Purcell and Yates show nerves of steel as Leinster retain Interpros
 Conor Purcell (Leinster) holes the winning putt on the 18th green to clinch victory in the 2016 Interprovincial Championship at Fota Island. Picture by  Pat Cashman

Conor Purcell (Leinster) holes the winning putt on the 18th green to clinch victory in the 2016 Interprovincial Championship at Fota Island. Picture by Pat Cashman

Three Ulster men finished at the top of the points table but it was Leinster who claimed back to back Interprovincial Championship titles for the first time in 44 years when they halved with the men from the Red Hand province at Fota Island.

Requiring only a halved match with Ulster to retain their title, Leinster got it in the end but only because Jonny Yates eagled the last to snatch a halved match with Colin Fairweather before Portmarnock’s Conor Purcell then clinched the winning point by making birdie at the 18th to beat the John Ross Galbraith, the event’s leading points scorer, by one hole.

Connacht beat a disappointing Munster 6.5 to 4.5 just 24 hours after letting Ulster off the hook at the death.

The men from west took third place and on the balance of play over the three days it was fitting that Leinster did just enough to take the trophy.

Level after the foursomes, Ulster needed four points from the singles to take the title and got one early when Dermot McElroy beat Rowan Lester 2 and 1.

Fairweather looked certain to put another on the board when he holed a long putt for birdie on the 18th against Yates.

But the West of Ireland champion rapped home a 20 footer for a winning eagle and what turned out to be a crucial half. 

When Kevin LeBlanc ended Tiarnan McLarnon’s excellent interpros with a 3 and 2 win and the consistent Daniel Holland beat Ben Best 4 and 3, defeats for Caolan Rafferty and Eugene Smith, meant it all came down to Purcell and Galbraith.

Whitehead star Galbraith has had a slow season by his high standards but after winning all five of his matches, it was cruel that his only defeat should prove decisive.

As for the bigger pictures, the Irish selectors face a tough task to pick the side for the Home Internationals.

Galbraith (5 points out of 6), McLarnon (4.5/6) and Fairweather (4.5/6) were the top players with Leinster’s Smith (4/5), LeBlanc (4/6), Purcell (4/6) and Holland (4/6) impressing alongside Connacht’s Ronan Mullarney and Sean Flanagan, and Ulstermen McElroy and Gareth Lappin.

P D1F D1S D2F D2S D3F D3S Tot
John-Ross Galbraith 6 1 1 1 1 1 0 5
Tiarnan McLarnon 6 1 1 1 0.5 1 0 4.5
Colin Fairweather 6 1 1 0 1 1 0.5 4.5
Eugene Smith 5 1 - 1 1 1 0 4
Kevin LeBlanc 6 1 0 1 1 0 1 4
Conor Purcell 6 0 1 1 1 0 1 4
Ronan Mullarney 6 1 1 0 1 0 1 4
Gareth Lappin 6 0.5 1 1 0.5 0 1 4
Daniel Holland 6 1 0 1 0 1 1 4
Sean Flanagan 6 0 1 1 0 1 1 4
Dermot McElroy 6 1 1 0 0 1 1 4
Andrew McCormack 6 0.5 1 0 1 1 0 3.5
Jonathan Yates 6 0 1 1 1 0 0.5 3.5
Cathal Nolan 6 0 1 1 0.5 0 1 3.5
Rowan Lester 6 1 1 1 0 0 0 3
Caolan Rafferty 6 1 0 1 0 1 0 3
Thomas Mulligan 4 1 0 1 - 1 - 3
Mark Morrissey 6 0 0 1 0 1 1 3
Joe Lyons 5 0 1 1 0.5 0 - 2.5
Peter O’Keeffe 6 1 0 0 0 0.5 1 2.5
Jack McDonnell 6 1 0 0 1 0 0 2
Ben Best 6 0.5 0 1 0.5 0 0 2
Pat Murray 6 0 0 0 1 1 0 2
Jordan Hood 5 0 1 0 - 0 1 2
Robin Dawson 6 0 0 0 1 0 1 2
Shaun Carter 5 0 - 0 0.5 0.5 1 2
Gary O’Flaherty 4 0.5 0 0 - 1 - 1.5
Cathal Butler 5 1 0 0 - 0 0 1
Geoff Lenehan 6 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
Stephen Healy 5 0 0 0 - 0.5 0 0.5
John Hickey 5 0 - 0 0 0.5 0 0.5
Stuart Bleakley 4 0 - 0 0 0 - 0
Leinster  Ulster   Connacht  Munster 
Mon  4th July  2016  8½  2½ 
Tue  5th July  2016  5½  5½ 
Wed  6th July  2016  5½v 5½  6½  4½ 
Total  19½  19½  17  10 
Place Squad Fixtures Games 
Pl Won Halved Lost Pts  Played Won Drawn Lost Points 
1st Leinster  33  19  13  19.5 
2nd  Ulster  33  17  11  19.5 
3rd Connacht  33  15  14  17 
4th  Munster  33  22  10 

INTERPROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP SCORES

Munster 4.5 Connacht 6.5

Foursomes

  1. Robin Dawson & Cathal Butler lost to Sean Flanagan & Mark Morrissey 1 hole
  2. Peter O’Keefe & John Hickey halved with Shaun Carter & Stephen Healy
  3. Andrew McCormack & Geoff Lenehan beat Ronan Mullarney & Jack McDonnell 3/2
  4. Pat Murray & Gary O’Flaherty beat Joe Lyons & Cathal Nolan 2 holes

Singles

  1. Robin Dawson beat Stephen Healy 3/2
  2. Andrew McCormack lost to Mark Morrissey 3/2
  3. Geoff Lenehan lost to Shaun Carter 2 holes
  4. Peter O’Keefe beat Jack McDonnell 5/3
  5. Cathal Butler lost to Cathal Nolan 4/3
  6. John Hickey lost to Ronan Mullarney 4/2
  7. Pat Murray lost to Sean Flanagan 4/3

Leinster 5.5 Ulster 5.5

Foursomes

  1. Rowan Lester & Kevin LeBlanc lost to Dermot McElroy & Colin Fairweather 2/1
  2. Jonathan Yates & Conor Purcell lost to John-Ross Galbraith & Tiarnan McLarnon 2/1
  3. Caolan Rafferty & Eugene Smith  beat Stuart Bleakley & Jordan Hood 2 holes
  4. Daniel Holland & Thomas Mulligan beat Ben Best & Gareth Lappin 4/3

Singles

  1. Rowan Lester lost to Dermot McElroy 2/1
  2. Jonathan Yates halved with Colin Fairweather
  3. Conor Purcell beat John-Ross Galbraith 1 hole
  4. Kevin LeBlanc beat Tiarnan McLarnon 3/2
  5. Caolan Rafferty lost to Gareth Lappin 5/4
  6. Eugene Smith lost to Jordan Hood 2 holes
  7. Daniel Holland beat Ben Best 4/3.