Friday 24 March 2017

Irish poised for Home triumph

Ireland are on the brink of a famous Home International victory at Rosses Point, Co Sligo today -- but they will know that a cool head is required with a third of the job still to be completed.

After their nerve-tingling 8-7 win over defending champions England on Wednesday, they outclassed Wales 11-4 yesterday -- and now only a share of the spoils against Scotland today is needed for the Raymond Trophy to be lifted aloft by Kevin Flanagan.

England bounced back from their shock defeat against Ireland to crush Scotland 10.5-4.5 and make sure that they are ready to pounce should the buoyant hosts falter.

Ireland love Rosses Point -- they won the title here in 1991 when three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington inspired them to the Triple Crown and Raymond Trophy -- and another triumph today would extend the amazing run of Irish successes at all levels.

While it was a great team display yesterday, Portstewart's Irish Close and West of Ireland champion Paul Cutler was again outstanding, maintaining his 100pc record.

Ireland made the best possible start yesterday, racing out of the starting blocks to establish substantial foursomes advantages.

Cutler and Kevin Phelan romped to a 4&3 victory over Richard Bentham and Richard Hooper, with Alan Dunbar and Eddie McCormack also triumphing with something to spare -- Paul Dunne and Dermot McElroy did likewise.

Leading 3.5-1.5 after the foursomes , Ireland were never in any real danger and slowly but surely they wore Wales down.

With Cutler winning at the top, Phelan, Aaron Kearney and newcomer Gary McDermott getting points in the middle, and debutant Niall Gorey successful at the bottom, it was a convincing victory.

"This was a great performance but we must maintain the momentum for one last push -- and then we can celebrate," said Flanagan.

Cummings stars as Irish trio march on

Keagan Cummings maintained his rich vein of form at windy Burnham and Berrow on the Somerset coast yesterday to move into the third round of the British Boys Amateur Championship.

The 18-year-old from Elm Park overcame Scotland's Greig Marchbank 3&1.

This morning he faces Steffen Harm, one of six Germans to have survived the opening day of match play.

John-Ross Galbraith from Whitehead in Carrickfergus made it through to round three with a splendid 2&1 victory over Spaniard Jon Rahm and today faces England international Max Orrin.

West Waterford's Gary Hurley made it three out of three for the Irish qualifiers by defeating England's Thomas Rowland 3&2 -- but once again his putting was poor. He now meets Belgium's Thomas Detry.

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