Ulster and Leinster take Interprovincial Championships

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The Leinster Men and Ulster Women's teams who were successful in Moyvalley. Photo: Fran Caffrey / Golffile.

Ulster Women’s Captain Mary MacLaren said her team worked wonders as their fairytale finish came through and thanks to a favour from holders Leinster, Ulster were crowned Women’s Interprovincial champions for 2023.

It was a drama-filled day in Moyvalley, with the Women’s event going right down to the wire while Leinster went back-to-back in the Men’s Championship as Paul Coughlan put the seal on another famous win when the rain began to fall again.

The morning was played in miserable weather and as the singles began in the afternoon the sun came out and players were greeted with ideal conditions for a shootout. And that paved the way for some scintillating golf with Ulster winning the Women’s by just one point.

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Judithe Allen, Amy Kelly, Jessica Ross and Kate Dwyer all won their singles matches for Ulster and when Leinster’s Ellen O’Shaughnessy sunk an eagle putt on 18, it meant a win against Clodagh Coughlan to hand Ulster the title.

“It was just incredible, we couldn’t believe it,” said MacLaren.

“We knew we needed to pull it out of the bag today to get at least six points and it was dependent on Leinster and Munster. I don’t think Ulster have ever cheered as much for Leinster in all of their lives, incredible eagle by Ellen at the end.

“It’s all happened so quickly. We knew that everyone was crowding around the 18th so we realised that the Munster Leinster match was very close, we hadn’t realised just how close. And then it was waiting for news to filter through from the 18th as to who was up first and what the score was. So yeah, just mind-blown actually.

“The team were unbelievable, every single one of them. They played their hearts and souls out. I probably don’t want to pick up my golf clubs ever again having watched the golf this week from all four teams. It has just been absolutely amazing. But the team never gave up, they just kept holing putts and just kept trying and managed to make it work.”

Munster Women began Thursday on top of the standings but they trailed 2-1 against Leinster after their morning foursomes. Rachel McDonnell and Anna Abom had a 2&1 win over Paula Walsh and Clodagh Coughlan while the other two matches were halved.

Meanwhile, Ulster Women also took a 2-1 lead into the afternoon singles against Connacht after Gemma McMeekin and Hannah Lee McNamara beat Vicky Conlon and Clodagh Hopkins, 2&1. Amy O’Donnell and Judithe Allen won 1up against Ellen Lonergan and Emma Morrow.

Leinster were the leaders coming into the final day in the Men’s table too and they fought back to take a 2.5-1.5 advantage against Connacht with Quentin Carew and Paul Coughlan beating David Shiel and Simon Walker, 4&3, and Keith Egan and Brandon St John getting the better of Aodaghan Brady and Ruairi O’Connor, 1up.

Despite losing both of their matches so far, Ulster had a big 3-1 lead against Munster going into the afternoon singles with Darcy Hogg and Fionn Dobbin, Shane McDermott and Jordan Hood, and Cian Harkin and James Hewitt all winning their foursomes matches.

However in the afternoon, Leinster wrestled control of their own destiny and wins for Marc Boucher, Rob Brazill, Eoin Murphy and Keith Egan secured back-to-back crowns.

“That is really special. It’s been a tough week, every other province put it up to us every single day and today from this morning’s sessions right down until this afternoon that was really really tough. So it was great to get the win, special group of lads,” said Leinster captain Harry McAlinden.

“Some of them are talking about going into the pro ranks so I wish them the best. Those lot are going to be around, they really are special. They’ve been special all week.

“It’s fantastic, I said it to somebody last year was one of my favourite sporting memories, and to do it two years in a row, it’s way up there.”

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