Friday, August 05, 2016

Ireland win Girls' title by beating Scotland 5-4

            WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS! ...  Ireland's Under-18 girls team
                                    Picture by Cal Carson Golf Agency

Ireland have won the Girls' Home Internationals title for the first time. They came from behind to beat Scotland 5-4 in the Under-18s' championship decider at Conwy Golf Club, North Wales.
The Scots had beaten Wales 7-2 and England 6-3 and when they established a 2-1 lead over Ireland in the final day foursomes, it looked as if Scotland would win the title for the first time since their back-to-back successes in 2006 and 2007.
But a talented Irish squad rose to the challenge and won four of the six singles.
After Shannon McWilliam had won the top singles for Scotland, beating Mairead Martin 3 and 1 by winning five holes on the trot from the 13th, the Irish really got down to business.
Annabel Wilson beat Joanne Free 5 and 3 after being three holes up after six.
Then Irish U18s champion Julie McCarthy won by 4 and 2 against Louise Duncan, winning the seventh, eighth, 13th and 16th without reply.
Niamh McSherry put a fourth point on the board for Ireland by beating Jennifer Rankine 7 and 6 after getting to five up on the eighth tee.
Hazel MacGarvie gave Scotland a glimmer of hope of turning the Irish tide when she scored her sixth win in six matches - MVP of the girls' tournament - by beating Valerie Clancy 6 and 5 with a glory run of wins at the seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th, 12th and 13th.
That meant the overall score stood at 4-4 with everything hanging on the result of the match between Jillian Farrell, winner of five out of five for the Scots, and Lauren Walsh, playing in her first Girls' Home Internationals for Ireland.
Farrell lost the first two holes but twice got back to all square, winning the eighth and then the 12th after losing the sixth and the 10th.
All square on the 13th tee, Walsh struck a body blow to the Scot's hopes by going two up with wins at the 13th and 14th.
Farrell got one back by winning the 15th and, one down with three to play, Jillian needed "only" to get a square game for Scotland to win the title.
But Walsh closed out her opponent and clinched a 5-4 win for Ireland by taking the 16th and 17th for a 3 and 1 win she will remember the rest of her golfing days.
England, who had come into the tournament seeking a ninth title in a row, finished third by beating Wales 6.5-2.5
They took a 2-1 lead from the foursomes into the singles in which there were clear-cut wins for Lily-May Humphreys (5 and 3 v Lucy Jones), Amelia Williamson (5 and 3 v Ffion Evans), Annabel Fuller (4 and 3 v Caitlin Evans-Brand) and Louisa Brunt (5 and 4 v Nicola Wainwright.
The Welsh tail wagged with Cary Worby winning the 15th, 17th and 18th for a two-hole win over Isobel Wardle. And Ffion Vineall won the 14th, 15th and 17th to snatch a square match with Sharna Deutrieux.

       Scotland's Under-18 girls team with the "Swansea Spoon," the runners-up trophy. Picture by Cal Carson Golf Agency.