Ireland claim fourth straight title in dramatic fashion
Colm Campbell’s crucial half point helps earn final day tie with England at Moortown
Ireland’s players and officials celebrate their fourth straight win in the men’s home internationals at Moortown Golf Club in Leeds. Photograph: Thos Caffrey/Golffile
Ireland retained their men’s home international crown after a nailbiting 7½-7½ tie with hosts England on a dramatic final day at Moortown in Leeds.
In what was a winner-takes-all clash between the two powerhouses, it was a superior points difference which ultimately saw Tony Goode’s side lift the Raymond Trophy for an unprecedented fourth straight year.
Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell bagged the crucial half point against Bradley Moore after brilliantly battling back from three down at the turn and sparked wild celebrations.
It was nip and tuck right from the off with Ireland taking a 3-2 lead in the foursomes.
Colin Fairweather (Knock) and debutant Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) recorded a comprehensive 5&4 victory over Jack Gaunt and David Hague.
The Island’s Paul McBride and Conor O’Rourke (Naas) edged Matthew Jordan and Gian-Marco Petrozzi 2&1 while Campbell and John-Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) defeated Jake Burnage and Moore on the final green.
Irish Amateur Open champion Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas) and Robin Dawson (Tramore) along with Conor Purcell (Portmarnock) and Alex Gleeson (Castle) were defeated in their respective contests.
It meant Ireland required just five more points in the singles to make absolutely sure the trophy would once again be going home with them.
There were victories for O’Rourke, who beat Petrozzi 2&1, as well as Rafferty, who was victorious 4&3 against Hague. Fairweather recovered from two down at the turn to see off Gaunt 2&1.
That victory for Fairweather followed up on halves for McBride and Gleeson and set up a tense finale with O’Keeffe, Purcell and Rowan Lester also slipping to defeats in their matches.
Galbraith lost to Moore on the last, meaning it all came down to Campbell who, having trailed earlier, rallied to secure the crucial half that, once again, meant they were champions.
It was a great moment for Campbell in particular who, alongside Dawson and Galbraith, have featured in all four winning teams.
It was Campbell who also secured the decisive point against England at Nairn in Scotland last year.
Wales won the other match 9½-5½ against Scotland – who left with the wooden spoon.
In other action, Luke O’Neill’s Boys’ Amateur Championship hopes were dashed in heartbreaking fashion at Nairn yesterday following defeat on the final green against Aadam Syed.
With a place in the last 16 at stake the Connemara player put in a brave display, but ultimately fell agonisingly short against the Englishman.