Foursomes flop crushes boys' title hopes
Ireland's hopes of a first Boys' Home International crown since 2013 were dashed by hosts and defending champions England on the Lancashire coast yesterday.
Cathal McConn's side suffered a 10-5 defeat over the St Anne's Old Links which, having already surrendered a useful-looking advantage to only tie with Scotland on the opening day, ended their title hopes for another year.
The damage was done in the morning foursomes which England won at a canter 4.5-0.5 to put down a marker, with only Ross Kelly (Tuam) and Cameron Raymond (Newlands) managing to register a half.
Raymond posted another point for Ireland with a 4&3 victory over Danny Daniels and is still unbeaten after two foursomes and two singles matches.
Despite victories also for Mark Power (Kilkenny), Reece Black (Hilton Templepatrick) and Rosslare's John Brady, as well as a half for Aaron Marshall (Lisburn), defeats in the other five singles sealed a comprehensive defeat overall.
Elsewhere, champions Ireland got the defence of their Girls' Home International title off to a winning start with a 6-3 defeat of Scotland at Little Aston in the West Midlands. Gemma Butler's side got off a good start and led 2-1 after the foursomes.
Cork's Rachel Thompson, who was part of that 2016 winning side at Conwy on the North Wales coast, teamed up with Maeve Rooney (Co Sligo) to earn a 4&3 victory over Kirsty Brodie and Molly Richmond.
Another player from last year Valerie Clancy of Killarney and Sara Byrne won on the final green. Thompson and Clancy went on to bag one-hole wins in their respective singles contests, while Emma Forbes (Royal Portrush) enjoyed a 4&2 win.
At the same venue, Ireland's women also got off to a winning start as Curtis Cup star Maria Dunne secured a vital half to earn a narrow 5-4 win over Scotland. Ireland led 2-1 after the foursomes thanks to victories for Dunne (Skerries) and Julie McCarthy (Forrest Little) along with Annabel Wilson (Lurgan) and Mairead Martin (Kanturk). Paula Grant and Wilson were victorious in the singles, but defeats for Martin and McCarthy set up a tense finale. It all came down to Dunne who help see out the victory. They face Wales today.