Friday 6 December 2019

Dunbar keen to hit top gear in Euro bid

Alan Dunbar -- who came so close to lifting the Brabazon Trophy in Somerset last month -- spearheads the Irish challenge in the European Amateur Team Championship on Portugal's Algarve over the next five days.

The Rathmore star appears to have run into form at just the right time, having disappointed in the Amateur Championship in Lancashire -- and he is truly fired up for this event.

"I hope to continue the momentum from Burnham and Berrow," said Dunbar, who missed out on Brabazon glory by a stroke.

Portstewart's Paul Cutler, who won the Lytham Trophy last year, is anxious to regain his form so he can cement his place in the Walker Cup team in September.

Kevin Phelan, who qualified for last year's US Open and then made his international debut for Ireland in the Home Internationals at Ashburnham in Wales, plays in his first Euro Championship.

Eoin Arthurs from Forest Little, Paul Dunne of Greystones and Limerick's Pat Murray complete the line-up, with Kevin Flanagan the captain.

With more than 20 nations taking part, the competition will be fierce. England defend the title they won a year ago when they beat Sweden.

Competitors play 36 holes stroke-play today and tomorrow with five of the six scores counting each day and then the countries are split into flights for the match-play stages.

Meanwhile, Ballymena's Dermot McElroy will be looking to inspire his team-mates as Ireland bid for glory in the European Boys Team Championship over the Zbraslav course in Prague starting today.

Ireland finished 11th in Turkey last July and will be aiming at first-flight status this time. On paper, it's a strong-looking team with McElroy being joined by Alex Gleeson, Liam Harnett, Jack Hume, Gary Hurley and Gavin Moynihan.

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