Three in running for Men’s Interpro title but destiny in Ulster’s hands

Ronan MacNamara
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James Hewitt Ulster during the 2nd round of the Interprovincial Championship, Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort (Image: Golf Ireland / Fran Caffrey - Golffile.ie)

A dramatic late turnaround from Ulster means they will head into the final day with destiny in their own hands at the Men’s Interprovincial Championships in Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Resort. 

Late wins from James Hewitt, Joshua Hill and Aaron Marshall saw Ulster snatch a half point in their match with Munster 5.5-5.5 – thus ruling their opponents out of the running for the title in the process. 

Mullingar Scratch Trophy champion Hill birdied his last two holes to pip Faithlegg’s Alex King on the 18th while Lisburn’s Marshall came from one down with four to play to win 2&1 against Darren O’Sullivan of Tralee. 

Tandragee’s Hewitt picked up a crucial 3&1 in the anchor match against Nenagh’s David Reddan Jnr to tee up a potential title decider with defending champions Connacht. 

“Yeah played very well I’m enjoying the week. I hit the ball well. I played solid especially in the afternoon match, couple of good putts around the turn on 8 and 10 kept it going and David was pretty solid so I had to play well to beat him,” explained Hewitt who lost his foursomes match alongside Slieve Russell’s Shane McDermott. 

Ulster took some momentum into the afternoon after clawing 2.5 points out of a possible four after the province found themselves behind in each match. 

“Josh has had a great finish, winning the last two holes and Aaron had a good up and down. There was a serious turn in the foursomes this morning, everyone was two down and to get two and a half points from there was obviously a massive momentum swing. 

“Josh winning the last two holes in the singles was pivotal and hopefully tomorrow we can play well again and winning tomorrow would get it done for us.” 

Ulster are top of the table on 1.5 points from their opening two matches while Connacht and Leinster are in close pursuit with one points from two. A half point could potentially seal the deal for Rory Leonard’s side but Hewitt is focusing on winning to avoid any nail biting over mathematics. 

“The mindset is to do what we have been doing, all the guys have been playing well and hopefully we can get a bit of momentum going tomorrow and take that into the singles and play as well as we can and go from there. 

“A few matches not being as tight and having to go down 18 would be nice but we’ll see what happens. 

“In a team you never give up so you try as hard as you can right until the 18th if you are two or three down you’re trying to get a point for the team to carry them through. Rory has been a great captain he’s guided us well and it’s a good team, a young team with plenty of potential.” 

Also looking to spoil Ulster’s party are Leinster who brought themselves back into the reckoning with a 6.5-4.5 victory over two-in-a-row chasing Connacht to draw level with the defending champions in the table but crucially move ahead on points difference. 

If Leinster can beat basement side Munster tomorrow they could be crowned champions if Connacht win or Ulster draw and scoring difference goes the way of the East. 

Dundalk’s Eoin Murphy won both of his matches including a 3&2 singles triumph over Sligo’s TJ Ford and he was pleased to see the team rally after a disappointing opening day defeat to Ulster. 

“It was a solid day we knew after a poor day we had to get out nice and early and get stuck in. That’s what we did, we got up early on and went out in the afternoon trying to keep things tidy and got a nice win heading into tomorrow so we’ll see what happens. 

“Yesterday wasn’t great. You have to set the tone at the start of the week and we didn’t do that we were a bit flat, but we knew it’s a long week, we had a nice dinner, regrouped and went again and that showed out there today and it was nice to get a win.” 

Murphy who lifted silverware at St Andrews earlier this year has enjoyed his debut Interpros experience and has been drawing on his Barton Shield and Senior Cup experience with Dundalk. 

“It’s been nice, a good test, the greens are quite spongey so you can throw it at a few flags and it’s wide enough off the tee so it gives you plenty of chances but you still have to get it in the hole at the end of the day. 

“It’s brilliant I play a good bit of team golf with the club in Barton Shield and Senior Cup so it’s always good playing matchplay and you get a bit of comradery with the lads and it makes for an enjoyable week so if we can get the win tomorrow it will make it all the better.” 

 SCORING HERE

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