Tuesday 26 September 2017

Kelly point secures last-four spot

Ireland's men and women produced vintage displays to reach the semi-finals in the European Seniors Team Championships.

Veteran Maurice Kelly battled back from a seemingly hopeless position to collect a crucial point against Germany and steer Ireland into the men's last four in Hungary.

The Killeen player was three down with five holes to play to Veit Pagel and seemed set for defeat, but moved into top gear to level matters at the last. Then Kelly, who has battled against ill-health for much of the past two years, held his nerve to par the 19th at the Pannonia Club and edge past Pagel.

With Tom Cleary and Michael Quirke winning their foursomes and ex-British Seniors champion Arthur Pierse surviving a tight battle with Hans-Hubert Giesen 2&1 the Kelly point was sufficient.

Former European champion Adrian Morrow of Portmarnock halved his match with Christoph Staadler. That gave Ireland a 3.5-1.5 victory, with the only loser being Garth McGimpsey who went down 2&1 to Kai Flint.

Now Ireland, seeking their third title in seven years, face Scotland for a place in the final and, if successful, they will be guaranteed a medal. England meet Sweden in the other semi-final .

In the women's equivalent, Ireland edged into the semi-finals with a 3-2 win over Sweden. They now face top seeds the Netherlands, while England take on Italy.

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