Irish Girls go down fighting to England

Ireland hopes of a first ever win in the Girls Home Internationals ended in disappointment as they fell 7-2 to England who won the Stroyan Cup for the eighth year in a row and the 13th time in the past 15 at Lanark Golf Club.

Ireland lost 5-4 to the English in last year's decider but having lost the foursomes 2-1, the found England too strong overall in the singles. 


Hollie Muse made it 3-1 in England's favour with her sixth win from six, beating GB&I Junior Vagliano Trophy team-mate, Annabel Wilson by 6 and 5, losing only one hole.

Royal County Down Ladies' Olivia Mehaffey, who suffered her first loss of the week in the morning foursomes, bounced back with a 5 and 4 win over GB and I Vagliano trophy team-mate Alice Hewson.

Annabel Bailey increased England's lead to 4-1 with a 6 and 4 win over Julie McCarthy who had started well with winning birdies at the first and second but never won another hole after that.

The fifth point that ensured an England victory came from Emma Allen, which was appropriate as she and earlier winner Holly Muse were the team's most sucacessful individuals with six wins out of six.

She beat Ciara Casey by 4 and 3 but all credit to the Irish player for more than holding her own in the first half of the match. There was only one hole in it - in Allen's favour - after 10 holes. Allen won the 11th to go two up, and also the 13th and 14th on concess.

Elizabeth Prior chalked up England's sixth point by beating Elisa Corcoran 4 and 3. Prior was two down on the third tee to opening birdies by Corcoran but won the fourth and 10th to square the contest and led for the first time at the 12th before winning the 13th, 14th and 15th.

Sammy Fuller completed England's 7-2 victory by beating another Junior Vagliano Trophy player, Mairead Martin, by 4 and 3.
Captain Chris Pascall said: "We knew that they wanted to beat us  as they haven't won the trohpy before and after we beat them narrowly last year we knew that they were looking for revenge.

"I told the team that we had to come out fighting but after 5 holes things didn't look very promising. I put experienced players in the later positions and that helped when we were down initially.

"But it has been the same all week, the matches may look easy from the points, but there were two occasions on the first two days when we were 3 down after 4 holes due to birdies from the other teams - they are not easy matches to win."

Ireland made two changes in the foursomes pairings and lost the session 2-1. 

Emma Allen and Elizabeth Prior beat Casey and Lisa O'Shea on the 15th green  before an impressive 6 and 4 victory by Junior Vagliano Trophy pair, Annabel Wilson and Mairead Martin over Eloise Healey and Emily Toy levelled the match.

However, England regained the lead at 2-1 when Muse and Sammy Fuller scored a 2 and 1 victory over Mehaffey and Julie McCarthy.

Mehaffey was disappointed to say goodbye to the Girls ranks with a defeat but optimistic about the future.