Blow for Ireland and Sugrue at Home Internationals
Tom McKibbin (Ireland) reacts to a missed putt on the 14th green during day one of the 2019 Home International Matches at Lahinch. Picture by  Pat Cashman

Tom McKibbin (Ireland) reacts to a missed putt on the 14th green during day one of the 2019 Home International Matches at Lahinch. Picture by Pat Cashman

Amateur champion James Sugrue was bitterly disappointed that the back injury that hampered him in the Walker Cup looks to have scuppered him in the Home Internationals at Lahinch.

The Mallow man had hoped he would be fit enough to partner debutant Robert Brazill to victory in the foursomes. But his lower back got worse as the match wore on and they lost 3&2 as Ireland fell 8.5-6.5 to Scotland on the opening day.

“I had some treatment from the physio but it is sore just to touch it now,” Sugrue said. “I thought I could battle through today but it just got worse."

John Carroll's charges now need to beat England today to keep their title hopes alive and while they are up for the fight, they will need to improve to beat the favourites, who crushed Wales 12-3, dropping just half a point in the singles.

The hosts drew the foursomes session 2.5-2.5 but took just two wins from the ten singles through debutant Brazill and veteran Colm Campbell

Matthew McClean came in for Sugrue in the afternoon singles, claiming a half on his debut, and will step in for him in the foursomes today as Brazill's partner.

Teenager Tom McKibbin partnered Campbell on his debut, picking up a half in the foursomes that also saw Carton House's Keith Egan win on his debut alongside Walker Cup player Conor Purcell.

The 16-year old Holywood star could not deliver a point in the singles, however, but he did impress Scotland's playing captain Matt Clark, despite losing by two holes in a stiff westerly breeze.

"I'm only giving up 21 years to Tom," 37-year-old Clark said. "He'll take it tough. He's been beaten by an old, fat man effectively but that's part of the game.

"He's a super talent, he's a super nice young man. He was a joy to play with."

Clark eagled the second, won the third and then went three up when McKibbin's approach climbed the wall at the back of the Klondyke and went out of bounds.

"I was feeling pretty good about life and then I handed him a couple of holes, he played very nice then," Clark said. "Suddenly I found myself three down through 11. I think I lost six of seven holes."

McKibbin then lost four holes in a row from the 12th and fell by two holes when Clark pitched close at the 18th and the Holywood star failed to match his birdie.

"He has all the talent in the world," Clark said. "I don't think his game is necessarily suited to links golf.

"He hits it very high, creates a lot of spin, which when you get a blowy, Irish Lahinch day is not ideal."

The 20mph wind proved a real test of Ireland's ball-striking and Purcell and fellow Walker Cup player Caolan Rafferty both lost on the 17th.

However, all is not yet lost and win over England could repair much of the damage.

"We are definitely right up for it," said Portmarnock's Sean Flanagan, who suffered a one-hole defeat with Ronan Mullarney in the foursomes and then halved with Darren Howie in the singles.

"Today was disappointing but we will still be raring to go tomorrow. It's far from over as we have seen so many times after a match loss in the interpros over the years."

Scotland now face Wales and they want to double down on their win over Ireland and go into the last day with a chance of winning the title.

“To beat Ireland in Ireland is a rarity,” Clark said. “I was at Portrush in 2015 when we got a heavy beating. I know historically we don’t do well against Ireland in Ireland. Understandably Ireland have a strong team, they’re a strong unit. They work well as a team. It’s something I’m trying to instil in my players – the team ethic and the way they behave around one another.

“I’m beyond proud of these boys. We’ve got five newcomers. They’ve done themselves exceptionally proud. To us, this is about developing the team. It’s nice to see things move in the right direction for us.”

Home Internationals, Lahinch Golf Club

Live scoring

Wednesday 11 September

England 12 Wales 3

Foursomes

  1. Tom Sloman & Tom Plumb bt Ben Chamberlain & Lewys Sanges 2 holes;

  2. Ben Jones & Jake Burnage bt Jake Hapgood & Jacob Davies 4&3;

  3. Matty Lamb & Ben Hutchinson lost to Connor Jones & George Bryant 1 hole;

  4. Bailey Gill & Joshua McMahon lost to Matt Roberts & Kieron Harman 3&2;

  5. Callum Farr & Ben Schmidt halved with Gaelen Trew & Tom Froom

Singles

  1. Harry Hall bt Chamberlain 4&3;

  2. Plumb bt Davies 7&6;

  3. Burnage bt Hapgood 5&4;

  4. Jones bt Sanges 4&3;

  5. Lamb bt Rhys Evans 3&2;

  6. Hutchinson bt Roberts 5&3;

  7. Gill bt Jones 5&3;

  8. McMahon bt Harman 2&1;

  9. Schmidt bt Froom 4&3;

  10. Farr halved with Trew

Ireland 6.5 Scotland 8.5

Foursomes

  1. Conor Purcell & Keith Egan bt Ryan Lumsden & Matt Clark 1 hole;

  2. James Sugrue & Robert Brazill lost to James Wilson & Connor McKinney 3&2;

  3. Caolan Rafferty & Tiarnán McLarnon bt George Burns & Eric McIntosh 2 holes;

  4. Colm Campbell & Tom McKibbin halved with Lewis Irvine & Stuart Easton;

  5. Ronan Mullarney & Séan Flanagan lost to Euan McIntosh & Kieran Cantley 1 hole

Singles

  1. Purcell lost to Lumsden 2&1;

  2. Rafferty lost to Wilson 2&1;

  3. Mullarney halved with Cantley;

  4. McKibbin lost to Clark 2 holes;

  5. Matthew McClean halved with Eric McIntosh;

  6. Egan lost to McKinney 3&2;

  7. Flanagan halved with Darren Howie;

  8. Brazill bt Irvine 3&2;

  9. McLarnon halved with Easton;

  10. Campbell bt Euan McIntosh 2&1

Thursday 12 September

0800 England v Ireland

Foursomes

  1. Purcell & Egan v Sloman & Plumb;

  2. Rafferty & McLarnon v Jones & Burnage;

  3. Mullarney & Flanagan v Hall & Schmidt;

  4. Brazill & McClean v Lamb & Hutchinson;

  5. Campbell & McKibbin v Gill & McMahon.

0845 Scotland v Wales

Foursomes

  1. Lumsden & Clark v Chamberlain & Sanges;

  2. Wilson & McKinney v Hapgood & Davies;

  3. Irvine & Easton v Jones & Bryant;

  4. Burns & Eric McIntosh v Roberts & Harman;

  5. Euan McIntosh & Cantley v Trew & Froom