Thursday 12 December 2019

Singles collapse ruins Irish medal chance

Ireland suffered a dramatic singles collapse over the Vilamoura Victoria course on Portugal's Algarve yesterday to crash out of medal contention in the European Men's Amateur Team Championship.

They looked set for the semi-finals when they took both morning foursomes against France and Paul Cutler opened up an early singles lead.

But then things went terribly wrong and they did not win any of the singles, resulting in a 4.5-2.5 reverse. Ireland face a match against Scotland today for fifth place.

In the foursomes, Cutler and Kevin Phelan won three holes in a row from the fourth against Alexander Levy and Edouard Espana to go four up and went on to win 5&4.

Alan Dunbar and Eoin Arthurs also took a grip early on their game against Cyril Bouniol and Gary Stal and triumphed 3&2.

Requiring just two points in the afternoon, Ireland foundered disappointingly, although both Cutler and Pat Murray lost only on the last. Dunbar and Arthurs, however, were defeated out in the country.

In the end the result of Phelan's match was academic and because the tie was over, it was deemed to be a half.

"Hugely disappointing," was the reaction of Ireland's captain Kevin Flanagan -- and after the heroics of the first two days, that was the general feeling in the Ireland camp.

Meanwhile, over the Prague City course in the Czech Republic, Ireland's boys just failed to earn a place in the semi-finals as they went down 4-3 to Spain.

It was heartbreaking as the decisive point went to the Spanish after five extra holes, with Jack Hume going down to Jon Rahm after a tremendous tussle.

Spain had won both the foursomes, but through the impressive Dermot McElroy, Gary Hurley and Gavin Moynihan, Ireland dragged themselves back into contention, only to suffer sudden-death misery.

Ireland take on Finland today.

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