Four-in-a-row as Irish tail wags again in Home Internationals

Four-in-a-row as Irish tail wags again in Home Internationals
 The Ireland side that captured the Raymond Trophy for the fourth year in a row at Moortown. Back row (L-R) Peter O'Keeffe (Douglas), Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk), Colin Fairweather (Knock), Rowan Lester (Hermitage), John Carroll (selector), Tony Goode (Captain), John White (selector), John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead), Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), Neil Manchip (National Coach). Front row (L-R) Robin Dawson (Tramore), Conor O'Rourke (Naas), Conor Purcell (Portmarnock), Paul McBride (The Island) and Alex Gleeson (Castle). Picture courtesy GUI/Golffile | Thos Caffrey

The Ireland side that captured the Raymond Trophy for the fourth year in a row at Moortown. Back row (L-R) Peter O'Keeffe (Douglas), Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk), Colin Fairweather (Knock), Rowan Lester (Hermitage), John Carroll (selector), Tony Goode (Captain), John White (selector), John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead), Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), Neil Manchip (National Coach). Front row (L-R) Robin Dawson (Tramore), Conor O'Rourke (Naas), Conor Purcell (Portmarnock), Paul McBride (The Island) and Alex Gleeson (Castle). Picture courtesy GUI/Golffile | Thos Caffrey

Knock's Colin Fairweather and Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell were the heroes of the hour as Ireland mounted a late singles comeback at Moortown to tie 7.5-7.5 with hosts England and win the Men's Home Internationals for the fourth year in a row — an unprecedented success for Irish golf.

While they finished level with England at two and a half points each, Ireland won by the slimmest of margins on the number of match points won  — 26.5 to 26.

Twelve months after it all came down to Campbell in the anchor match at Nairn, he came up trumps again, recovering from five down after six against Jake Burnage to clinch a crucial halved match.

“All I was thinking at that stage was making sure not to get a dog licence,” said Campbell of his early deficit. 

Tony Goode's charges claimed the morning foursomes 3-2 but while they led 5.5-4.5 as Matthew Jordan fought back to halve with The Island's Paul McBride and Naas' Conor O'Rourke and debutant Caolan Rafferty won at the top of the singles order, they trailed in the final six remaining singles.

 Caolan Rafferty — Ireland's top scorer at Moortown — on the third green during the foursomes on day three of the Home Internationals at Moortown Golf Club, Leeds, England. 18/08/2017 Picture courtesy GUI/Golffile | Thos Caffrey   

Caolan Rafferty — Ireland's top scorer at Moortown — on the third green during the foursomes on day three of the Home Internationals at Moortown Golf Club, Leeds, England. 18/08/2017 Picture courtesy GUI/Golffile | Thos Caffrey

 

Portmarnock's Conor Purcell fell 3 and 2 to Will Whiteoak and while Castle's Alex Gleeson halved with Todd Clements, Hermitage's Rowan Lester lost 2 and 1 to Josh Hilleard to leave England 6.5-5.5 in front.

The matched hinged on the last three singles involving  Fairweather, John Ross Galbraith and Campbell.

Galbraith was three down with three to go but gave Ireland hope by taking Bradley Moore all the way to the 18th before falling by one hole.

With the Whitehead man refusing to wave the white flag, Knock's Fairweather and Warrenpoint's Campbell fought back brilliantly to turn the tide Ireland's way.

 Colm Campbell. Picture courtesy GUI/Golffile | Thos Caffrey   

Colm Campbell. Picture courtesy GUI/Golffile | Thos Caffrey

 

Fairweather was two down after nine to Jack Gaunt but stormed back to win 2 and 1 as Campbell came back from five down after six holes to be just one down to Burnage with six to play.

After squaring the match by the 15th, Campbell came to the 17th knowing that he had to get at least a half to get Ireland over the line.

“I hit probably the best shot of my life,” Campbell said, describing his six-iron approach from 192 yards to three feet.

His birdie was all but secure and when Burnage failed to save par from the bunker, Campbell went ahead.

That meant Ireland could not be beaten. More to the point, it meant that Ireland would be crowned champions.

“It was another special week with the lads,” said Campbell, who hit his approach out of bounds at the 18th to finish up with a halved match. “I know it came down to my match but everybody played their part. It really was a great team effort.”

It was a particularly memorable week for Campbell, Galbraith and Tramore's Robin Dawson, who have now won the Raymond Trophy four years running.

 Conor O'Rourke and Paul McBride following their 2&1 foursomes win on day three of the Home Internationals at Moortown. Picture courtesy GUI/Golffile | Thos Caffrey

Conor O'Rourke and Paul McBride following their 2&1 foursomes win on day three of the Home Internationals at Moortown. Picture courtesy GUI/Golffile | Thos Caffrey

It was also a memorable week for Goode, who took over the side that Pádraig Hogan led to victory for the first time in six years at Southerndown in 2014.

In his three years at the helm, Goode has steered Ireland to three wins in the Home Internationals and that historic first bronze medal in the Eisenhower Trophy in Mexico last year.

He now steps down and will be replaced for 2018 following an open recruitment process with the job set to be advertised later this year.

From 2018 onwards, the appointment of Irish Team Captains at Boys, Senior and Seniors level will be open to external applications with the focus on competency. The GUI Board will appoint each Team Captain.

Scores

Men's Home Internationals 2017 - How they fared

  1. Ireland
  2. England
  3. Wales
  4. Scotland
Name D1F D1S D2F D2S D3F D3S Total
Caolan Rafferty 0 1 1 1 1 1 5
Paul McBride 1 - 1 1 1 0.5 4.5
Conor O’Rourke 1 0 1 0 1 1 4
Colin Fairweather 0 1 1 0 1 1 4
Rowan Lester 1 1 0 1 - 0 3
Peter O’Keeffe 0 0.5 1 1 0 0 2.5
Alex Gleeson 1 1 0 - 0 0.5 2.5
Colm Campbell 0 1 1 0 - 0.5 2.5
Robin Dawson 0 1 1 0 0 - 2
JR Galbraith 0 0 1 1 - 0 2
Conor Purcell 0 0.5 - 1 0 0 1.5