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Heartbreak for hosts at Ballyliffin


Team England

Team England

Mixed bag: Ireland’s women’s team won their section of the event

Mixed bag: Ireland’s women’s team won their section of the event


Team England

The jury is still out on the new-look Women’s and Men’s Home Internationals but whatever about shoehorning both matches into the same venue and reducing the number of caps awarded, it brought mixed results for Ireland at Ballyliffin’s Old Course.

Needing only a tie to win the overall title, Ireland lost 11-10 to England on the final day – winning just six of a possible 14 points in the afternoon – to finish second behind England.

The women’s team won their section of the competition with two points from three but the men did not get to lift the Raymond Trophy for the sixth time in eighth meetings, finishing second to England.

“It was heartbreaking to miss out on the combined because we really came together as one team this week,” said Ireland captain, Naoimh Quigg. “It’s hard to miss out by such a small margin.

“It has been an amazing few days. I’m delighted to see the girls win that title. This group has come through the ranks together from junior into senior and have worked very hard so I am pleased to see them get that reward.”

The men’s and women’s matches are traditionally played at different venues. But with the R&A keen to push “inclusivity” to prove “golf is the ultimate sport to play together,” the result was equally mixed.

While some players enjoyed it, others did not, describing the format as “messy” and the innovation as wholly unnecessary after 90 years of tradition.

Ireland beat Scotland 14.5-6.5 on day one and Wales 13.5-7.5 on day two to go into the final day with the title in their sights.

Friday morning began strongly with wins for Rob Moran and Caolan Rafferty, Matt McClean and Hugh Foley, Anna Foster and Aine Donegan, and Colm Campbell and Rob Brazill giving Ireland a 4-3 advantage.

However, Ireland won only six of a possible 14 points in the afternoon, with England winning four of the six matches that went to the 18th and losing none.

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Lauren Walsh, Foster, Donegan and Rafferty won full points as Peter O’Keeffe, Mark Power, Liam Nolan and Sara Byrne all halved.

England captain Becca Hembrough backed the format change, seeing it as a significant development.

“From my perspective, it was fantastic for the women to share the same stage as the men,” she said. “That has been a huge positive to come from this event.

“Yes it’s new, yes there have been some logistical challenges but that aside I can only see this as positive.”

The Girls’ and Boy’s Home Internationals were also played in the same format and England won all three competitions at Downfield near Dundee, winning the combined event and the girls’ and the boys’ competitions too.

Ireland were second with two points as Wales edged out Scotland for third as they took half a point each.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything more from my players over the last three days, especially the last two,” Irish captain Peter English said. “It was a fantastic performance.

“We’ve got quite a few debutants, players that are available next year and the year after. It shows we’re on the way up and we have a lot to build on for next year.”

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