Leinster fell 7-4 to Connacht but captured the Interprovincial Championship for the fourth time in five years when they edged out the westerners and Ulster by virtue of their great match points tally.
The three provinces ended up with two wins apiece at Tullamore as Ulster consigned champions Munster to the wooden spoon with a 9-2 win.
After clear cut wins over Ulster and Munster on the first two days, Leinster only needed three points to take the trophy.
In the end they managed four against a brave Connacht side that shared the foursomes and then won five of the seven singles with TJ Ford bringing his tally to five out of six and the veteran Joe Lyons unbeaten with four and a half points from his five matches.
Leinster had more strength in depth with all eight players contributing handsomely over the three days - none more so than Hermitage’s Rowan Lester, who claimed five and a half points out of six.
"It feels great to be back in the winning enclosure after losing out last year," said the winning captain, Seamus McParland. "I'm absolutely delighted for the team. A great performance on the first two days. We had the hard work done."
The Irish selectors will now sit down to pick the team for the Home Internationals at Lahinch next month and with Lester dismissing any doubts his form with an impressive performance, it would be no surprise if Connacht’s Ford, Lyons and Sean Flanagan and Leinster’s Keith Egan figured prominently in their deliberations.
The GUI writes:
An incredible haul of 10 points from the foursomes propelled Leinster. The champions whitewashed Ulster and Munster in the pairs format and finished the week as champions by virtue of their superior match points total.
“One of my theories in team golf and amateur golf, if you get your foursomes right and get points on the board, it takes a fair bit of the pressure off the singles performance,” McParland explained. “It helped us this week to win the Interprovincial Championship.”
Leinster’s lead pairing of Rob Brazill and Rowan Lester delivered three wins. Lester, the only unbeaten player, also finished as leading points scorer with five wins and one half. The 23 year old from Hermitage beat Allan Hill in his final match, making six birdies during his round to record a 2&1 success.
“I was just saying to the boys before the start of this week, I think every Leinster team and every Irish men’s team I’ve been on, we haven’t lost,” Lester noted. “Maybe the boys get good entertainment out of me.”
Brazill had the honour of clinching the decisive point for the champions. Level at 2-2 against Connacht following the morning foursomes, Leinster were guaranteed to be champions when Brazill took down Sean Flanagan 6&5 with a winning birdie on the 13th.
“It’s been a very satisfying week,” Brazill reflected. “It would have been nice to get six out of six but five points will do. Myself and Rowan were really good in foursomes.”
For Brazill, victory with Leinster marked a first having tasted defeat on his debut last year.
“I wanted to be on a winning interpros team,” he revealed. “Munster had a serious comeback against us last year.”
The defending champions had a week to forget in Tullamore, losing all three matches. Munster went down 9-2 to Ulster in their final encounter. Ulster led 3-1 from the foursomes and won six of seven singles. Colm Campbell led the way for the northern province, winning five points from his six matches including three from three in the singles.
TJ Ford was the leading points scorer for Connacht with five while AIG Irish Close champion Ronan Mullarney produced a perfect return from the singles.
The week belonged to Leinster though as they regained the interprovincial crown.
“We didn’t do five in a row,” team captain Seamus McParland lamented. “We did four out of five, which is not bad.”
2019 Interprovincial Championship, Tullamore GC, August 27-29
2019 Interprovincial Championship, Tullamore GC, August 27-29
Day Three Results - Friday 30 August
Ulster 9 Munster 2
T McLarnon & C Campbell bt P O’Keeffe & G Lenehan 5&4;
M McClean & M McKinstry bt S Desmond & E Griffin 1H;
R Black & W Small bt C Butler & G O’Mahony 3&2;
J Hood & R Williamson lost to P Murray & A McCormack 1H
M McClean bt P O’Keeffe 2&1;
T McLarnon lost to E Griffin 5&3;
C Campbell bt G Lenehan 3&2;
M McKinstry bt S Desmond 4&3;
R Black bt P Murray 1H;
W Small bt G O’Mahony 2H;
J Hood bt A McCormack 2H
Leinster 4 Connacht 7
R Brazill & R Lester bt H Gillivan & A Hill 3&2;
A Fahy & H Foley lost to S Flanagan & TJ Ford 5&4;
R Moran & G Dunne halved with S Walker & J Lyons;
K Egan & P O’Hanlon halved with R Mullarney & J McDonnell
R Lester bt A Hill 2&1;
R Brazill bt S Flanagan 6&5;
K Egan lost to R Mullarney 2&1;
H Foley lost to J McDonnell 2H;
G Dunne lost to S Walker 1H;
R Moran lost to TJ Ford 1H;
P O’Hanlon lost to J Lyons 1H
Day Two Results - Thursday 29 August
Connacht 5 Ulster 6
R Mullarney & J McDonnell lost to T McLarnon & C Campbell 4&3;
J Lyons & S Walker bt M McClean & M McKinstry 3&2;
S Flanagan & TJ Ford bt R Black & W Small 2&1;
H Gillivan & A Hill halved with R Williamson & J Hood
R Mullarney bt M McClean 3&2;
S Flanagan lost to T McLarnon 4&2;
S Walker lost to C Campbell 2&1;
A Hill halved with M McKinstry;
H Gillivan lost to W Small 1 hole;
TJ Ford bt R Williamson 2&1;
J McDonnell lost to J Hood 1 hole.
Munster 2.5 Leinster 8.5
P O’Keeffe & E Griffin lost to R Brazill & R Lester 4&2;
A McCormack & G O’Mahony lost to H Foley & A Fahy 5&3;
C Butler & S Desmond lost to R Moran & G Dunne 1 hole;
G Lenehan & P Murray lost to P O’Hanlon & K Egan 3&2
E Griffin halved with R Lester;
P O’Keeffe lost to R Brazill 5&4;
S Desmond lost to K Egan 1 hole;
G Lenehan bt H Foley 1 hole;
A McCormack halved with G Dunne;
C Butler lost to R Moran 4&3;
P Murray halved with A Fahy
Day One Results - Wednesday August 28
Munster 5 Connacht 6
P O'Keeffe & E Griffin bt R Mullarney & J McDonnell 5&4;
G O'Mahony & S Desmond lost to J Lyons & S Walker 3&1;
G Lenehan & P Murray lost to TJ Ford & S Flanagan 1 hole;
A McCormack & C Butler halved with H Gillivan & A Hill.
P O'Keeffe halved with J McDonnell;
E Griffin bt S Walker 1 hole;
S Desmond lost to R Mullarney 4&3;
G Lenehan bt H Gillivan 3&2;
G O'Mahony lost to J Lyons 3&2;
P Murray bt TJ Ford 1 hole;
C Butler lost to S Flanagan 5&4
Ulster 3 Leinster 8
T McLarnon & C Campbell lost to R Brazill & R Lester 1 hole;
M McClean & M McKinstry lost to A Fahy & H Foley 5&3;
R Williamson & J Hood lost to R Moran & G Dunne 2&1;
R Black & W Small lost to P O'Hanlon & K Egan 1 hole
M McClean bt R Brazill 3&2;
M McKinstry lost to R Lester 3&2;
T McLarnon lost K Egan 2&1;
R Williamson lost to H Foley 2 holes;
C Campbell bt R Moran 3&1;
R Black lost to A Fahy 2&1;
J Hood bt P O'Hanlon 6&5