
Double European Amateur champion Ashley Chesters, Adam Chapman, who won the South of England Open Amateur Championship last year, and Sam Horsfield, who recently successfully defended his New Year’s Invitational title in Florida, are among the English players in the squad.
David Boote, who enjoyed a top ten finish in last year’s European Amateur Championship, is the sole Welshman included.
The GB&I squad:
- Tomasz Anderson (Brocket Hall)
- David Boote (Walton Heath)
- Daniel Brown (Bedale)
- Adam Chapman (Windermere)
- Ashley Chesters (Hawkstone Park)
- Paul Dunne (Greystones)
- Grant Forrest (Craigielaw)
- Sam Horsfield (Davenport, USA)
- Paul Howard (Southport & Ainsdale)
- Jack Hume (Naas)
- Gary Hurley (West Waterford)
- Jack McDonald (Kilmarnock (Barassie))
- Nick Marsh (Huddersfield)
- Gavin Moynihan (The Island)
- Jimmy Mullen (Royal North Devon)
- Bradley Neil (Blairgowrie)
- Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie)
- Jamie Savage (Cawder)
- Cormac Sharvin (Ardglass)
- Ben Stow (Rushmore)
The final ten-man GB&I team will be announced in August.
Tickets for the 2015 Walker Cup match will go on sale at the beginning of May.