Caps for O'Keeffe and Rafferty; blow for Anderson
Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty. Picture courtesy  Pat Cashman /GUI

Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty. Picture courtesy Pat Cashman/GUI

Ireland's elite amateur events suffered another blow when West of Ireland champion Barry Anderson was left out of the side for this month's Home Internationals at Moortown.

While there was good news for Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty and Irish Amateur Open winner Peter O'Keeffe, Anderson did not make the 11-man squad that will seek an unprecedented fourth successive Raymond Trophy in Leeds from August 16-18.

He won the West of Ireland title at Co Sligo at Easter as well the Munster Strokeplay Championship to lie ninth in the Willie Gill Perpetual Award standings before reaching the semi-finals of the South of Ireland Championship last weekend.

He played in the Home Internationals in 2010, winning one and losing three of his four matches but while Stuart Grehan was unavailable for the trip to Moortown and Sean Flanagan and Tiarnan McLarnon were dropped, the three available places went O'Keeffe and Rafferty with Colin Fairweather recalled following his run to the North of Ireland final last month.

Reinstated in the amateur ranks after a short professional career, O'Keeffe (35) was an impressive winner at Royal County Down and a semi-finalist at Lahinch while Rafferty (24) finished tied for seventh at the Lytham Trophy and made it to the last 16 of the Amateur Championship in Sandwich having led the qualifiers thanks to a second round 62 at Prince's.

The Island's Paul McBride, a beaten quarter finalist at Royal St George's, will be playing in the Home Internationals for the third time.

He comes into the event on the back of a fine performance on the European Tour, making the cut with two shots to spare in the Porsche European Open in Germany.

Grehan is unavailable for selection as he is competing at the US Amateur Championship at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.

Douglas' Peter O'Keeffe. Picture courtesy  Pat Cashman /GUI

Douglas' Peter O'Keeffe. Picture courtesy Pat Cashman/GUI

While O'Keeffe and Rafferty come in for Flanagan and McLarnon, there is no shortage of experience in the side with 2016 match-winner Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) and Robin Dawson (Tramore) featuring on the last three winning teams. 

North of Ireland champion Rowan Lester retains his place along with Alex Gleeson (Castle), Conor O’Rourke (Naas) and Conor Purcell (Portmarnock) while Fairweather (Knock) returns having previously been capped for the 2015 Home Internationals at Royal Portrush.

Team captain Tony Goode is confident he has picked the right team.

Goode said: “I’m really pleased with the two new caps, Peter O’Keeffe and Caolan Rafferty. They both deserve their place in the team. 

"It is an experienced team and hopefully the boys can bring their A game. You need your A-game at the Home Internationals.”

Ireland, Home Internationals, Moortown, 16-18 August

  • Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint)
  • Robin Dawson (Tramore)
  • Colin Fairweather (Knock)
  • John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead)
  • Alex Gleeson (Castle)
  • Rowan Lester (Hermitage)
  • Paul McBride (The Island)
  • Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas)
  • Conor O’Rourke (Naas)
  • Conor Purcell (Portmarnock)
  • Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk).