Monday 18 December 2017

Battling boys see off Welsh

Ireland made a winning start to the defence of their R&A Trophy in the Boys' Home Internationals over the Royal and St David's links at Harlech yesterday, but were made to work for victory over hosts Wales, WRITES Chris Smart.

They got there in the end 8.5-6.5 and will today face Scotland, who went down 9-6 to England.

In the morning, it looked as though Ireland would demolish Wales, but there was a sudden turnaround as Kieran Lynch and John Galbraith lost the last three holes to Otto Mand and Delon Hau and only halved a game they seemed certain to win.

Ireland lunched with a 3-2 advantage and for most of the afternoon it was exceptionally tight. However, they delivered in vital games.

In the middle of the order Keagan Cummings and Lynch secured 17th-hole triumphs over Oliver Baker and David Boote, the 2010 and current Welsh Boys champions respectively.

Alex Gleeson crushed Hau 6&4, being two-under-par in the process. Gavin Moynihan was another big winner, beating Ryan Haskell, also by 6&4, while Gary Hurley's last-green victory over Oliver Mottram proved the crucial point.

Walker Cup to fore in Sweden

The battle for places in next month's Walker Cup match will be very much on the minds of the Irish players bidding for glory in the European Amateur Individual Championship, which gets under way in Halmstad, Sweden, today.

Ireland have tasted considerable success in this prestigious 72-hole event in recent times, with Rory McIlroy, Brian McElhinney, Stephen Browne and Paddy Gribben having all won the title in the past 12 years.

Portstewart's Paul Cutler will be determined to rubber-stamp his Walker Cup place, while Kevin Phelan, Alan Dunbar, Paul Dunne, Richard O'Donovan and Dermot McElroy also have grounds to be optimistic.

Irish girls aim to raise game

Ireland will attempt to lose the wooden spoon they collected last year when they battle it out in the Girls Home Internationals at Gullane over the next three days.

The Irish team, minus the Maguire twins, open their campaign against Scotland today, play Wales tomorrow and then take on defending champions England on Friday.

IRELAND -- Jessica Carty (Holywood), Ariana Coyle Diez (Elm park), Paula Grant (Lisburn), Hannah Henderson (Ballyclare), Olivia Mehaffey (Royal County Down), Jean O'Driscoll (Muskerry), Chloe Ryan (Castletroy),Sinead Sexton (Lahinch).

McGimpsey heads Seniors challenge

Garth McGimpsey spearheads a strong Irish assault on the British Seniors Open Amateur Champion-ship, which begins today at Royal Portrush.

The former Walker Cup captain finished third last year at Walton Heath, seven strokes behind champion Paul Simson, who will be bidding for a remarkable fourth title.

Arthur Pierse, winner at Nairn in 2007, Barry Reddan, Paraic O'Rourke, Tony Hayes, Hugh Smyth, Liam MacNamara and Tom Cleary are among the other Irish hopefuls.

Irish Independent

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