Sport Golf

Thursday 22 February 2018

Quirke and Cleary cap Irish double

Ireland made golfing history at the weekend by becoming the first country to win both the senior men's and women's Team Championships in the same year and they did it in style.

Having clinched the title twice and been runners-up once the men always have a good chance of success and their 4-1 defeat of Sweden in Hungary was not a great surprise.

But the women exceeded their greatest expectations when they defeated defending champions Italy 3.5-1.5 at Bled, Slovenia in the final having overcome top seeds Netherlands in the semis. It was their first appearance in the final.

Cork's Tom Cleary and Michael Quirke from Doneraile confirmed their status as the top foursomes pairing in the Championship as they maintained their 100pc record over the Pannonia course recording a 3&2 victory over Claes Kinnell and Bob Backstedt after leading from the start.

Tipperary's former British champion Arthur Pierse made it 2-0 to Ireland when he won the top singles against Peter Johansson also 3&2 and when Garth McGimpsey, the past Walker Cup captain and Amateur champion, triumphed 5&4 against Hans Iverson, it was all over.

Maurice Kelly and Adrian Morrow did not have to complete their matches which were both deemed to be halved.

Captain Tony Goode of Lucan smiled: "This was a great performance. Every player contributed to the points tally. To win three times in seven years is no mean feat."

The Irish started as underdogs in the women's final against Italy but gave an inspirational performance to edge home with Suzanne Corcoran holding her nerve for a vital 20th-hole success against Camilla Dettori. With Carol Wickham and Laura Webb both winning, Ireland were home and dry.

It did not matter that Gertie McMullen lost and at the top of the order the foursomes involving Pat Doran and Sheena McElroy was called a half as the Championship was settled.

Irish Independent

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