Defending Champions Ireland up and running in defence of their title.
After heavy overnight rain, dry but blustery conditions greeted the players on day one of the 2018 Home Internationals at Conwy (Caernarvonshire) Golf Club. We were led off at 7:45 by Peter O’Keeffe of Ireland, winners of the Home Internationals in 2017 looking to repeat last year’s success. They will be pleased with how they have started their defence as they enjoyed a 4-1 win over Scotland in the first morning’s foursomes matches.
A good start is always important and Scotland’s Euan McIntosh and Ryan Lumsden took the top game 3&2 but despite this early defeat Ireland responded by convincingly winning the remaining four matches.
Conor Purcell and Mark Power were never behind in their match against Euan Walker and Stuart Easton recording a 5&3 victory, playing their last seven holes in two under par.
Caolan Rafferty and Alex Gleeson traded birdies on holes nine, ten and fourteen with Scotland’s Jim Johnston and James Wilson on their way to a 3&2 win.
Robbie Cannon and James Sugrue were three under par, aided by five birdies in their last eight holes, in their win against Kieran Cantley and Calum Fyfe.
One up after nine, Ronan Mullarney and Tiarnon Mclarnon realed off three birdies and an eagle in the next five to take the final game in the series by 6&4.
After Ireland’s excellent morning performance Scotland had it all to do in the afternoon singles as they looked to turn around the 4-1 deficit. Hopes of putting early pressure on Ireland were immediately dented as Robin Dawson took the opening singles match 5&3 with a blemish free score of five under par for his fifteen holes.
Scotland’s Euan Walker produced four birdies in a row from the 11th to win his match against Mark Power and claim a point for Scotland to make the overall match score at that point 5-2 in Ireland’s favour.
However wins for Jonathan Yates with six birdies in his 5&4 game, Conor Purcell and Caolan Rafferty quickly gave Ireland eight game points so putting the match out of Scotland’s reach with five games still out on the course.
In the remaining games Scotland’s Jeff Wright pulled away to a six up lead after ten holes before eventually beating Ireland’s Robbie Cannon by 3&2 and Johnston and O’Keeffe tied their game, However wins for Sugrue, Mullarney and McLarnon completed Ireland’s dominant performance
Ireland win the match 11.5-3.5 and will play Wales on Day 2.