Italians end Ireland's drive for European glory
Ireland's hopes of a first European Men's Team Championship crown since 2008 were dashed after a 4.5-2.5 quarter-final defeat by Italy at Diamond in Austria yesterday.
Tony Goode's side made a good start in the foursomes with victory for Stuart Grehan (Tullamore) and Paul McBride (The Island), who triumphed 2&1 over Stefano Mazzoli and Luca Cianchetti.
Italy then hit back with Lorenzo Scalise and Giacomo Fortini beating Conor O'Rourke (Naas) and Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) 3&1 to level it up at 1-1 heading into the singles.
It was there that the Italians took control with Mazzoli and Scalise proving too good for McBride and Grehan respectively and, despite victory on the final green for O'Rourke over Fortini, it would ultimately be in vain with Alberto Castagnara's win over Robin Dawson (Tramore) on the 19th sealing their fate.
Ireland can now only finish as high as fifth and will this morning face France.
It was a similar story at La Manga in Spain where Ireland saw their European Boys' Team Championship aspirations go up in smoke following a 5-2 defeat by the hosts in their quarter-final.
Ireland are now battling for fifth place and face Germany today.
In the Women's Championship, Ireland bounced back from the disappointment of missing out on the top eight as they came from behind to earn a crushing 4-1 win over Slovakia.
They move on to today's match with the Czech Republic with victory in Flight B - and a ninth-place finish - the target.
That is also the goal for Ireland's Girls at St Laurence in Finland who began their bid to top Flight B for a second straight year by coming from 2-0 down to beat Norway 3-2, setting up a clash against Slovenia today.